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.

 

 

Have a green christmas!

 

It is more important than ever to be environmentally aware this Christmas season and to chose sustainable options as much as possible.

The Christmas tree is at the centre of the decor this time of the year so opting for a real tree, grown in Ireland will benefit the planet as the carbon footprint is minimal. It also it makes your home feel pretty special with the beautiful pine scent wafting around the house. There are some exquisite Christmas decorations available handmade in glass, wood, ceramic, paper and felt. You can also source some quirky vintages ones in antique shops.

Buying locally-made gifts allows you to get some beautiful, unique and quality pieces that will be cherished and appreciated by the person receiving them. Buying handcrafted gifts is both environmentally sound and economically worthwhile.  Gift wrapping and packaging doesn’t have to cost the earth either and can be kept simple. In Handmade Design Studio, we provide  with handmade reusable fabric pouches. Kraft or recycled paper added to with some colourful ribbons is another greener alternative.

Supporting makers, artists and designers together with local independent shopks means helping to build a diverse thriving locally-based business community. Keep your town or village alive as well as the planet!

 

Art Peat

 

Artist Jacinta Nally captures beautiful images of the natural world through her camera lens. She engages with nature to create the most astonishing work that is reminiscent of the Japanese art of bonsai. I was wowed to say the least when I first saw Jacinta’s unique sculptural peat art. She composes miniature scenes using turf, moss, twigs and seeds and her careful attention to details gives her pieces a true aesthetics.

The use of raw natural elements, all sourced from the midlands, as an art media speaks to me due to its originality and earthiness. Some of Jacinta’s pieces are currently available from Handmade Design Studio. The piece shown here is titled “Angels are closer than you think”.

Official Opening

Although I moved into the new premises of Handmade Design Studio at 32 Mount Street in January, it wasn’t until the good weather started that I was finally able to tackle painting the shopfront. This was done over a couple of sunny Sundays in May and early June. To lift the colour of the exterior of the shop, I chose Vintage Silver from Colourtrend, a pale mauve that is a nice balance of light, bright and cool. I finished the painting just on time for the official launch on 6th June. I was delighted that Mary McEvoy was once again available to speak at the event. Mary spoke of the value of Handmade Design Studio as a space for craft and design in Mullingar and of the urgent need to be mindful of the environment and of buying sustainable products.

The re-launch was my way to thank customers and friends for supporting my creative enterprise of the past six years. I wanted to celebrate a local and indeed national community of crafters, artists and designers whose work I showcase with care. It was a memorable and most enjoyable evening. I was absolutely awed and inspired by the generosity and creativity in the gifts and cards that I received, including a 200 year old hand-embroidered, framed sampler. My friend, the photographer David Maury, captured the event beautifully with some superb images.

 

Oh Me Oh May!

 

Where does the time go? Already the summer is here. Well we welcome in the long sunny days of sunshine and hopefully many more of those to come. The bright weather conjures up for me the colour yellow. It is such a popular choice this year: be it in fashion or for interiors and is a great complement for other colours such as navy, fushia or simply white. So be bold this season and add a dash of this bright sunny colour to enjoy every day!

Look out for:  Tilton in the Chalk Paint palette by Annie Sloan

        The triangular rubber necklace by Sandia Dublin

        The classic square shibori silk scarves by Rothlú

 

32 Mount Street

It is hard to believe but it is already a month since I moved to the new premises at n˚32 Mount Street ! I’m starting to find my feet and really loving the new open-plan space. So much space !

As you come in, you get a full view of the many different areas : the shop showcasing the many Irish-made home and fashion accessories together with the hand-painted furniture. You can browse through the homely settings with great ease and wander towards the back where you will find a dedicated area for the Annie Sloan decorative chalk paints and her other products. The many furniture and craft workshops offered take place here. Call in for a visit ! Looking forwards to showing you around !

Make it festive

 

Christmas really starts the moment you dust off the box of decorations, tinsel and lights stashed away since last year. There’s the moment of anticipation and rediscovery that is so much part of the excitement of the festive season.

To decorate the Christmas tree, you first put the fairy lights on the branches working from top to bottom, then add all the colourful glass or ceramic baubles, the handmade wooden or straw decorations, the lovely little felted booties. Finish with a star or Angel at the very top of the tree.
Getting one special Christmas decoration every year to build a collection adding a new one year on year creates a family collection that makes for new memories of Christmas to cherish.

Winter time

 

As the evenings are getting longer, darker and colder, this is the time of year when you want to sit by the fire, light some nice candles and relax in a warm and homely room. You might want to add an extra layer in the shape of a woolly blanket for the ultimate in cosiness! The handwoven throws from Studio Donegal come in a great ranges of tones from earthy to bright. Scented candles from Candella come in many delightful aromas, with Vintage Rose (No. 1), Pomegranate (No. 3) and White Fig (No. 8) among my favourites this season. Complete this tableau of comfort with a cup of hot chocolate in one of KaroArt’s tweet cups.