March on

Forgotten ChinaThere is a lot to celebrate this month starting with Mother’s day on Sunday 6th. Is she a great cook? A wonderful listener ? A fantastic singer ? Has she a beautiful mind ? Whoever your mum is, give her a glorious gift for her day this Sunday ! If you are looking for something special to give your mother, how about a delicate vintage pendant or a pair of earrings from Forgotten China ? A truly individual piece as well as a keepsake, no doubt.

We have to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day, naturally with all things Irish. The best of guaranteed Irish art and craft all designed and handmade in every corner of Ireland can be found right here, on your doorstep.

window early MarchFinally, Easter falls before the end of March this year too and if you feel like springing into action while you are out on your Easter trail, you could pick up a can of Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan and give that tired piece of furniture a fresh new look. How about Provence, English Yellow or Henrietta?

Sweet 16

IMAG1527-1-1-1A new year has begun with some new creative ideas in the bag, a fresh lick of chalk paint™ in the shop and a forthcoming meeting with some emerging designers at Showcase.

As for colours, pastels are de rigueur this year: A blend of Rosequartz and Serenity has been chosen as the Pantone colour of the year. With such a blend of gentle rose and tranquil blue, 2016 could only bring a sense of balance and peace. Enjoy it!

 

‘Tis the Season!

robin plaqueYou might have an idea for a Christmas present for a loved one or you might have got a nudge recently or maybe you have run out of ideas altogether! Sometimes, it can be quite daunting to select the perfect gift so here are some suggestions:

For the Nature lovers: ‘Robin’, one of the ceramic wall plaques by Silverbranch, a butterfly brooch by Artysmarty or a grapefruit-scented soya candle by Candella.

For the foodies: A cereal patterned bowl by KaroArt, a beech breadboard by Caulfield Country Board or a ‘food of love’ bowl by Sarah McKenna.

mini pack projectFor the artists: A chalk paint mini project pack by Annie Sloan, a box of mini-soaps by Baressential or a felt heart brooch by Niki Collier.

For the bookworms: ‘Room recipes for style and colour’ by Annie & Felix Sloan, ‘Romantic Irish home’ by Robert O’Byrne or a vintage beaded bookmark from My Grandmother’s Closet.

For the fashionistas: An elegant felt hat by Nikki Collier, BE_earringsa silver and crystal pair of earrings by Bláithín Ennis or a limited edition clutch purse by JoanyG.

For the little ones: Organic baby bandana bib by Little Green Do, a pretty tooth fairy by Guadalupe Creations or ‘Aibítir’ first reader in Irish by René Mullin.

For the art lovers: ‘Mother Love’, a gilded fine art print by David Hill, ‘Great Tit’, a limited edition watercolour print by Terence O’Connell or ’Lakhome tweet homeelands’, an acrylic painting by Anne-Marie Kearns.

For the home-birds: A warm wool blanket by Donegal Studio, a unique hand-painted piece of furniture or A ‘home tweet home’ pebble art picture by OonaghKdesigns.

WISHING YOU A LOVELY AND PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS

Bewitched

By tniki1 H greyhe magical colours displayed by mother Nature : bright yellows and oranges, deep wine reds and vivid greens. Some of the colours of the yarns used by Studio Donegal to weave their cosy woolen blankets are reminiscent of these autumnal tones.

Scary as it sounds, we are reaching the end of October pretty soon : if you are dressing up for Halloween and want your costume to be that bit more glamorous, Blaithin Ennis’ Jewellery will set the tone together with Niki Collier’s new felt collection entitled ’H for Hope’, and inspired by the character Trinity from The Matrix.

Now that the clocks have gone back an hour, we need to adjust a little as night falls that bit earlier. To brighten up the dark evenings, candles are a must ! The delicate porcelain tealights by Roisin Gregory will set the mood.

The last of Summer

IMAG1634-1-1-1It is hard to believe that Summer is over and September will be here soon. After a couple of rainy weeks and with the days getting shorter, we are easing ourselves into Autumn. Oh! The thought of it!

However, if you want the Summer to linger awhile, make sure you burn one of Bog Standard candles such as Rosie’s Lane (lavender, jasmine and red berries) Hedgerow (blackberries, blackcurrant and strawberry) to enjoy those fresh summery scents a little while longer.

If you are looking for a new and creative skill to learn or if you are passionate about up-cycling and craftwork, why not come to one of the many workshops on offer  You can also find inspiration in the latest edition of Reloved magazine or flick through the Colour recipes book by Annie Sloan.

IMAG1631-1-1-1-1As the cooler mornings dawn, you could be eating your breakfast porridge or cereals from one of KaroArt stoneware patterned bowls. Cut your loaf of bread on one of the wooden board by Caulfield Country Boards. And for hot drinks there is no better choice than Claire Molly’s Equus mug and espresso cups to enjoy your tea or coffee.

Before you dash out the door, pin one of ArtySmarty’s brooches to your shirt or top. Et voilà! You’ll have the smart casual look.

All beautifully designed for you. All handmade. All Irish.

Summer is here!

candella 6July is looking promising following some gorgeous, warm days in June. The birds are happy out, the bees are busy and the subtle scents coming from the many flowers in bloom, fruit bushes and trees are just delightful ! Recreate those summery scents indoors by lighting any of the Candella soya candles: No.6, Lemon and IMAG1550-1-1-1Jasmine is fresh and gentle.

If you are going to a festival or an outdoor event, you can show your true colours by wearing one of Arty Smarty’s fun, vibrant and very affordable jewellery. Maybe you will have a day at the races, a wedding or family gathering? You could sport an elegant linen and silk trilby hat from Mad4Hats.

The patterned stoneware bowls by KaroArt for some nibbles on the patio or balcony are the ideal summer tableware. Coral or Sorbet?

YES, it’s May!

IMAG1502-1-1-1YES, it’s time once again to put away the winter woollies and hope that the rain stays away too to let the sunshine in for the Summer months.

YES, it’s time to wear the Summer colours: some gentle pinks, yellows and mauves. The antiqued Long Leaf or Acorn Bunch earrings from ArtySmarty’s new collection are the perfect accessory. If you prefer some vibrant shades, with some subtle details, then Katie Brown’s fine silk scarves are a delight.

YES, it’s time to paint any tired-looking furniture and give it a new lease of life with Annie Sloan decorative Chalk Paints™. Provence, Louis Blue or English Yellow will give a fresh, bright and cheerful look and transform your rooms!

YES, it’s time to fill vases with beautiful flowers and stems from the garden or florist. Sarah Mc Kenna’s new collection of vases and ceramics provide the ideal backdrop to your favourite Summer blooms.

In the making

tennis ball‘In the Making’ one of the many events organised as part of Ireland the Design Island was held in the Coach House at Dublin Castle. I managed to get to this very interesting design exhibition on its last day!

This exhibition showed the making process of many everyday objects including anything from pencil to chairs, musical instruments as well as banknotes and coins. Each unfinished piece featured at the exhibition was beautifully displayed against a black background, revealing both colour and shape and it was fun to try to imagine what the item was from the unfinished material.

marbleSeeing each item at the very start of the manufacturing process was fascinating: the abstract shapes in materials used along the way looked beautiful in their own ways. The exhibition was curated in a way that allowed you to make a mental and visual connection with the finished piece. I found it totally fascinating to see the evolution of the objects and to realise that by the time the final product is completed, it has gone through so many different stages of moulding, shaping, cutting, stitching to the point when it is finally polished, checked, tested, re-checked and branded.

The tennis ball is paused at 50% of its production; dumbbell shaped blanks are cut from the fluorescent yellow fabric by an automated stamping machine. (P.1) Glass marbles paused at 70% of their production just before the cutting of the cane and the strengthening of the  glass marbles in a very high temperature. (P.2)

ID2015

IMAG1403-1

2015 is the year of Irish Design and there are many events organized nationally and internationally to celebrate the makers and designers of Ireland. I hope to feature some of these events throughout the year. It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the many talents available and be totally inspired!

 Makers and designers are truly passionate about their art and craft and it really shows in the quality of the items they produce. The care and skill involved in creating a hand-crafted piece, together with the inspiration behind the design idea, make the whole process of creating it truly unique. The natural beauty of each piece; be it made of wood, metal, ceramic, fabric or paper, is everlasting. And of course with each designer comes a story, which means that it is connected and personal to him or her.

First stop: Showcase held in the RDS where top Irish makers and emerging designers exhibit their original hand-crafted products.  It is a great forum for meeting the makers, talking about their designs and discovering their collections and their creative journey.

All treats, no tricks!

Halloween is a very Irish feast. As the evenings get shorter, it’s all about getting spookey costumes on and enjoying the autumnal dark nights and the cracking of the burning fire logs. My own favourite thing about Halloween is taking out the recipe books to make barmbrack and other seasonal treats like pumpkin soup and oven-baked apples. A great way to celebrate the end of the summer and face the coming winter season.

IMAG1308-1-1

Plenty of other treats in Handmade Design Studio this autumn  such as woolies to keep you warm on All Saints’ night: black of course ! Hand-knitted scarves, warm and stylish hats by Mad4hats, fine merino felted wrist warmers and matching snood by Niki Collier Designs. Add a bit of drama and sparkle with some earrings or cuffs by award-winning jewellery designer Bláithín Ennis.

carrot blanketCheck out the new carrot twill handwoven blanket by Studio Donegal : its orange colour will brighten up any room and create a sense of pure comfort, guaranteed ! Gail Kelly’s signature leaf pattern printed on unbleached cotton is a striking yet simple contemporary design. It adorns the dining table as a runner and would be a lovely backdrop to your own home-cooking and edible treats !

And if you are painting the town on All Saints’ night, make sure it is in Annie Sloan chalk paint™ Graphite or Barcelona Orange !