On our recent travels around the country visiting various crafters and mischief makers, we have become increasingly aware of pockets of creativity popping up all over Ireland. No longer confined to our major towns & cities, design companies with far reaching appeal are operating from idyllic rural locations. From Strandhill in Sligo, to Connemara and it's islands down to West Cork, along the southern coast through Waterford, and up into Kilkenny and Carlow, makers and designers, aided by a little known platform called 'the internet' are growing in numbers.
One such area, is West Wicklow, Donard to be precise. Up the road from this scenic Wicklow village, is brand new furniture company Snug. Set up by locals Conor and Nell from their home in Snugboro, Snug produce affordable, beautifully made pieces of furniture. From milking stools to bedside lockers and writing desks, each piece is handcrafted in their enviable studio which looks out on the Wicklow mountains. The furniture Snug produce reflect Conor and Nell's personalities. Conor 'has a great knack for making things' whereas Nell has a colour obsession and an interest in all aspects of design. This furniture fills a very important gap in the Irish furniture/product design market, that being between cheap and cheerful flatpack to high end commission pieces. From a coat hook for €20 to a smart chest for €565, each snug piece is made with the same care and attention to detail. Since launching a little over a month ago, they are receiving high praise from customers and press alike. Feeling slightly surprised by their new found following, Nell and Conor are rather modest about their fledgling company but are taking this growth in their stride.
Having a complimentary business run by your best friends, Gavin and Linda down the road is pretty handy also. Hell's Kettle Farm prides itself on sensible food production, with an emphasis on providing their cattle and turkeys with the best possible environment in which to grow. Both business' are of a similar scale and share a similar appreciation for their craft. Therefore sharing ideas and experiences is invaluable (and sometimes you just need reassurance that what you're doing isn't mad.) This exchange and support between creatives is essential, and provides the maker/crafter/farmer/thinker with a confidence & determination to do something a little bit different in a place possibly a little off the beaten track.
Over the coming months and year's we are going to witness many more Donard's, Strandhill's and Inis Meain's popping up around the country. (Fingers crossed anyway, we can always hope)
To find out more about Snug, check out their fancy website. To get a closer look at their covetable product range, Irish Design Shop will be showacasing a selection of their pieces for the month of May in Drury street.
For more on Hell's Kettle Farm, and their seasonal offerings, check out their equally fancy pants website for details.