Stories


Makers

Stories


Makers

Matt Jones -  Woodturner

Matt Jones - Woodturner

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: Makers, sligo, Wood turning

We came across Matt Jone's work a few years back and were immediately drawn to the objects he was making, the incredible craftsmanship, and obvious love and respect for the material.

He began making the twig pots we sell out of off-cuts from larger pieces, but they proved so popular he had to start ordering timber in specifically for them. Recently he began making salt and pepper grinders with ceramic mechanisms, and is always producing incredible large bowls and vessels, often recording the progress of a piece on facebook

He now makes beautiful wall hooks exclusively available at the Irish Design Shop, click here to shop or just have a look.

We caught up with Matt on our visit to Sligo last year and asked him a few questions......

If you could tell me a little about your journey from growing up in Wales to ending up in rural Sligo turning wood? 

I grew up in Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, which is a coastal region in South West Wales. All my early memories are associated with the beach and the sea. By my teens I was certain of a career as an artist and drew constantly. I studied Painting at Chelsea and after I graduated I combined work with my art practice and playing music. Eventually I started earning money as a musician and it became impossible to make art and I wasn't enjoying it by that stage anyway. The London contemporary art scene robbed me of the simple pleasure of making things. I met Imelda in college (she was PA to the Dean) and our first child arrived before I graduated! Imelda grew up in Sligo although she was born in Dublin. By 2000 we had bought a house in Carmarthen in Wales. I was travelling a lot but was also spending long periods at home.


I wanted to get back into making and I had a feeling that craft would be a better fit for me that fine art. I think there's less bullshit. You cant convince someone that your a good craftsperson, the work speaks for itself. I attended an evening class in woodturning after borrowing the Tony Boase book on woodturning from the library. The book featured the best bowl turners from Europe and included Liam Flynn, David Comerford and Ciaran Forbes all Irish Masters. The band I was playing in imploded in 2004 and Imelda and I were ready for another change. Imeldas mother gifted an old ruin to us which I renovated. We moved in in 2008. I built my workshop soon after and started turning again.

Wales also has a very strong craft heritage, are there any Welsh craft workers you admire? 

Theres a turner in Wales called Paul Clare whom I admire and Louise Hibbert is probably the best known Welsh turner. I absolutely love the work of Anthony Bryant a woodturner from Cornwall ( a celtic nation too) I'm going to visit him in April to pick his brains.

We have found some people have a negative view of the word "craft" and would rather use terms like "applied arts" - your thoughts?

I don't see any negative associations with the word craft. Some people get very perplexed about the label that is applied to them, I don't understand why.

Do you feel that your musical background influences your work in any way?

Music still pays an important part in my life. There are similarities. Both rely on very sensitive hand eye coordination, rhythm and a sort of detachment of the mind which is very peaceful.

Matt Jones -  Woodturner

Matt Jones - Woodturner

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: Makers, sligo, Wood turning

We came across Matt Jone's work a few years back and were immediately drawn to the objects he was making, the incredible craftsmanship, and obvious love and respect for the material.

He began making the twig pots we sell out of off-cuts from larger pieces, but they proved so popular he had to start ordering timber in specifically for them. Recently he began making salt and pepper grinders with ceramic mechanisms, and is always producing incredible large bowls and vessels, often recording the progress of a piece on facebook

He now makes beautiful wall hooks exclusively available at the Irish Design Shop, click here to shop or just have a look.

We caught up with Matt on our visit to Sligo last year and asked him a few questions......

If you could tell me a little about your journey from growing up in Wales to ending up in rural Sligo turning wood? 

I grew up in Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, which is a coastal region in South West Wales. All my early memories are associated with the beach and the sea. By my teens I was certain of a career as an artist and drew constantly. I studied Painting at Chelsea and after I graduated I combined work with my art practice and playing music. Eventually I started earning money as a musician and it became impossible to make art and I wasn't enjoying it by that stage anyway. The London contemporary art scene robbed me of the simple pleasure of making things. I met Imelda in college (she was PA to the Dean) and our first child arrived before I graduated! Imelda grew up in Sligo although she was born in Dublin. By 2000 we had bought a house in Carmarthen in Wales. I was travelling a lot but was also spending long periods at home.


I wanted to get back into making and I had a feeling that craft would be a better fit for me that fine art. I think there's less bullshit. You cant convince someone that your a good craftsperson, the work speaks for itself. I attended an evening class in woodturning after borrowing the Tony Boase book on woodturning from the library. The book featured the best bowl turners from Europe and included Liam Flynn, David Comerford and Ciaran Forbes all Irish Masters. The band I was playing in imploded in 2004 and Imelda and I were ready for another change. Imeldas mother gifted an old ruin to us which I renovated. We moved in in 2008. I built my workshop soon after and started turning again.

Wales also has a very strong craft heritage, are there any Welsh craft workers you admire? 

Theres a turner in Wales called Paul Clare whom I admire and Louise Hibbert is probably the best known Welsh turner. I absolutely love the work of Anthony Bryant a woodturner from Cornwall ( a celtic nation too) I'm going to visit him in April to pick his brains.

We have found some people have a negative view of the word "craft" and would rather use terms like "applied arts" - your thoughts?

I don't see any negative associations with the word craft. Some people get very perplexed about the label that is applied to them, I don't understand why.

Do you feel that your musical background influences your work in any way?

Music still pays an important part in my life. There are similarities. Both rely on very sensitive hand eye coordination, rhythm and a sort of detachment of the mind which is very peaceful.

Snug as a bug

Snug as a bug

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Irish food producers, Irish Furniture design, Makers, Wicklow craft

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.

 

 

 

Snug as a bug

Snug as a bug

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Irish food producers, Irish Furniture design, Makers, Wicklow craft

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.

 

 

 

Saturday Workshop

Saturday Workshop

  Posted by Anne-Marie Neligan in: Makers, Saturday Workshop

Iseult O’ Clery and her father Edward run Saturday Workshop from a shed in their garden in Sandymount. The pair make beautifully simplistic childlike objects that are modern and functional. Each piece is precisely cut by their CNC router and then hand finished. I recently caught up with Iseult and Edward to find out more about life at Saturday Workshop.  

Tell us a little bit about both of your design backgrounds?

Iseult I am an architect, I studied in UCD and currently work in Dublin. I have always been making and designing things ever since I can remember, Saturday Workshop is a great outlet to do this on a smaller scale than Architecture. Its amazing that you can draw something in the morning and have fully finished product by the end of the day!

Edward I am a structural engineer. I studied architecture in UCD for a few years, then emigrated to Australia. After my return to Ireland, I worked with various engineering firms and then studied engineering at Edinburgh University.

What sparked the idea to set up Saturday Workshop?

Iseult I was on a team of designers curating the Irish Pavillion at the International World Design Capital Exhibition in Helsinki in 2012. One of the objects we brought over was a chair (designed by James McBennet) which was CNC cut. When I went to get it made with a company in Delgany I couldn't fit the plywood in my car so Dad drove instead. He was amazed by the technology and we started talking about getting our own machine...

Edward I have always made stuff. Making model boats, when I was young. Later, making real boats & furniture. The visit to Delgany with Iseult was a revelation. Seeing timber being cut so precisely, opened new possibilities.

Working with family isn't for everyone, how are ye finding it?

Edward We have different interests. Iseult likes to design. I like to make things.  It works out fine.

You mention on your website that you use a mix of old and new techniques, can you explain the process in some more detail?

Iseult We have a CNC machine which is essentially a computer controlled router. This means we draw CAD files and the machine cuts them very precisely. Having the machinery means that we can do a lot more without having access to a full workshop. All of the finishing is done by hand though. The things we make are inspired by the simplicity of traditional objects and toys that have disappeared a bit in modern society.

Edward I made models with balsa wood, boats with timber, canvas, and plywood – and also furniture. We are now doing the same thing. However, we can now make prototypes quickly, and continue into production.

You do commission work also, what sort of things have you been asked to do so far?

Iseult We have done quite a few wooden signs, a teepee pavillion for electric picnic, and most recently some objects for the wedding of Kate O'Dowd (BASH magazine editor). Its great to have different projects on the go and we are really open to doing collaborations.

What plans do Saturday Workshop have for the future?

Iseult We would like to do a lot more in Irish hardwoods, like our Beech Eggcups, its great to know that our materials are all sustainably sourced in Ireland. We are currently developing a few ideas for wooden toys, and looking forward to future collaborations.

Edward We both like to experiment with wood. There are endless possibilities. I saw a traditional Galway Hooker boat on exhibition in the new museum in Galway. Detailed construction plans are available. Maybe, a model or full-size one, could appear.

We have a selection of pieces from Saturday Workshop both in store and from our website

Follow Saturday Workshop on twitter. Or shop their Irish Design Shop collection HERE

Saturday Workshop

Saturday Workshop

  Posted by Anne-Marie Neligan in: Makers, Saturday Workshop

Iseult O’ Clery and her father Edward run Saturday Workshop from a shed in their garden in Sandymount. The pair make beautifully simplistic childlike objects that are modern and functional. Each piece is precisely cut by their CNC router and then hand finished. I recently caught up with Iseult and Edward to find out more about life at Saturday Workshop.  

Tell us a little bit about both of your design backgrounds?

Iseult I am an architect, I studied in UCD and currently work in Dublin. I have always been making and designing things ever since I can remember, Saturday Workshop is a great outlet to do this on a smaller scale than Architecture. Its amazing that you can draw something in the morning and have fully finished product by the end of the day!

Edward I am a structural engineer. I studied architecture in UCD for a few years, then emigrated to Australia. After my return to Ireland, I worked with various engineering firms and then studied engineering at Edinburgh University.

What sparked the idea to set up Saturday Workshop?

Iseult I was on a team of designers curating the Irish Pavillion at the International World Design Capital Exhibition in Helsinki in 2012. One of the objects we brought over was a chair (designed by James McBennet) which was CNC cut. When I went to get it made with a company in Delgany I couldn't fit the plywood in my car so Dad drove instead. He was amazed by the technology and we started talking about getting our own machine...

Edward I have always made stuff. Making model boats, when I was young. Later, making real boats & furniture. The visit to Delgany with Iseult was a revelation. Seeing timber being cut so precisely, opened new possibilities.

Working with family isn't for everyone, how are ye finding it?

Edward We have different interests. Iseult likes to design. I like to make things.  It works out fine.

You mention on your website that you use a mix of old and new techniques, can you explain the process in some more detail?

Iseult We have a CNC machine which is essentially a computer controlled router. This means we draw CAD files and the machine cuts them very precisely. Having the machinery means that we can do a lot more without having access to a full workshop. All of the finishing is done by hand though. The things we make are inspired by the simplicity of traditional objects and toys that have disappeared a bit in modern society.

Edward I made models with balsa wood, boats with timber, canvas, and plywood – and also furniture. We are now doing the same thing. However, we can now make prototypes quickly, and continue into production.

You do commission work also, what sort of things have you been asked to do so far?

Iseult We have done quite a few wooden signs, a teepee pavillion for electric picnic, and most recently some objects for the wedding of Kate O'Dowd (BASH magazine editor). Its great to have different projects on the go and we are really open to doing collaborations.

What plans do Saturday Workshop have for the future?

Iseult We would like to do a lot more in Irish hardwoods, like our Beech Eggcups, its great to know that our materials are all sustainably sourced in Ireland. We are currently developing a few ideas for wooden toys, and looking forward to future collaborations.

Edward We both like to experiment with wood. There are endless possibilities. I saw a traditional Galway Hooker boat on exhibition in the new museum in Galway. Detailed construction plans are available. Maybe, a model or full-size one, could appear.

We have a selection of pieces from Saturday Workshop both in store and from our website

Follow Saturday Workshop on twitter. Or shop their Irish Design Shop collection HERE

A trip West

A trip West

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: food, ireland, Makers, sligo

Back in August 2013 team Irish Design Shop decided to head west for a bit of an adventure. After a quick trip to Westport to try out the infamous Greenway route on our bikes, we headed north to Co. Sligo.

It was in Strandhill where we set down to visit the lovely folk at Shell’s café. Facing the amazing beach, which is the perfect haven for surfing enthusiasts, Shells not only serves up the most delicious food all day long, but also houses a small gift shop selling everything from homemade brown bread to hand-made jewellery and homewares.

Jane and Myles opened Shells back in March 2010 having travelled the world to find the ideal spot to settle down, with the goal to create a special place for people to come and eat simple hearty food after a long day on the waves. On arrival to Strandhill you may also pass their beautiful home which is an extended old cottage, with concrete floor and countertops, the kitchen is really at the centre of this small but perfectly formed home. We were lucky enough to be invited to a small barbeque with a wonderfully diverse guest list. It was there that we met the owners of Voya Seaweed baths.



The highlight of the trip was a hike up Knocknarea mountain to see the burial mound of the legendary Queen Maeve. For those of you who don’t know the the story behind this celtic queen allow me to give you a brief outline:

There is the mythological Queen Maeve and a real counterpart whose stories appear to overlap. The real-life Meave was a very ambitious woman, born in Rathcroghan Co. Roscommon, daughter of the King of Connacht. When her father died and her sister Clothra was named Queen she murder her pregnant sister in order to take the throne by force. Maeve married several times, most famously to Conor, King of Ulster, and apparently lived to 120 when she was eventually murdered by her sister’s son. Her legend was used to inspire warriors through the ages, when women were allowed to partake in battles.

When we visited the cairn up on Knocknarea a creepy dense mist came in from the sea (the ghost of Queen Maeve perhaps?!)



The final morning of our trip we paid a visit to the aforementioned Voya seaweed baths to rid our bodies of all of the alcohol related toxins we had forced upon ourselves. Not knowing what to expect from it at all, I was totally amazed, and really can't recommend it enough!

On the route home we dropped in to visit Elizabeth who makes the amazing “Salt of the Earth” plywood jewellery we sell in store. She is currently “minding” in her (architect) uncle’s incredible home just outside Strandhill, with the most amazing views of the beach. You couldnt choose a more inspiring spot to create from.

One more stop before the long journey back to Dublin. We called in to Matt Jones, woodturner in the sleepy village of Riverstown, to have a nose around and pick up an order of twig pots. Matt has his home and workshop just behind the local parish hall. The workshop is kitted out with a variety of wood-turning lathes and chisels that we spent the afternoon coveting. Here he creates the most incredible hand turned bowls and vessels.


Our highlights and tips for a trip West:

  •  A cycle along the Greenway (we went from Mulranny to Achill)
  •  A hike up Knocknarea to see Queen Maeve’s tomb.
  •  Visit Dolly’s cottage (a 200 yr old preserved thatched cottage)
  •  Dinner or Brunch in Shell’s café (we tried both).
  •  Take a seaweed bath at Voya 
  •  Surfing in Strandhill of course!
A trip West

A trip West

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: food, ireland, Makers, sligo

Back in August 2013 team Irish Design Shop decided to head west for a bit of an adventure. After a quick trip to Westport to try out the infamous Greenway route on our bikes, we headed north to Co. Sligo.

It was in Strandhill where we set down to visit the lovely folk at Shell’s café. Facing the amazing beach, which is the perfect haven for surfing enthusiasts, Shells not only serves up the most delicious food all day long, but also houses a small gift shop selling everything from homemade brown bread to hand-made jewellery and homewares.

Jane and Myles opened Shells back in March 2010 having travelled the world to find the ideal spot to settle down, with the goal to create a special place for people to come and eat simple hearty food after a long day on the waves. On arrival to Strandhill you may also pass their beautiful home which is an extended old cottage, with concrete floor and countertops, the kitchen is really at the centre of this small but perfectly formed home. We were lucky enough to be invited to a small barbeque with a wonderfully diverse guest list. It was there that we met the owners of Voya Seaweed baths.



The highlight of the trip was a hike up Knocknarea mountain to see the burial mound of the legendary Queen Maeve. For those of you who don’t know the the story behind this celtic queen allow me to give you a brief outline:

There is the mythological Queen Maeve and a real counterpart whose stories appear to overlap. The real-life Meave was a very ambitious woman, born in Rathcroghan Co. Roscommon, daughter of the King of Connacht. When her father died and her sister Clothra was named Queen she murder her pregnant sister in order to take the throne by force. Maeve married several times, most famously to Conor, King of Ulster, and apparently lived to 120 when she was eventually murdered by her sister’s son. Her legend was used to inspire warriors through the ages, when women were allowed to partake in battles.

When we visited the cairn up on Knocknarea a creepy dense mist came in from the sea (the ghost of Queen Maeve perhaps?!)



The final morning of our trip we paid a visit to the aforementioned Voya seaweed baths to rid our bodies of all of the alcohol related toxins we had forced upon ourselves. Not knowing what to expect from it at all, I was totally amazed, and really can't recommend it enough!

On the route home we dropped in to visit Elizabeth who makes the amazing “Salt of the Earth” plywood jewellery we sell in store. She is currently “minding” in her (architect) uncle’s incredible home just outside Strandhill, with the most amazing views of the beach. You couldnt choose a more inspiring spot to create from.

One more stop before the long journey back to Dublin. We called in to Matt Jones, woodturner in the sleepy village of Riverstown, to have a nose around and pick up an order of twig pots. Matt has his home and workshop just behind the local parish hall. The workshop is kitted out with a variety of wood-turning lathes and chisels that we spent the afternoon coveting. Here he creates the most incredible hand turned bowls and vessels.


Our highlights and tips for a trip West:

  •  A cycle along the Greenway (we went from Mulranny to Achill)
  •  A hike up Knocknarea to see Queen Maeve’s tomb.
  •  Visit Dolly’s cottage (a 200 yr old preserved thatched cottage)
  •  Dinner or Brunch in Shell’s café (we tried both).
  •  Take a seaweed bath at Voya 
  •  Surfing in Strandhill of course!
Irish Handmade Glass Company

Irish Handmade Glass Company

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Makers

‘Holi...what?’
‘Holibops Manuel, it’s a Dublin term meaning holidays’.
Indeed Manuel (our photography intern from Spain) learned a few more Dublin terms as we made our way through the sea of green that was Dolphins Barn pre Euro 2012 on our one day holibop to Waterford.

Back in January, we approached the Irish Handmade Glass Company about producing a range of glassware exclusive to our shop. Simple forms in beautiful colours was the brief. The results were exactly that, so we were feeling pretty excited about visiting the studio that produced our range having previously only communicated via email. The perfect opportunity to visit coincided with Manuel’s internship with us, so off we went, struggling at times with communication, but I think we all learnt a thing or two on that car journey. Manuel learnt some new words and we learnt that all pints are €2 in Dicey’s every Tuesday!

The Irish Handmade Glass studio is based in the heart of the medieval city of Waterford, a stones throw away from the Disneylandesque Waterford Crystal visitor centre. On arrival, we felt immediately welcome by the lads despite the fact that we were totally in the way as master glass blower Richard Rowe attempted to work around our awkward decamping of bags and coats. Manuel got straight to work while we made chit chat with master glass maker Tony Hayes.

The company consists of three major glassmakers and one master glasscutter, all ex-Waterford crystal empolyees who have a combined experience of 130 years of glass making. Each skilled worker, glide with ease, poles of molten glass in hand around the workshop in a relaxed yet orderly manner, producing finely crafted pieces at a factory line pace. The pride and enthusiasm that these makers display for their craft is a pleasure to see.

Established in 2009, they are obviously relishing the opportunity to run a business which they have full control over. Emphasis is on the quality of glassware which is produced from non-lead based crystal, melted from its pellet form in a purpose built kiln. Molten glass is either blown at this stage or dipped in high quality pigment to produce vibrantly coloured pieces. Once blown pieces are cooled, they are then passed to master cutter Danny Murphy who cuts and finishes each piece with steely concentration. Intrigued by the various stages of manufacturing, we began thinking up all sorts of possibilities. It has been such a pleasure working with this glass company that we would like to see this as the beginning of a whole host of possible products.

As we packed up our things, we left with the thought, just think of the possible Christmas baubles!

Special thanks to all at the Irish Handmade Glass Company: Danny Murphy, Derek Smith, Tony Hayes & Richard Rowe.

HUGE thanks to Manuel Gutiérrez for taking such amazing photos.

Irish Handmade Glass Company

Irish Handmade Glass Company

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Makers

‘Holi...what?’
‘Holibops Manuel, it’s a Dublin term meaning holidays’.
Indeed Manuel (our photography intern from Spain) learned a few more Dublin terms as we made our way through the sea of green that was Dolphins Barn pre Euro 2012 on our one day holibop to Waterford.

Back in January, we approached the Irish Handmade Glass Company about producing a range of glassware exclusive to our shop. Simple forms in beautiful colours was the brief. The results were exactly that, so we were feeling pretty excited about visiting the studio that produced our range having previously only communicated via email. The perfect opportunity to visit coincided with Manuel’s internship with us, so off we went, struggling at times with communication, but I think we all learnt a thing or two on that car journey. Manuel learnt some new words and we learnt that all pints are €2 in Dicey’s every Tuesday!

The Irish Handmade Glass studio is based in the heart of the medieval city of Waterford, a stones throw away from the Disneylandesque Waterford Crystal visitor centre. On arrival, we felt immediately welcome by the lads despite the fact that we were totally in the way as master glass blower Richard Rowe attempted to work around our awkward decamping of bags and coats. Manuel got straight to work while we made chit chat with master glass maker Tony Hayes.

The company consists of three major glassmakers and one master glasscutter, all ex-Waterford crystal empolyees who have a combined experience of 130 years of glass making. Each skilled worker, glide with ease, poles of molten glass in hand around the workshop in a relaxed yet orderly manner, producing finely crafted pieces at a factory line pace. The pride and enthusiasm that these makers display for their craft is a pleasure to see.

Established in 2009, they are obviously relishing the opportunity to run a business which they have full control over. Emphasis is on the quality of glassware which is produced from non-lead based crystal, melted from its pellet form in a purpose built kiln. Molten glass is either blown at this stage or dipped in high quality pigment to produce vibrantly coloured pieces. Once blown pieces are cooled, they are then passed to master cutter Danny Murphy who cuts and finishes each piece with steely concentration. Intrigued by the various stages of manufacturing, we began thinking up all sorts of possibilities. It has been such a pleasure working with this glass company that we would like to see this as the beginning of a whole host of possible products.

As we packed up our things, we left with the thought, just think of the possible Christmas baubles!

Special thanks to all at the Irish Handmade Glass Company: Danny Murphy, Derek Smith, Tony Hayes & Richard Rowe.

HUGE thanks to Manuel Gutiérrez for taking such amazing photos.