Stories


Irish maker story

Stories


Irish maker story

Daniel Woodsmith

Daniel Woodsmith

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Irish Ceramics, Irish Craft, Irish maker story, maker story

Tell us a little bit about what you make:

I make a variety of tableware using both stoneware clay and more recently, local clay from the Dublin mountains. Each piece is hand thrown in my studio in Shankill and glazed using a variety of bought glazes and again, more recently, my own glaze recipes. The glaze tones I generally use are quite earthy and minimal.

Could you describe your studio to us? What is your favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

My studio is an 8foot by 8foot lean-to shed in my garden which I bought last Summer. I built the internal worktops etc. myself. This was an upgrade from the ……shed I was squeezing into prior to that. My favourite thing about the space is the light, I added an extra window just before the Summer of this year and having the brightness and view of the sky as I sit at my wheel helps my creativity. To get into the mindset of making I think that the music I listen to really helps me to focus, listening to music while staring at a spinning wheel is hypnotic and really pulls me into my craft. The ever-growing number of shelves which I have built in my studio gives me that added burst of motivation to fill them with new creations.

What is your favourite tool and why?

When I started pottery last April I made all of my tools from items around my house, and since I have progressed further, some of these tools have been upgraded to bought pottery tools created for the craft, however my favourite tool to use is still an old kitchen steak knife which, having tried and tested many other tools at this stage, never fails and just feels right in my hand.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your local clay bowls?

I dug the local clay from the Dublin mountains, about 20 minutes’ drive from where I live in Shankill. It’s quite a labour-intensive process which includes breaking it down, sieving it several times, washing it twice, drying it, and finally wedging it (kneading it), from there it can finally be thrown, dried, trimmed, bisque’d in the kiln for 19 hours, waxed, glazed, and fired again for 19 hours!

The inspiration behind my clay bowls was to firstly keep it local, to have handmade Irish ceramics made from hand-dug Irish clay! I think that these products are really beautiful in that they let the natural surface speak for themselves, the minerals in the clay also cause a change in the glazes used as the natural compounds  seep into the glazes which is something I find really exciting!

What led you to choose this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it? What do you dislike?

I’ve been making ceramics for little over a year now. I was a chef for 12 years and I have always had an interest and passion for ceramics, after returning from traveling for 2 years around South America and Australia I decided to buy some clay one day and have a go, from there I decided I liked it and to take a break from cooking professionally and focus on making pottery and it all has kicked off since then.  

What I love most about what I do is that I’m making something that can last forever, we all have a favourite mug or a something that reminds us of a time or a person who gave it to us, I like the idea that something I make could be passed down and looked after “remember when we got those mugs in Ireland”, I think that’s kind of special.

What I dislike about this craft, at the moment, is that I’m used to working as part of a team and at the moment I spend a lot of time by myself, which is not necessarily a bad thing but it’s quite different for me, I could see myself possibly working in a collective studio of some variety in the future.

-Images by Alex Louviers

You can purchase a selection of Daniel's work here. 



 

Daniel Woodsmith

Daniel Woodsmith

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Irish Ceramics, Irish Craft, Irish maker story, maker story

Tell us a little bit about what you make:

I make a variety of tableware using both stoneware clay and more recently, local clay from the Dublin mountains. Each piece is hand thrown in my studio in Shankill and glazed using a variety of bought glazes and again, more recently, my own glaze recipes. The glaze tones I generally use are quite earthy and minimal.

Could you describe your studio to us? What is your favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

My studio is an 8foot by 8foot lean-to shed in my garden which I bought last Summer. I built the internal worktops etc. myself. This was an upgrade from the ……shed I was squeezing into prior to that. My favourite thing about the space is the light, I added an extra window just before the Summer of this year and having the brightness and view of the sky as I sit at my wheel helps my creativity. To get into the mindset of making I think that the music I listen to really helps me to focus, listening to music while staring at a spinning wheel is hypnotic and really pulls me into my craft. The ever-growing number of shelves which I have built in my studio gives me that added burst of motivation to fill them with new creations.

What is your favourite tool and why?

When I started pottery last April I made all of my tools from items around my house, and since I have progressed further, some of these tools have been upgraded to bought pottery tools created for the craft, however my favourite tool to use is still an old kitchen steak knife which, having tried and tested many other tools at this stage, never fails and just feels right in my hand.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your local clay bowls?

I dug the local clay from the Dublin mountains, about 20 minutes’ drive from where I live in Shankill. It’s quite a labour-intensive process which includes breaking it down, sieving it several times, washing it twice, drying it, and finally wedging it (kneading it), from there it can finally be thrown, dried, trimmed, bisque’d in the kiln for 19 hours, waxed, glazed, and fired again for 19 hours!

The inspiration behind my clay bowls was to firstly keep it local, to have handmade Irish ceramics made from hand-dug Irish clay! I think that these products are really beautiful in that they let the natural surface speak for themselves, the minerals in the clay also cause a change in the glazes used as the natural compounds  seep into the glazes which is something I find really exciting!

What led you to choose this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it? What do you dislike?

I’ve been making ceramics for little over a year now. I was a chef for 12 years and I have always had an interest and passion for ceramics, after returning from traveling for 2 years around South America and Australia I decided to buy some clay one day and have a go, from there I decided I liked it and to take a break from cooking professionally and focus on making pottery and it all has kicked off since then.  

What I love most about what I do is that I’m making something that can last forever, we all have a favourite mug or a something that reminds us of a time or a person who gave it to us, I like the idea that something I make could be passed down and looked after “remember when we got those mugs in Ireland”, I think that’s kind of special.

What I dislike about this craft, at the moment, is that I’m used to working as part of a team and at the moment I spend a lot of time by myself, which is not necessarily a bad thing but it’s quite different for me, I could see myself possibly working in a collective studio of some variety in the future.

-Images by Alex Louviers

You can purchase a selection of Daniel's work here. 



 

Edel Grace - Tweed Soft Toys

Edel Grace - Tweed Soft Toys

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: handmade bear, irish craft, Irish maker story

What do you make?                                                                                                                  

I make teddy bears. All of my bears (and hares!) are handmade using Irish tweed sourced from Hanly’s Mill in Tipperary. 

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mind set of making?
My studio, named Teddy HQ is a wooden cabin on our small holding in North Tipperary. We live in a beautiful place called Grousehall on the edge of the Slieve Felim Mountains. Teddy HQ is a wonderfully peaceful place and is its own little world. Once inside I seem to forget the rest of the world exists and the hours fly by. I listen to audiobooks when I am at the sewing machine. 

What is your favourite tool or process and why?
My favourite part of the process is finishing the faces. It is such fun to see how each one turns out as they are all subtly different from each other. This is the last thing I do, so when I make a batch of bears, I might do 20 faces in a row and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction to see them all come to life.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your bears?
The making process begins with cutting out the bears. I am so lucky to live near Hanly’s Mill and to have such a quality fabric to work with. They also offer a great array of colours, so I am spoilt for choice. Next is machine sewing the pieces, then each piece is turned and the bear is jointed. Each bear is then hand stuffed, this is the most time-consuming part. The eyes are then added and the head is stuffed. Then I have to hand sew shut all the stuffing holes. Next, the ears go on and finally I embroider the nose and mouth.
The inspiration behind the teddy bears was born from a desire to make something; I always wanted to create things but didn’t have any training. The inspiration behind the bears was my mother. I set out to recreate a bear for her to replace her childhood one that had been lost. It turned out so well and I enjoyed making it so much that I knew I found what I wanted to do.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?
Once I started making the bears it just seemed like I had finally found the perfect job. It is very important to me that I can offer an affordable, handmade Irish gift option to people. The thing I love most about this job is the happiness it brings to other people. The bears make people happy and it delights me to be able to do that.

You can purchase Edel's beautiful handmade Bears and Hares both online and from our Drury street location. 

 

 

Edel Grace - Tweed Soft Toys

Edel Grace - Tweed Soft Toys

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: handmade bear, irish craft, Irish maker story

What do you make?                                                                                                                  

I make teddy bears. All of my bears (and hares!) are handmade using Irish tweed sourced from Hanly’s Mill in Tipperary. 

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mind set of making?
My studio, named Teddy HQ is a wooden cabin on our small holding in North Tipperary. We live in a beautiful place called Grousehall on the edge of the Slieve Felim Mountains. Teddy HQ is a wonderfully peaceful place and is its own little world. Once inside I seem to forget the rest of the world exists and the hours fly by. I listen to audiobooks when I am at the sewing machine. 

What is your favourite tool or process and why?
My favourite part of the process is finishing the faces. It is such fun to see how each one turns out as they are all subtly different from each other. This is the last thing I do, so when I make a batch of bears, I might do 20 faces in a row and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction to see them all come to life.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your bears?
The making process begins with cutting out the bears. I am so lucky to live near Hanly’s Mill and to have such a quality fabric to work with. They also offer a great array of colours, so I am spoilt for choice. Next is machine sewing the pieces, then each piece is turned and the bear is jointed. Each bear is then hand stuffed, this is the most time-consuming part. The eyes are then added and the head is stuffed. Then I have to hand sew shut all the stuffing holes. Next, the ears go on and finally I embroider the nose and mouth.
The inspiration behind the teddy bears was born from a desire to make something; I always wanted to create things but didn’t have any training. The inspiration behind the bears was my mother. I set out to recreate a bear for her to replace her childhood one that had been lost. It turned out so well and I enjoyed making it so much that I knew I found what I wanted to do.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?
Once I started making the bears it just seemed like I had finally found the perfect job. It is very important to me that I can offer an affordable, handmade Irish gift option to people. The thing I love most about this job is the happiness it brings to other people. The bears make people happy and it delights me to be able to do that.

You can purchase Edel's beautiful handmade Bears and Hares both online and from our Drury street location. 

 

 

The Bearded Candlemakers

The Bearded Candlemakers

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: candlemaking, Irish craft, Irish maker story, The bearded candlemakers

We recently asked Michael Morris of The Bearded Candlemakers a few questions about his craft, making process and inspiration: 

What do you make?

I make small batch, hand poured soy candles.  Along with the making process, I also blend each of our scents using our own self-made scent profiling techniques.  We even go so far as to smoke the wax we use for our Turf Fire candle with real turf.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making? 

The studio is built behind my home, right by the Irish Sea and with the Mourne Mountains in the distance.  We used only forestry approved timber and lots of reclaimed wood.  All of which has been soaking up all the scents of our candles and as soon as you step in, that smell envelops you and that is definitely my favourite thing about the space.  Depending on the day there are different tasks. e.g one day could be a pouring day, the next a scent blending day or a packaging day.  Each task has its own sound track (generally a movie sound track) and that's how I get into my work mode.

What is your favourite tool or process and why?

I really love pouring days. They start off with the melter getting switched on and getting filled with wax. As it heats up, all the scents trapped in the wood of the studio begin to release. All the tasks involved are quite methodical, which I love, but it's the smells of each batch as I pour that really makes me happy. Especially because each scent has a personal connection for me.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your turf fire candle and Irish collection? 

To start, I will get the melter on and begin to melt the wax. As it melts I will stick down the wicks into the containers.  Then when the wax is at the perfect temperature, I begin to mix in the oils that I have previously blended and begin to pour...

The inspiration behind the Irish Collection was born from a desire to offer something to the Irish candle market, something that hasn't been seen before, rather than going down the route of Irish Linen or Irish.....something, I wanted to create a range of scents inspired by real places in Ireland that I have a personal connection with. I wanted to do these amazing places justice.  The turf fire candle was on the top of my list, there is nothing else like it on earth and as soon as we smell it, we are reminded of home and comfort.  It took months of work to perfect but it was such a rewarding project to work on.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it? 

The scent blending part of my craft is what continually inspires me, as it is ever changing and I am always learning. Even as a child, I was writing about scent and the stories around it! The thing I love most about it is choice! It sounds rather abstract but by following my passion and working harder than I ever have has allowed me to choose how to spend my time and being able to have that type of choice is awesome.

 Click here to shop The Bearded Candle Makers wonderfully unique smelling candles. 

 

 

 

The Bearded Candlemakers

The Bearded Candlemakers

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: candlemaking, Irish craft, Irish maker story, The bearded candlemakers

We recently asked Michael Morris of The Bearded Candlemakers a few questions about his craft, making process and inspiration: 

What do you make?

I make small batch, hand poured soy candles.  Along with the making process, I also blend each of our scents using our own self-made scent profiling techniques.  We even go so far as to smoke the wax we use for our Turf Fire candle with real turf.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making? 

The studio is built behind my home, right by the Irish Sea and with the Mourne Mountains in the distance.  We used only forestry approved timber and lots of reclaimed wood.  All of which has been soaking up all the scents of our candles and as soon as you step in, that smell envelops you and that is definitely my favourite thing about the space.  Depending on the day there are different tasks. e.g one day could be a pouring day, the next a scent blending day or a packaging day.  Each task has its own sound track (generally a movie sound track) and that's how I get into my work mode.

What is your favourite tool or process and why?

I really love pouring days. They start off with the melter getting switched on and getting filled with wax. As it heats up, all the scents trapped in the wood of the studio begin to release. All the tasks involved are quite methodical, which I love, but it's the smells of each batch as I pour that really makes me happy. Especially because each scent has a personal connection for me.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your turf fire candle and Irish collection? 

To start, I will get the melter on and begin to melt the wax. As it melts I will stick down the wicks into the containers.  Then when the wax is at the perfect temperature, I begin to mix in the oils that I have previously blended and begin to pour...

The inspiration behind the Irish Collection was born from a desire to offer something to the Irish candle market, something that hasn't been seen before, rather than going down the route of Irish Linen or Irish.....something, I wanted to create a range of scents inspired by real places in Ireland that I have a personal connection with. I wanted to do these amazing places justice.  The turf fire candle was on the top of my list, there is nothing else like it on earth and as soon as we smell it, we are reminded of home and comfort.  It took months of work to perfect but it was such a rewarding project to work on.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it? 

The scent blending part of my craft is what continually inspires me, as it is ever changing and I am always learning. Even as a child, I was writing about scent and the stories around it! The thing I love most about it is choice! It sounds rather abstract but by following my passion and working harder than I ever have has allowed me to choose how to spend my time and being able to have that type of choice is awesome.

 Click here to shop The Bearded Candle Makers wonderfully unique smelling candles.