'I realised I was living a lie,' artist Úna Curley says of her decision to swap a high paying career as a business mentor and trainer for one as an artist. 'I was telling people that to be successful they had to follow their passion and I realised that I wasn't following mine.'
Úna, who is nearing the end of a three month residency in An Táin Arts Centre, has no regrets about her decision.
'We all have a story that we use to explain why we do or don't do certain things,' she says. 'Mine is that I wasn't allowed to do art at school and that thing denied becomes the thing you crave or avoid.'
After her epiphany, she completed a post leaving cert course at DIFE and then went to the National College of Art and Design where she graduated with a first class honours degree in Textile Art and Artefact.
'Mi Camino a Través del Arte,' featuring work made for her degree show as well as more recent pieces are included in what is without doubt one of the most interesting and rewarding exhibitions to come to The Basement Gallery.
Using natural materials such as wool, linen, flax, and rushes, Úna explore her six year journey of self discovery through art.
These include honest personal insights surrounding issues such as self confidence and her feelings following the death of her mother, whom she had cared for while embarking on her new creative path.
She recalls her childhood spent in Co Kerry with a beautiful recreation of the old fashioned sweets sold by 'the kindest lady' in Tarbert.
Having returned to her father's native Co Monaghan, Úna began researching the flax farming communities in which he had worked as a young man. She met with the last survivors who had worked on the flax farms and grew her own flax seeds.
The use of natural materials including rushes, flax and wool reflects her concern for the environment and the impact on consumerism.
She collects fresh rushes each morning for a site specific work which she refreshes every day.
'I love natural materials and there's always an element of natural material in my work.'
The value placed on the work of artists is explored in 'Carrickmacross Laces', an impressive piece from her degree show.
Úna is delighted to have been given the opportunity to show her work in the Basement Gallery as part of a new residency programme for recent graduates.
In addition to the exhibition, she has embarked on new work, including a labels project. 'I decided to look at the labels that are put on us, by our selves and others.'
She also presented a workshop 'A Suitcase of Curiosities' in collaboration with singer songwriter Gerry Keenan.
Úna will be giving tours and talking about her exhibition as part of An Táin Arts Centre's programme for Culture Night next Friday.
This will see her interviewed by speech and drama therapist Emer Browne.
'It's a meeting of minds as we're both interested in language and communication,' says Una. 'I say that when I discovered art, I found the language to express myself, as I feel a lot of the times that words fall short of saying what we want to say.'
'The whole raison behind my work is to celebrate the overlooked and it's our feelings that are so often overlooked.
'Mi Camino a Través del Arte' continues in The Basement Gallery until Saturday September 17, with late night opening for Culture Night on Friday.