Richard Killeaney with the quilt that lauched Ocheltree Design, created from men’s striped dress shirts.
One of the things I love in life is a person who finds the courage to follow their passions, sometimes right into a flourishing business. Textile designer Richard Killeaney is one of those people. A love for fabrics led him to an MFA in Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Today, in addition to teaching Textiles to Fashion Design students at The Art Institute of New York City and Interior Design students at Fairfield University, in Fairfield, Conn., he operates his own home accessories company, Ocheltree Design.
This coverlet is made from recycled shirts, commercially produced fabrics, and an organic flannel lining.
He says his motivation came from his grandmother. Richard’s grandmother collected quilts and needlework, and passed her treasures along to him when he learned how to sew. He began quilting at the age of 15, made his first bed quilt at the age of 18, and continued to make fine art quilts and art clothing as an undergrad. At RISD, after creating a quilt made from recycled men’s blue and white striped dress shirts, his master’s thesis was a collection of five bedcoverings.
Missing the Point quilt, inspired by Killeaney’s native California, made from recycled shirts and organic batting and backing.
He began making Harris Tweed wool into pillows, cashmere sweaters into soft-to-the-touch baby blankets, and recycled leather into handsome tote bags. His motivation is saving beautiful fabrics (he’s crazy for mohair), and keeping unwanted clothing from landfills through creative recycling.
This trio of pillows is made from recycled wool tweed and sequined silk.
His pillows are filled with 100% kapok, a natural fiber harvested from trees. He selects color grown cotton, an organic cotton that is available naturally in earthy browns, greens and unbleached whites. Although the quilt fronts are not always organic since they are made from recycled clothing, he prefers organic and unbleached fabrics and uses them whenever possible.
Baby blanket made from recycled cashmere sweaters.
“There are dangers in putting dyed fabrics into landfills. Even natural fibers, if dyed with certain chemicals or pigments, will leach toxins into the soil,” he explains. A vegetarian, Richard has taken his love for fabrics and combined it with a reverence for the earth. It’s a beautiful combination.
Tote bag made from recycled leather and cotton chino.
See more of Richard’s work at:
All other photography courtesy of Richard Killeaney.