On Wednesday, I visited Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Expo, which is a trade fair, featuring the best of Irish craft, gifts, fashion and interiors, organized by the Crafts Council of Ireland. The craft sector in Ireland is worth close to half a billion euro to the economy and employs just under six thousand people. The Crafts Council of Ireland is keen to develop new markets for Irish craft and Showcase is one way of doing so. Last year, at Showcase, visiting buyers from forty countries bought over €20 million worth of goods. It’s a large show and sadly I had just one short hour to hoof my way around all the stands. It was impossible in that short space of time to see everything. Below are some of the items that caught my eye as I whizzed around at a rate of knots.
Jewellery designed by Vivienne Martin: Vivienne was highly commended in the Jewellery Category (that’s effectively joint second place). Vivienne graduated with a first class honours degree in textile design from the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology in 2009. She uses a mix of synthetic ribbon, mesh and wire to fashion her innovative, intricate and striking designs. (www.risecreatives.com/viviennemartin or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bird house by Caimin Coyne of Woodbofin: I think it was the proper-pitched slate roof that drew me to the Woodbofin birdhouses. Caimin is a native of Inisboffin, an island off the west coast of Ireland. In childhood, he learnt woodworking and boatbuilding skills from family members. The birdhouses are made from waterproof plywood and natural slate; they are finished with three coats of paint and are available in a choice of colours (www.woodbofin.ie).
Carrickmacross Lace by Clare Salley: Who can forget all the hullabaloo surrounding last year’s royal wedding and the universal acclaim that greeted the dress designed for Kate Middleton by Sarah Burton from the house of Alexander McQueen. The Royal School of Needlework used Carrickmacross lace making techniques for the lace appliqué flowers on the dress (Carrickmacross is a town in County Monaghan in Ireland). So when I saw Clare Salley’s Carrickmacross lace stand I screeched to a halt. It could well be that the standard items Clare offers are not what you are looking for and if that is the case the good news is that Clare offers a bespoke service. (www.irishcarrickmacross.net)
Crochet hat by Erin Knitwear: I stopped to chat to someone I knew who was visiting the Erin Knitwear stand. If I hadn’t, I might have missed the cute one hundred per cent wool hand crocheted hat, which is the best-selling item in their range. Erin knitwear has been on the go for forty years and the second generation of the Lane family is now running the business. (www.erinknitwear.com)
I am sad that I didn’t have more time to explore Showcase or that I don’t have more space in this post to write about everyone I talked to. I hope to get back next year and to allow more time to do justice to Showcase.
Have a good weekend.