‘Our Stories’ Video – Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

This is a short film about the Writing and Art classes run by me, Art Teacher and Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe.  The stories and accompanying artworks produced during six classes, which ran from February to April 2018, were put together in a booklet format, as shown in the film, for each participant to take home.

I then edited everyone’s stories, selected and modified appropriate artwork and did the cover design which culminated in the community book entitled ‘Our Stories.’ This community project was funded by Glounthaune Tidy Towns and Cork County Council Creative Communities Scheme and was a joy to work on, from start to finish!

For more information and photos see the following blog entries ‘Our Stories Book Launch’ , ‘Write and Illustrate your Story’ and check out FB www.facebook.com/frazzledmammycork/

(From Project Coordinator, Art Teacher and Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe)

©  Maeve O’Keeffe

Our Stories Book Launch by Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

Our Stories book Maeve O’Keeffe

Book Launch of ‘Our Stories’

Leafing through a brand new book to see your words and drawings in print is amazing. Is this how Marian Keyes or Eoin Colfer feels when they hold one of their brand new publications in their hands?  And the great thing is that about 40 people, from Senior Infants to Senior Citizens, shared this thrill when our community anthology, aptly entitled ‘Our Stories’, was recently launched!

After a year’s work, from concept to completion, it’s so satisfying to have an end product that brought together people who wouldn’t otherwise have met each other.  Like most parishes and communities in Ireland, Glounthaune in County Cork has its share of clubs, sports and social activities for various age groups.  However, people from the different community groups generally don’t get to meet each other.  So how did we achieve that through a creative arts programme?

In March 2017, I attended a Creative Ireland Initiative meeting in Midleton Library that might be of interest regarding community Arts funding.  Hosted by Cork County Council’s art department, the group were looking for suggestions for the County’s Cultural Strategy.  As an Art Teacher who usually includes some cartoon drawing in my classes, I suggested a ‘Write and Illustrate your Story’ idea, encouraging people across the community to share their stories and enhance it with a drawing.  As an avid reader (who reads everything from novels, comics to cornflake boxes), I’m with the Alice in Wonderland school of thought; “What is the use of a book without pictures or conversation?”  Doesn’t drawing, too, play its part in storytelling?  We can all do simple matchstick figures, so why not combine words and lines to create an illustrated story, comic or graphic novel?

This arts project was aimed inclusively at everyone in the community. As a local Art Teacher, Illustrator and Artist in the Community, I assisted people in teasing out their story ideas – they didn’t need to be good at either writing or drawing to take part. Just having an interest was enough and we developed it from there!

Stories ranged from very simple statements from young children like “I have a pet dog. His name is Fluffy. This is my family,” to an adventurous tale or funny incident. Older participants could similarly select anecdotes or fictional concepts to produce an illustrated short story. In fact, the older age-group wrote such compelling, personal tales, ranging from loss of homeland and loved ones to reminiscent memories of the past, that the reader can’t help but feel they have shared a part of the author’s experience.

Our six-week set of classes began in February 2018. We had three groups – children from Senior Infants to 6th Class and lastly, the adults. Most already had their story idea. Some of the kids had fully developed characters like bullies, beloved pets or unwitting superheroes such as ‘Thunderboy’, ‘SuperDude’ or ‘Billy Bob Joe’.

Others needed a little help.  “What would you like to write about?” class volunteer, Angela asked six-year-old Ben, our youngest participant. Ben had lots of ideas but narrowed it down to his hero, “I am very proud of my dad and love him very much.”

Then there was 16 year-old Arsela, living in Direct Provision who wrote about “The moment when we bundled up some clothes and we had to leave our house.  It was a bad time in my life.”

Arsela’s mother, Lindita, writes of her wish to help a child in need.  She generously donates a lace quilt she made to be sold for fundraising, “It may have been very little, far from what she needs, but it was all I had at that moment.” Lindita’s altruistic generosity is both humbling and inspirational.

There was the heartbreakingly poignant but joyful account of 4 year-old cancer patient, Alisa Savage, who was granted the trip of a lifetime to Orlando by the Massachusetts/Rhode Island ‘Make a Wish’ foundation. Alisha’s mother, Michelle, lovingly writes about Alisha’s last days, her young life lived to the full.

We get an insight into Izzedeen Alkarajeh’s experience of fleeing Palestine with his family and coping with Ireland’s Direct Provision system.  Izzedeen’s positive outlook is testimony to his perseverance in difficult times.

It was a privilege to get to share people’s stories and artwork, and to make new friends in the process. I was impressed by the storytelling ability of the children and by their comedic and fantastic tales. I was humbled by the harrowing accounts that people shared of their first-hand experiences of war, immigration and families being cruelly separated.

I hope this book encourages participants and other readers to write more. Perhaps other communities might try something similar?  Hopefully we’ll have future writers stemming from this experience, or inspire people, regardless of age group, to pursue their interest in writing and drawing.

With our stories finally in print, we launched our book on Friday June 22nd at Glounthaune Community Centre, Cork.  It was a night to celebrate our local writing and artistic talent, the fantastic volunteers and great community spirit that made this project possible.

For more information and photos see FB www.facebook.com/frazzledmammycork/

(From Project Coordinator, Art Teacher and Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe)

©  Maeve O’Keeffe

OurStories Maeve O’Keeffe

The story of ‘Our Stories’ was reported in the Cork Evening Echo on Thursday June 28th!




Write & Illustrate your Story – illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

Write and Illustrate your Story

 Writer’s block?  Not a trace of it amongst our local authors!  Our six week set of classes for the ‘Write and Illustrate your Story’ Community Art project recently ended on April 13th.  With participants ranging in age from Senior Infants to Senior Citizens, we’ve had a very enjoyable and productive experience.  After initial brainstorming followed by weeks of busily writing, of sharing anecdotes and artwork ideas, each writer has now brought home their own individual illustrated story in booklet format.

My Story 3rd-6thClass

Maeve and Angela with Senior Infant-2nd class

Maeve with My Story Adults’ class

And what a miscellany!  From fantastic adventures featuring beloved pets, magical objects, creepy creatures, cracked teeth, bullies, superheroes, childhood memories, wartime tales, Formula One, Direct Provision, altruistic acts, to poignant but beautiful accounts of dear ones’ last days, each story is unique.  This is an example from our youngest participant, Ben O’Donoghue, aged six, writing about his Dad, with his drawing of them playing soccer:

My Dad

‘My dad is in the army.  He is in the Lebanon.  I am very proud of my dad and love him very much.  My dad plays football with me.  He is coming home on the 4th of April.  When he comes home we will have a big party for him and my baby sister who will be 2 years old.  My Mammy loves when my dad is at home.  I like to make things out of items in the recycling bin and my dad helps me.  I think my dad is a hero.’

My Story Project – BenO’Donoghue





In addition to the sponsorship from Glounthaune Tidy Towns and Cork County Council Creative Communities Scheme, this community project could not have progressed without the involvement of local volunteers – Angela Reidy, Maeve Tomlins and Lindita Jaupaj who helped me with the classes.  Michael Power and Carol Harpur have taken photos and footage to produce a short film about the project.

My Story project

My Story project with Maeve O’Keeffe

My Story project maeveokeeffe












Meanwhile, all the written submissions with accompanying illustrations will be compiled into an anthology, due for publication in May.  The official launch of our community stories will take place in Glounthaune Community Centre (date to be confirmed), where copies of the book can be purchased.  Samples of the illustrations will be on display, while some of our authors might treat us to a reading of their work!

For more photos see FB www.facebook.com/frazzledmammycork/

(From Project Coordinator, Art Teacher and Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe)

©Maeve O’Keeffe

Lifelong Learning Art Demo with Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

FREE ART DEMONSTRATION with Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe
As part of the Lifelong Learning Festival, I’m looking forward to doing some drawings and cartoons
Next Saturday, March 24th 2018
in the Market Green Shopping Centre, Midleton, Co. Cork.
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Join in as I do some sketches and find out more about my art classes in your area.

Glounthaune Tidy Towns – Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

Glounthaune Tidy Towns:

Keep Glounthaune Clean poster

Bin Everything poster


The Glounthaune Tidy Towns and Men’s Shed Group are doing great work in beautifying Glounthaune village and keeping it litter free.  For the last few years they have sponsored an anti-litter poster competition in Glounthaune National School with stunning results.  Once the winning entry has been selected, I’m called in as illustrator to modify it slightly, transferring the image to a digital format so that the image can be professionally printed into a large, clearly visible roadside sign.  The above are two signs that are still on display along the roadside at each end of village, with one appearing also on the wall of Fitzpatrick’s Shop last summer!

Not content with just tackling litter, just before Christmas the Men’s Shed were busy roping in Santa, or rather, his reindeer while poor Mr. Claus got stuck in the chimney of the wooden house they made!  I was happy to be called upon again for some cartoon artwork and did pictures of the children and their pets looking upwards, trying to figure out what or who is making all that noise up the chimney!

Santa House Men’s Shed

Reindeer at the ready!






2017 was a busy year with these interesting community projects.  2018 promises to be even busier with our ‘Write and Illustrate your Story’ community Art project promoted & sponsored by Glounthaune Tidy Towns and Cork County Council Creative Communities Scheme.  This will begin on February 15th.

For more information and updates check out my Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/frazzledmammycork/   and the Glounthaune Tidy Towns Facebook page and Website http://glounthaunetidytowns.com


Maeve O’Keeffe, the Frazzled Mammy!   ©Maeve O’Keeffe 2018

Drawing on the Radio! by illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

A Cat like Garfield – Maeve O’Keeffe

We’ve heard of dancing on the radio but what about DRAWING ON THE RADIO! I recently spoke to Justin Maher on the CRY104fm ‘Youghal Today’ show about my upcoming Art Classes and Halloween Midterm Workshops for children.  Justin asked me how I would go about drawing a cat like Garfield. Continue reading

Night Classes by Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

Cartoon: Night Class by Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe

It’s that time of year, again, when change is in the air – kids are starting a new school year, days are getting cooler and evenings shorter.  That modicum of change affects adults, too, as many consider doing a night class for self-improvement or simply do something interesting for the long winter nights. Continue reading

Charity seeking old Schoolbooks

Charity seeking old schoolbooks

Like thousands of parents at this time of year, I’m faced with the cost of kids going back to school and/or college.

As well as the uniforms, stationery, etc, textbooks must be bought — a major expense.

Every year, I’m enraged that perfectly good schoolbooks can’t be reused because either the content is supposedly improved and republished or the curriculum changes.

Continue reading

Illustrator Maeve O’Keeffe – Cartoon Drawing Workshop


Workshop Cork County Council Arts

on the theme of ‘Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone’

with illustrator / art teacher Maeve O’Keeffe.



Wed July 19th: Ballincollig Library 10.00-12.00pm (8-13 yrs)
Wed July 19th: Glanmire Library 2.00-4.00pm (8-13 yrs)

Thur July 20th: Fermoy Library 10.00-12.00 (8-13 yrs)
Thur July 20th: Youghal Library 2.30-4.30 (8-13 yrs)

For more details see https://www.facebook.com/frazzledmammycork/

(Organised by Cork County Library & Arts Service. Limited places, so booking a place at the library is necessary)