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!
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”.
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.
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
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 !
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.
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.
To create her unique ceramics, Vivien O’Malley takes her inspiration directly from her surroundings along the coast of County Waterford.
The ‘Tidal Collection’ consists of a series of bowls with splashes of either a deep midnight blue or a greeny turquoise glaze on the outside surface. Inspired by the patterns created in the sand by the retreating tide, these striking colours are reminiscent both of the sky light and the sea water.
The ‘Urchin Collection’ has an outer dotted surface, evoking the exterior shell of the sea urchin as the name suggests. With this lovely textured surface and the varied inner colours, ranging from purple to pink and different shades of blue, this original collection of porcelain mugs, sugar bowls, milk jugs and bowls is as playful as it is exquisite.
Dublin-based jewellery maker Betzy Medina creates funky, chunky and very colourful fashion accessories under the brand name of Sandia. For her necklace collections, she has created some striking hand-cut pieces using expanding rubber foam. This is an unusual but creative choice as a material for jewellery: it has the advantage of being extremely light and easy to wear. Painted wood is another favoured material and with her interesting colour combinations and geometrical shapes Betzy’s jewellery is sure to be noticed! Sandia earrings and necklaces make a fun addition to any outfit and can complete either a casual or a stylish look. Totally addicted! Now available in Handmade Design Studio, Mullingar.
Thomas Wollen has been a potter for nearly 20 years and is one of only two ceramists in Ireland who uses the traditional Japanese Raku technique to glaze pieces. Raku (楽) which originated in Japan and has a 400 year history there, means enjoyment, comfort or ease but is anything but easy to create! In fact it is quite a difficult process to successfully produce the distinctive crackled glaze surface. Thomas’ inspiration comes mainly from the botanical world. Vases and wall-mounted cuboid pieces available in Handmade Design Studio include depictions of elongated floral heads and wading birds in both vibrant colours are truly unique and would make a spectacular statement in a home.