Meet the Maker: Anouk O'Connell
In 2017, Anouk O’Connell teamed up with her good friend Frederique to introduce beautiful chunky knit Merino roving products to the Irish market. Since then, Olannmor, Irish for big wool, has also entered the world of weaving and has added many different materials to add to the fun.
Living in the Wicklow Mountains makes scenery her biggest inspiration. One of Anouk’s main priorities is to craft only with natural materials to protect our planet while creating beautiful products.
What’s a typical day in the studio like for you?
My days are very mixed; I usually start with some admin like confirming orders, updating the website etc.
The rest of the day I prepare products for orders or stock; I knit blankets, wreaths, hot water bottles in lots of different colours. I also prepare weaving yarn bundles.
Then I usually work on some new products or patterns. I like to test knit/design in the evening on the sofa and write down what I’m doing as I go.
Apart from studio days I love my workshop and market days! Meeting other yarn/craft addicts to talk wool, patterns and colours with, but also introducing chunkyknits or weaving products and technique to complete novices. So much fun!
Follow your passion, even when that mean changing direction or format for your business. Olannmor started with only ready made chunky knits and through following our own evolving taste and interest now offers workshops, a large collection of knitting kits and patterns and also a whole weaving department. Do what you love, it'll show.
What do you like most about your work?
Teaching workshops has become my favourite part over the years. But designing new kits and colour ways has to be a close second.
Working from home means I literally leave the studio the minute the kids walk in the door. We have a drink together and I help with homework. Often I squeeze in another hour of work before dinner or a few hours in the evening.
How do you switch off?
This is a hard one; as a small business you do everything, so you have to think of everything. This sometimes means making lists at 2am because you woke up (or never got to fall asleep) thinking about ideas or things to do. Don’t fight that too hard.
Apart from all the work knitting and weaving I have on the go I alwayas make sure I have one project going ‘for me’. Something with a different wool, a pattern written by someone else and something I would not see in the Olannmor collection. Crafting is a passion, but to do it for yourself needs to be a decision when it is also your job.
What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
Follow your passion, even when that mean changing direction or format for your business. Olannmor started with only ready made chunky knits and through following our own evolving taste and interest now offers workshops, a large collection of knitting kits and patterns and also a whole weaving department. Do what you love, it’ll show.
How do you start your day?