A Special Raffle


Hello, Hen House Readers!

Some of you may have heard about the fundraising I am doing to attend the Ballymaloe Cookery School – if you’d like to learn more about my heart behind it, click here to watch the video.

A dear and talented soul has donated a very special item for me to raffle off to help with the fundraiser, and today I’d like to tell you more about Cathy Hagan and her stunning work.


Cathy has always loved working with her hands, learning to knit and sew at a young age. The desire to deepen her skills came when she lived in Ireland for several years as she trained to become a Montessori teacher. She returned to the states to teach but would go back to Dublin each summer to visit the family she had lived with during her training, the Maloneys. It was during these summers that she met Joan Doherty, who offered to teach her to weave in exchange for Cathy watching the shop. The picture below is the very first piece Cathy ever wove!


After teaching in Montessori schools for several years, she decided to take some time off and further pursue weaving. She lived in Nantucket and worked in a weaving studio that focused on producing materials for high-end designers. This is where she really honed her skills, weaving fine throws, rugs, fabric and upholstery. She soon bought her own Macomber loom and has been weaving on the side ever since. Now living in the Shenandoah Valley, you can see and purchase her fantastic work at Artists in Cahoots in Lexington, VA.



Cathy compares weaving to cooking in that while on the one hand there’s technique and know-how, it all comes down to the ingredients you begin with. Whether in the kitchen or on the loom, the raw materials make a huge difference in the final product. “I like the fact that weaving is preserving the traditional craft. But it’s more than a craft – looms used to be common household items. Until the Industrial Revolution, everything was handmade and part of the household economy – nothing was wasted. I love that kind of stuff! I think it’s important there are some people left who know how to do it.”



I first met Cathy earlier this year when she visited the Polyface store. We hit it off right away and talked about many things. Several months later, when she found out that I was fundraising to attend Ballymaloe, she immediately called me and told me that the Maloney family she’d lived with in Ireland were good friends with Myrtle Allen, who started the Ballymaloe House! (Small world, no?) She then graciously offered one of her woven labors of love, a diamond weave nutmeg-brown Alpaca throw, for me to raffle off for my fundraiser.




Close up on the stunning diamond weave pattern

I am so honored to offer you a chance to win Cathy’s lovely handiwork! Here’s how the raffle will go:

Each $10 contribution made through my GoFundMe website between now and Wednesday October 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm will result in one raffle ticket with your name on it. You will receive a confirmation email from me that I have received your contribution and have put your name in the hat one time for every $10 donated. I’ll be doing this the old fashioned way – with a hat! – and will post a video of me selecting the winner after the raffle has closed.

The one winner will be chosen at random and will receive the luxurious nutmeg brown 4 1/2′ x 6′ Alpaca throw that comes with a wonderful story behind it and a hopeful story in front of it!

Many thanks to Cathy Hagan and her big generous heart. Good luck in the raffle! Enter by donating here.

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

5 Responses to A Special Raffle

  1. That looks amazing, Brie. I totally support you! I’ll link you to my site to get the word out, too. I hope the money comes in quickly for you.

  2. June Beninghove says:

    Cathy’s work is sensational! Her mother gave me one of Cathy’s scarves several years ago; it’s a favorite part of my wardrobe. After meeting Cathy, the scarf became even more treasured because I learned her work is weaved with a great deal of passion for the very art of weaving. Although Cathy and I have rare occasion to be together, she has a special place in my heart. I have been putting money aside to purchase one of Cathy’s throws so I am definitely going to donate for a chance and to help Brie; however, I don’t make monetary purchases or donations via internet so will get money to you otherwise! Please send me the address to send donations ASAP. I am forwarding info to several of my friends.

  3. Laina Y says:

    A beautiful throw and a beautiful story!
    That cooking school looks amazing 🙂 Perhaps I’ll put it on my bucket list for the when the kids are grown and out of the house. Would love to visit Ireland, in any case. My mother’s family originated in County Cork. And, coincidentally, my grandmother’s name was Catherine Elizabeth 🙂 With such connections to the story, I can’t help but donate. And we’ll keep your venture in our prayers!

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