Hidden Heartlands

Mullingar may not be the first town to spring to mind as a tourist destination in Ireland but ‘stayationers’ this summer have been blown away by the many treasures they discovered. The hinterland of Mullingar is rich with unspoiled woodlands and newly opened up bogs. County Westmeath boasts gorgeous, picturesque waterways in a peaceful countryside together with historical gems: the likes of the Hill of Uisneach, St Patrick’s Chair and Belvedere House and Gardens, all within easy reach of the town.  

You can walk or cycle along the Royal Canal, go fishing in Lough Ennell, dipping at the diving boards at Lough Owel or simply take it nice and easy at Irishtown House, a beautiful, elegant guesthouse located by the lake. 

If you are looking for a unique souvenir of your time spent in the heart of the island, Sharlene Kemple’s ceramic art pieces featuring lovely Lough Owel, which have been designed in collaboration with Handmade Design Studio, will remind you of your time in the Lake County.

Back in the groove

I must say it is lovely to able to welcome customers back in Handmade Design Studio. It is such a pleasure to see lots of familiar faces and to meet new customers interested in Irish crafts and designs! It is so nice to have chats and get back to a sense of normality and social life again!

Call in to see the new handmade pieces in stock and the beautiful collections we have on display. These include linen and silk scarves in vibrant summery colours, minimal or bold statement jewellery, earthy and subtle ceramics, botanical framed prints, woollen blankets for outdoors living and so much more!

One of the latest additions to Handmade Design Studio is the retro style jewellery by Anne-Louise Laflamme who uses vinyl records as a canvas to create one of a kind pieces. Her earrings and necklaces are very eye-catching, different and light to wear.

What better way to ‘get into the groove’ than by wearing jewellery made from old music records? If you want to be perfectly casual or absolutely trendy, look no further!

Spring Forward

With winter finally behind us we can now enjoy the extra hour of light in the Spring evenings. April is around the corner and we will get to see even more colourful flowers popping out around us. Inspiring woodlands and beautiful skies this time of year are wonderful sources of energy and peace. Nature is always amazing especially at this time of the year when at first it slowly comes back to life and then bursts out bright and loud!

In the words of Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky:  ”Colour is a power which directly influences the soul”. So if you are thinking of adding colour into your life and your home to lift your spirit, you can wear a bright and bold piece of jewellery or add a colourful cushion to a sofa or an  armchair for an immediate impact!

The show must go on

The start of a new year is always an exciting time to plan the year ahead: to think of new ideas, source new Irish-based makers and see the new collections from a wide range of interesting Irish designers.  

Showcase Ireland, the leading creative trade expo has moved online this year due to the current covid-19 restrictions.  They have facilitated virtual showrooms and one-to-one meetings with designers and makers. It is a fantastic opportunity to discover artisans with a passion for the pieces they make, the stories behind the work and the ways different designers source material and present their work. The collections I have been shown are innovative, quirky, stylish, colourful with quality and sustainability in mind.  

So, expect to see some beautiful new work coming in in the next couple of weeks. Check out the Gift page and follow us on Instagram and Facebook too for regular updates.

The Art of Giving

When it comes to give a gift to a special person for a special occasion, it is important to think carefully about the person the gift is intended for. It is really not so easy particularly when there is so much choice! It is worth thinking about their likes and what would make smile or laugh. We give someone a gift to show gratitude, consideration, appreciation and  love or we may simply want to show our own kindness in a symbolic way through the present. The gesture of the gift can come in so many forms: Sometimes giving someone time is the most precious gift of all.

At Handmade Design Studio, we are into giving time and taking time to think about gifts, what to choose, how to wrap and present it. We specialise in gifts that are hand-crafted, have a story and make connections that are real, sourced in Ireland and made with the attention and care you would want for a gift for someone special in your life.

Have a lovely and thoughtful Christmas

More than a shop

Sadly once again, Handmade Design Studio has to close its doors due to the level 5 restrictions being introduced from midnight on Wednesday. The coming weeks will be a real challenge but hopefully we will come out of it stronger as a community and more aware of what truly matters in life. I want to really thank everyone for supporting local shops and for the heartwarming good wishes. It means a lot to me. Handmade Design Studio is more than a shop: it is also about the chats, the stories and sharing creative ideas. I will miss all of that dearly.

I will be working being the scenes and will have new products coming in over the next few weeks. I will post regular updates on the gifts section. You can contact us for any orders or queries by using the Contact page or by email at handdesign10@gmail.com. You can also find us on social media at
www.facebook.com/handmadedesignstudio
www.instagram.com/handmade.design.studio
Click and Collect is available and delivery can be arranged. Stay safe.

 

Made  Local

The Made Local is a campaign organised by the Design and Craft Council of Ireland. It was launched at the end of July by An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and actor/writer Amy Huberman. This initiative which I am proud to participate in as a craft shop owner recognizes the exceptional talents that Ireland has to offer of craftspeople throughout Ireland.

They make high-quality and sustainable pieces that show pure craftsmanship and skill and these items will be cherished for years to come. Behind each piece , there is a story and an authentic artisan who puts his/her heart and soul into their work.

Support the makers and the local shops for a truly unique experience: it only takes one person to start a trend.

On the road to somewhere

 

Following the most recent government’s guidelines for retail businesses, Handmade Design Studio remains closed for the time being. All going well, we’ll be open again in three weeks’ time.

With  everything at a standstill or in slow motion, creativity has helped me to stay focused and positive in these unusual times. Resuming abandoned projects has been a great outlet for me together with furniture painting, decorating, designing new scarves, making face coverings and working behind the scenes!

I look forward to seeing you in the shop next month as we adjust to our new normality for society.  In the meantime, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to contact me by email at handdesign10@gmail.com or by direct message on Facebook or Instagram @handmadedesignstudio. We have a small selection of products available online via our Facebook shop as well as the Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.

Challenging Times

 

I have to admit I was very sad to have to temporarily close the shop. But I knew it was the best decision for the safety of my customers and well as my own. I will be missing the face to face chats, helping customers finding the right gifts and seeing your upcycling furniture projects taking shape. I had to suspend all the orders of new pieces that I had been really looking forward to getting this Spring. I have had also to cancel the creative workshops for now.

Nobody asked for this health emergency, nor for the physical distancing, for the illness it has brought to so many as well as the fear and the uncertainty we all feel.

Staying positive, supporting each other in a small or big way, being mindful, keeping creative and connected will help us as individuals and as a community to be stronger together. Do take care and stay safe.

Our brick and motar shop is temporarily closed but we are still working behind the scenes! Don’t hesitate to send us a message or visit our online Facebook shop, which is being updated regularly. Stay Safe. Looking forward to the time when the shop is reopen.

Solastalgia

 

Handmade Design Studio opened its doors last Thursday evening for the opening of ‘Solastalgia’, an exhibition of new paintings by artist Ursula Meehan. The exhibition was opened by Mullingar native and artist Paul Timoney who with great skill and humour gave insight into the  artist’s work.

The oil paintings, Paul referred to them as “internal landscapes”, reflect on loss, grief and transition through an exploration of dark and light. Ursula focuses on the bare elements of earth, sky, cloud in these artwork. She explores her theme through her strong use of colour to enhance the contemplative feeling within the paintings.

Originally from Dublin Ursula has been living in rural North Westmeath for 25 years and its landscape and natural beauty is a major  influence in her work. Westmeath Arts Office supported the development of the work through its Artists Bursary Grant. © Ursula Meehan

 

‘Solastalgia’  runs until February 20th, Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.