Child’s play to turn art into memory with Scatterpillar

The figments of your child’s imagination can be brought wonderfully to life as soft toys and cushions this Christmas — by an enterprising mum who makes original keepsakes from upcycled clothes.

Jacinta Leigh

Dublin-based textile designer Jacinta Leigh was finding it difficult to send a bag of her twins’ clothes of particular sentimental value to the charity shop.

Also, there was only so much wall space for the art-mad twins’ drawings and she hated stashing them in the attic.

And so the idea of Scatterpillars was born. Her kids’ drawings were transformed into “softies”, embroidery on canvas and on cushions — all made from the children’s old clothes.

“Kids just love seeing their creations coming to life and it’s amazing when they see them made with their own pre-loved clothes,” she says. “My kids will just sit down with a crayon and go off into their own world and so when they see one of their own characters in real life, it’s amazing,”

Jacinta made her first softie last year and, since then, has completed a start your own business course with Dublin City Enterprise Board and has been mentored by the Craft Council of Ireland.

Such is the response to Scatterpillars that she has been asked to take part in the Craft Council’s 2014 Showcase for Irish and international buyers at the RDS in January.

Scatterpillars also featured on last week’s Late, Late Toy Show and she has been inundated with customers since — to the point that her website’s server nearly crashed last week.

“People love the different products as they’re unique and very special,” she says. “I love them, as they’re inspired by kids in so many ways. Even the name of one of the characters we made, the Sock Detective, came from my son who decided we needed a ‘sock detective’ to find all the odd socks lost in our house.”

The name Scatterpillar came about one afternoon in the family’s back garden three years ago. Jacinta’s son and daughter had never seen a caterpillar before and her son exclaimed: “Look mum, a scatterpillar”.

“Straight away, I thought what a great name for a business,” she says.

Jacinta says Scatterpillars aren’t just for children. She’s had commissions from adults who bought cushions and canvas for grandparents and godparents who might like to have a keepsake of their grandchildren and god- children’s early efforts with a crayon or pencil.

“It’s a special way of holding on to memories and it’s very unique to a particular child or children,” she says.

Scatterpillar designs can be contacted at, where the process for uploading art is explained.


How to take an active interest in your children’s online lives

Is kindness key to good health?

When it’s the right time to say goodbye?

Tric Kearney: 'Internet shopping and I are finished'

More From The Irish Examiner