Handmade in Ireland
With the month that’s in it, we’ve specifically tried to source items that could be given (or received) as gifts. We spent quite a lot of time trying to source them and are extremely grateful to all the makers we’ve featured, as we know this time of year can be their busiest.
Hairy Fruit Art - Céad Míle Maps Kitchen Textile Collection Tea Towel
Helen Magee is an illustrator and designer from Delgany, Co. Wicklow. Helen has spent her life working in oils selling at exhibitions locally and in Dublin. Then in 2013 Helen launched her own design business Hairy Fruit Art, a fun and colourful name representing the whimsical side of her personality and giving her the scope to develop her own design brand. Since then she has been designing her cheerful and unique collections of wall art, greetings cards, notepads, and recently launching her Céad Míle Maps kitchen textile collection featuring colourful and pretty maps of Ireland ‘Hairy Fruit’ style.
Céad Míle Maps kitchen textile collection features Helen’s unique design of pretty maps of Ireland in repeat pattern ‘Hairy Fruit’ style. The colour palette is loosely based on the colours of the Irish flag with a contemporary twist. This collection includes aprons, tea towels, tea cosies, oven gloves and a set of four napkins made from 100% cotton canvas with a co-coordinating orange trim. The tea towel we’ve featured costs €9.95 plus shipping and has a good heavyweight handle to it. In our opinion it’s far too pretty for drying the dishes, but would look lovely hanging on the kitchen wall.
Pelzer Design Studio – Drop Spindle Kit
Ruth Pelzer lives in the West of Ireland, with her husband David who is an artist and creative blacksmith, nine children (seven of whom are adults and have flown the nest) and a rescue dog, Sadie.
Having moved here 14 years ago, Ruth was eager to start knitting with traditional Irish yarn and patterns like her mother and grandmother had done, but discovered fairly quickly that practically all of the woollen mills that would have produced these yarns closed down many years ago.
Surrounded by sheep farmers, Ruth began to ask the farmers what kind of sheep they had, when shearing began, and if it was possible to purchase a small amount. Initially, her questions were almost always met with suspicion and more often than not, Ruth was told that sheep wool in Ireland ‘is only good for carpets.’
Undaunted, Ruth learned everything she could and decided to process her own wool and eventually taught herself to spin. Keen to know if other people were interested in learning to spin, Ruth opened her Etsy Shop and hopes to have her own website in the New Year.
The Drop Spindle Kit includes a top whorl drop spindle, 2oz/approx 50gms of pure 100% Irish grown and carded white wool and 2oz/ approx 50gms combed, silky soft bright green Merino from Australia and a how-to step-by-step guide on how to spin on a drop spindle. All of this is presented in its own cotton draw-string bag.
Ruth makes the spindles herself from 100% Irish wood and they are available in a choice of colours; natural, red or green. The kit costs €18.50 plus shipping and is available from the PelzerDesignStudio Etsy Shop.
Mr Kite Designs – Apple Garland
Mr Kite Designs was started in 2015 by Jade and Jo. Based in Cork City, they share a love of craft, design and The Beatles. Their work is all handmade using a mixture of vintage and new materials. They create contemporary pieces in card and fabric for you and your home.
The Mr Kite Apple Garland features 12 double-sided apples hand cut from cardstock and machine stitched with strong white thread, finished with a small metal ring at either end to make it easier to hang. The garland measures approximately 150 cms in length and is an ideal decoration for a kitchen or any other room in your house. The garland costs €12 plus shipping and is available from the Mr Kite Etsy Shop.
Lorraine Fletcher Art Studio – Irish Wildlife Greetings Cards
Lorraine Fletcher is an Irish artist who graduated from the University of Ulster, Belfast with a degree in Fine Art and Design. She now works from her studio in Galway and takes her inspiration from wildlife. Lorraine’s paintings are a unique combination of bright colours, quirky compositions and the inspiring stories behind the paintings result in her distinctive style.
Lorraine’s original paintings are available and as limited edition fine art prints, greeting cards and an increasing range of homeware products. Her greetings cards are printed on good quality cardstock and measure 15cm x 15cm. They have been left blank inside for you to write your own greeting.
The cards are available singularly or in sets on Lorraine’s website with prices starting from €3.50. You can also purchase Lorraine’s products from the lady herself at one of several craft fairs, she will be attending during 2017. To find out when and where keep up-to-date via the Facebook Page or Instagram. We know Lorraine is currently in conversation with different retailers with regards to them becoming stockists. Fingers crossed, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Lorraine’s work in the New Year.
Turnstone Ceramics – Connemara Black Faced Sheep Tile
Tamaru Hunt-Joshi creates unique and beautiful ceramic pictures from stoneware clay. Her work is inspired by the wild Irish landscape in the West of Ireland. Originally from England, Tamaru spent many years in the USA studying and working as a plant ecologist and research scientist. It was during her time at Cornell University, NY that she started making ceramics and was immediately captivated by clay and its many possibilities.
On relocating to Galway, she was inspired by the beauty of the west coast of Ireland. Her love of nature and landscape is reflected in her work. Her ceramic pictures are made in stages using slip (or liquid clay) in both natural colours of clays, and with clays stained with blues and greys, as a fluid background to her landscapes. Layers of relief and texture are then applied to these clay panels.
The Connemara Black-Faced Sheep tile from Turnstone Ceramics depicts a lovely little woolly character. Tamaru’s ceramics are usually left unglazed, and the unique textures of porcelain and stoneware clays are wonderful to touch.
Rowan Beg Studios – Natural Soy Wax Candles
Rowan Beg Design Studios is an eco-conscious company, that makes you feel good. Based in Connemara, Nicola McGuinness designs and creates unique and quirky pebble art, letter-pressed wall prints and occasional cards and all-natural soy wax candles.
Nicola, who returned to her homestead two years ago, after living in New York for 14 years, takes her inspiration from the amazing surroundings of the remotest parts of the untouched Connemara landscape. From the natural, inspired scents of Rowan Beg Design Studios candle line, to their tree-free paper and reclaimed wood, everything they produce is original and unique.
Rowan Beg Design Studios uses only upcycled, recycled, natural, sustainable and/or biodegradable materials where possible. They aim to leave behind as small a carbon footprint as possible while still creating products of the highest quality and design. Owner Nicola McGuinness describes herself as one of the ‘new age’ eco conscious. “I am not a tree hugger. I am an ordinary busy working Mum who likes the finer things in life. My design ethos is ‘sustainability and luxury living in harmony’, so I decided to bring it back to basics while still presenting beautiful products.”
Rowan Beg Studios candles are made from natural soy wax, which contains no chemicals and burns clean, producing no soot or residue. The 250ml candles have a burn time of between 40 to 50 hours if you follow the instructions, which you will find on the outside of the candle and on the website.
Luma Yarn from The Fibre Company in the Knitting SpotlightFebruary 24th, 2017
Surgeon Noonan Knit a Bear for Africa CampaignFebruary 11th, 2017
Book Review: Family Friendly KnitsJanuary 29th, 2017
A Close-up of the Woodlawn VestJanuary 19th, 2017
The Messy Bun hatJanuary 14th, 2017