This week Barack Obama was re-elected president of the USA. JAA doesn’t normally drift into political waters so I will just briefly say I was pleased and relieved that he will serve for a second term. Michelle Obama is highly intelligent, extraordinarily articulate, and blessed with a preternatural ability to connect with people; for those reasons it seems a bit shallow to obsess about what she wears. But I do: she is one of my style icons.
Category Archives: Craft
The weather on Monday was ark-appropriate: for ark-appropriate read insanely wet, wild and windy. So, I was in need of something cheering to take my mind off the incessant rain and the ubiquitous grey mist. And I found just the thing when I called into the Irish Design Shop’s branch in the RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy) and bought an Ursula Celano notebook which has an utterly charming cover a bit of which you see in the image above.
It is so very seldom that I walk into any sort of retail space and think to myself wow this is just so right. But I did when I went to see Makers & Brothers pop-up shop the weekend before last. Makers & Brothers is such a good name because it so perfectly describes the enterprise. Mark and Jonathan Legge are the brothers: the makers are a selection of craftspeople and designers whose products the brothers sell.
We live in a highly mechanized and technologically driven age where the degree of separation between us and those who make most of the things that we use on a daily basis seems as vast as the count of numbers to infinity. Distant industrialized manufacturing is a relatively new fangled thing: craft in contrast is almost as old as the oceans and is deeply embedded into the community where a craftsperson works.
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.
This is the last of the pre-Christmas shopping posts. I won’t go through the whole preamble again but will just say, as a quick reminder, that the emphasis in this series of posts is on: craft, home/handmade items, and independent shops. If you are entering the final run up to Christmas with some present shopping left to do, it would of course be lovely to stumble on a shop where you could scoop up diverse items to match all the gaps on your list. The Irish Design Shop, which carries a large range of items spanning different craft disciplines, is that sort of shop. Below are a few of the items they stock that caught my eye.
This is the first in a series of posts showcasing items that I think would make very acceptable Christmas gifts. The emphasis in the series is on: craft, homemade/handmade items, and independent shops. My hope is that wherever you live in the world that the images might inspire you (if you don’t do so already) to check out locally made beautiful items that are far removed from the madding mass-produced crowd.
I love jewellery. It’s not that I trip the light fantastic to high-end jewellery shops or high street chains to stock up on baskets of bling but rather that I am passionate about beautiful hand crafted pieces. I love looking at them in awe-struck wonder and appreciating the workmanship even if they are totally beyond my means. It is of course important that the skills that go into crafting these wonders tumble-down the generations, so as a lover of hand crafted jewellery I was pleased to learn that one of Ireland’s foremost practitioners of the art Deirdre O’Donnell is setting up a jewellery school in Dublin in 2012.
Do you know the feeling when you see certain items and you know within a nano-second that you like them, well not just like them but absolutely and truly like them? I had that exact feeling when I first saw Snow’s Christmas collection. Snow produces a diverse range of stylish design led pieces which retail at affordable price points. Snow’s product list includes: cards, lights, lanterns, gift-boxes, decorations and stationery.
Sarah McGahon a graduate of NCAD (that’s the National Collage of Art and Design in Ireland) set up her millinery business McGahon Millinery in 2009. Her route from school days to her present day role as designer of hats /businesswoman was a circuitous and interesting one.