Studio Harris, located in Kerry, produce timeless furniture and homewares which combine traditional craftsmanship with a clean and modern aesthetic. Established by Tricia Harris who is a graduate of renowned furniture college Letterfrack, the philosophy of the studio is to create beautiful, considered pieces, designed to be loved and used, that are made well and will last.
Most recently, the studio has released a collection of stools that are inspired by traditional Irish country furniture. The Dwellers and Fireside stools are beautifully crafted in Irish hardwood and are made to last a lifetime. lifetime. Working with Galway based furniture maker Daniel Gill, the stools are handcrafted using traditional chair making techniques, creating a pared-back, honest design, with a modern feel. Shop the collection here.
We recently asked Tricia Harris a few questions, to give us more insight into her creative process and new life in Kerry....
-You recently swapped city life in Dublin to relocate your studio to Kerry, what have been
the pros and cons of this move?
Space has been a major benefit of the move, both in terms of the outdoor natural
environment and the perks of country living, but also headspace and time. I do find that I have been able to concentrate and focus way more here. I love my studio at home. It is a large light-filled space, with a view looking out on the Killarney lakes and mountains. There is a real joy that comes from being able to work in a happy positive space. The other pros are enjoying my coffee breaks outside, and popping out to the polytunnel for some homegrown produce for my lunch!
Coming from living in Stoneybatter and working in the Chocolate Factory, a shared studio building in the heart of Dublin city, I do miss the buzz of city life and the regular interactions with everyone. I am looking forward to when I can make a trip back up again.
-What is your favourite material to work with?
Well, that would definitely be wood. I love the natural warmth of wood as a material to work with and to have in a space. There is a longevity to wood and it can age with character and carry a story. It also combines really well with other materials.
-Do you have favourite designers? If so, who? What inspires you most?
I have always been inspired by well-designed production-led furniture, from designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Thonet, Hans Wegner, Eileen Gray. Designers who pushed boundaries but whose furniture was user-centred. In terms of inspiration, I love the culture of Japanese making, and the beauty and simplicity of Scandinavian design.
-What do you see as your biggest challenge as a contemporary furniture designer in Ireland?
We have a wealth of highly skilled craftspeople in Ireland and there is a desire from customers to buy Irish and choose Irish made work over imported mass-produced products. But the challenge is achieving costs that are affordable, as making furniture in small numbers is always going to be expensive. The solution is to be able to increase quantities and make Irish made furniture a viable option for more people.
-How do you switch off? Does it come easy to you?
I actually do find it a lot easier now to switch off, than I used to. I stick to regular office hours and keep set break times and make sure I give myself downtime in the evenings and weekends. Giving yourself time off, means you come back rejuvenated and you are more productive in the long run than working continuously. I am also consciously spending less time looking at a screen or scrolling through social media, and making more time for reading a good book instead or getting out and enjoying some fresh air.
-Do you get a special discount in Breac House (hahaha!)
Oh, how I wish I did! I have been lucky to have stayed there on a couple of occasions. It really is an amazing place. It is always on my list of places to stay! And if you are looking for somewhere to go and switch off and rejuvenate, there is certainly the place. Catherine and Niall have been wonderful supporters and advocates for Irish design and championing Irish produced goods.