Renate O'Donnell: Textiles

Cleeve, Somerset

Paul and Renate met, in 1979, in Bavaria, where Renate had grown up amid the strong tradition of Bavarian crafts, using natural materials to produce decorative objects for the home. Paul was working there as a cabinetmaker, antiques restorer and musician. They decided to combine their skills and sell their work at Christkindl Markets. The products flew off the stand!

Paul, by then, had been in Europe for nearly 10 years and decided it was time to return home to Somerset. Renate came with him.

Whilst he was looking for work as a cabinetmaker they discovered the British craft scene, and began selling their work at Craft Fairs. At that time, he was a member of the British Toymakers Guild, winning awards 3 years running.

His unique groups of interlocking animal families continue to grow in popularity and he is still adding to the range. He has also become well-known for his Heirloom pieces, such as the Ark and the Living Oak, which have attained front page coverage in various magazines. Three years ago, he began to make his original and very unusual mirror designs, often using burr wood, when it is obtainable. These have become so popular that he finds it hard to keep up with demand.

Much of Renate’s work is based on tree shapes, using natural roots, seedpods, nuts, spices, etc. from all over the world, and she is never short of ideas for new designs, which can always be guaranteed to be eye-catching and original. She is renowned for her beautiful floral designs. At Christmas, her stunning range of seasonal decorations has to be seen!