Sunday 20 October 2019

The Pleasure List: Sunflower days are here again

Mary Kennedy at the launch of Sunflower Day 2015. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Mary Kennedy at the launch of Sunflower Day 2015. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Waterford city is to host six months of celebrations of its glass heritage
Beautiful furniture for an  excellent cause at NCBI store
Playing With Tradition takes place in the beautiful Georgian rooms beside the State Apartments in Dublin Castle

Sunflower Days have become one of the biggest annual fundraisers for the hospice movement in Ireland, and this year they take place on June 5th and 6th, launched by Mary Kennedy, who rightly points out: "There is probably not a family in Ireland that has not been touched by the amazing work carried out by hospice services across the country. The care and support afforded to families in need, at a very difficult time, is so important."

The fundraiser celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and local hospice groups all over the country hope to raise more than €1m for the wonderful, essential services they provide. Although the event is coordinated on behalf of the hospice movement by the Irish Hospice Foundation, all of the funds raised locally, stay locally.

A recent national survey commissioned by the Foundation revealed that 75 per cent of Irish people want to die at home - however only 25 per cent will get to do so, partly due to lack of services. So this June 5th and 6th, buy some of the various pieces of Sunflower merchandise, including sunflower pins for €2 each, from collectors on the streets of cities, towns and villages across Ireland, and help make a big difference.

All that glitters is glass  in Waterford exhibitions

For the first time, Waterford city will host six months of celebrations of its glass heritage, opening with a wide-ranging exhibition of international glass design, Refract, alongside an exhibition devoted to the people involved in the city's glass story, Masters of The Glass. Refract will show 20 designers from 10 countries in the City Hall Vestibule and Mayor's Parlour. Glorious colour, humour and contemporary style are the hallmarks here, in a display that bursts with energy, sophisticated chic, and quality. Each piece has been shown in Milan, Paris and London Design weeks and furniture fairs, and all are highly covetable. Meanwhile, Masters of the Glass, in the Waterford Treasures Museum includes old items gathered from the attics and cupboards of local people, along with accounts of making, acquiring and inheriting. Inspired by the celebrations of ID2015, Waterford City has rightly grabbed the chance to claim ownership of The Glass.

Beautiful furniture for an  excellent cause at NCBI store

Given the never-ending craze for all things interiors-related -TV shows, designer tie-ins, boutiques - as well as a continuing interest in bargain, vintage and restored pieces, this must be the perfect time for NCBI (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) to open its very first home store, on Francis Street, offering high-quality donated furniture and beautiful upcycled pieces that have been restored by the craftsmen at The Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun. NCBI provides practical and emotional support, rehabilitation services and other training to help people with sight loss to live independently, while the Rediscovery Centre offers training opportunities for the unemployed. The combination of both working together creates a dual social purpose. Stock changes constantly, but in-store at the time of writing were lovely pieces such as a Davenport writing desk, classic Queen Anne armchair, an Arabesque cabinet and a variety of mahogany and oak sideboards and tables, making this the perfect destination for those seeking quality, one-off pieces.

Traditions old made new

Playing with Tradition is an exciting exhibition curated by designer Nuala Goodman and Mary Heffernan of the OPW, of furniture, sculptural objects, tableware, clothing and accessories. Presented by The Office of Public Works, Playing With Tradition takes place in the beautiful Georgian rooms beside the State Apartments in Dublin Castle, and runs from June 5th to September 6th. Each piece in the exhibition has its roots in traditional design and high quality craftmanship, but all come with a unique twist which makes them contemporary. The artists involved are a mixture of Irish and international designers, including the wonderful Philip Treacy, Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce, Zelouf and Bell, whose painted screen is a delicate representation of winter, and Marianna Kennedy, who has created a gorgeous green Cawdor lamp in resin, pictured. Alongside the exhibition - and just as exciting - a temporary shop will feature the work of each designer for sale.

Sunday Independent

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