Craft NI Shop

Handwoven ‘Beith’ Travel Pouch Charcoal


Made by Nicola Gates

A purse with handwoven front, Irish linen back and zip closure, handmade by Nicola Gates in her studio in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Olla Nua is Irish words for ‘new wool’ – using a natural, sustainable material in a modern, imaginative way.

The textural, all-over weave was inspired by birch woods in winter – Beith is the Irish word for birch. Glimpses of stark white uprights interspersed with the deep reddish glow of the tips of the trees; a memory captured on a journey home from the beautiful Glenveagh area of County Donegal. The handwoven cloth incorporates authentic Donegal yarn with its distinctive homespun texture. The design has been drafted on paper, then woven on my traditional floor loom, powered entirely by hand and foot. The cloth is then carefully scoured to the desired finish before being cut & stitched.

Approximate size; length 22cm, height 14cm.

About the maker:

Nicola weaves contemporary cloth, on a traditional floor loom, powered entirely by hand and foot. Using yarns spun by mills in Ireland and the UK. Inspired by the tradition of weaving in the rural west, many pieces incorporate authentic Donegal yarn, produced in Kilcar, with its distinctive fleck and homespun texture.

Olla Nua is known for attention to detail at every stage… after the meticulous setting up of the loom and weaving, the cloth is washed and often lightly felted to produce the desired softness and texture. Cutting and stitching follow, sometimes combining the handwoven cloth with Irish linen.


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