Monday 23 July 2018

All I want for Christmas...

Meander medium candlestick holders, €120 From Superfolk’s Meander exhibition at London Design Festival, the candlestick holders emulate the smooth flow of a river; makersandbrothers.com
Meander medium candlestick holders, €120 From Superfolk’s Meander exhibition at London Design Festival, the candlestick holders emulate the smooth flow of a river; makersandbrothers.com
Oak Chair, €1,200 Alan Meredith’s awardwinning pieces combine sculpture and functional furniture; alanmeredith.ie
Grizzle Bear and Polar Bear Clocks, €50 These cute handmade clocks embrace Irish wood and are made by Sam Agus Nessa, the design duo based in Kildare; designist.ie
Blue tea set by Markus Jungmann, €150 Time for tea, with Markus Jungmann’s ceramic set, also at Touchstone; mjungmann.com
‘Vortex’ by Grainne Watts, €400 each Bowled over? Porcelain and stoneware vessels by Grainne Watts at Touchstone exhibition; grainnewattsceramics.com

Anna Shelswell-white

'Vortex' by Grainne Watts, €400 each Bowled over? Porcelain and stoneware vessels by Grainne Watts at Touchstone exhibition; grainnewattsceramics.com

Grizzle Bear and Polar Bear Clocks, €50 These cute handmade clocks embrace Irish wood and are made by Sam Agus Nessa, the design duo based in Kildare; designist.ie

Meander medium candlestick holders, €120 From Superfolk's Meander exhibition at London Design Festival, the candlestick holders emulate the smooth flow of a river; makersandbrothers.com

'Vortex' by Grainne Watts, €400 each

Bowled over? Porcelain and stoneware vessels by Grainne Watts at Touchstone exhibition; grainnewattsceramics.com

This Christmas, I've promised myself that for my loved ones I'll invest in products that are designed to last. With the wealth of talent we have in Ireland, Irish designers, who embrace craft along with sustainable, long-lasting design, are going to be the first people I turn to.

If you're on the same page as me, you won't want to miss the Gifted Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, formerly the National Crafts and Design Fair, at the RDS from December 5. It really is a celebration with over 600 Irish designers and makers who work in disciplines across the board from fashion and jewellery to unique craft and homeware.

Among them is Alan Meredith, winner of the Design Council of Ireland's Future Maker of the Year 2017 award, who creates functional yet sculptural chairs, tables and occasional furniture. Although his work may not fall into the Christmas stocking price range, he is certainly a designer to note. So to are along with ceramicist Ruth Power of Danu Ceramics, and design duo Sam Agus Nessa, are some of the long list of Irish designers making their way to the RDS, ensuring you'll be ticking things off your shopping list in no time.

Outside Dublin, Touchstone, an exhibition by Ceramics Ireland, launched just last week, and runs until January 21 at the National Design & Craft Gallery in Kilkenny. Featuring 36 Irish ceramic artists, the exhibits range from functional pieces for the home to more sculptural works showcasing unique forms. Just some that may catch your eye, particularly if you love homewares, are the ceramics by Kerry-based Markus Jungmann. He creates handmade porcelain tableware, each piece a work of art. Grainne Watts is also an artist to have on your radar - her piece Vortex took home the RDS Established Maker Award of Excellence & California Gold Medal at this year's RDS Craft Awards.

Those who may not make it to Kilkenny or Dublin in the lead up to Christmas can check out Designireland.ie. Highlighting the best in Irish craft, it has had huge success in making Irish design accessible for people across the country.

"Consumers, today, are seeking products that are a bit more special and have a story to them," says Brian McGee of Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

It has been a busy year for Irish craft and that shows no sign of slowing down. It's a no-brainer - well-considered gift-giving that supports local designers and makers has never been so appealing.

Anna Shelswell-White is editor of House and Home magazine

Sunday Independent

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