Click and pick Irish crafts for delivery to your door
Craft shops and galleries may be closed but you can still buy handmade pieces online
Louis Mulcahy tea time
Summer is here and while it could be many weeks before we’re free to travel around Ireland, the holiday purchase of a piece of local craft work needn’t be put on hold. Makers across the country are working away in their studios, crafting objects guaranteed to bring a smile to lockdown living.
Turquoise for tea
Bring a bit of Ballyferriter blue into your home with some lovely tableware from potter Louis Mulcahy’s studio. “Our turquoise stoneware has been out for a year or two but is a lovely, summery colour for now,” says the potter’s son, Lasse. The studio’s courier picks up orders on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and, even though the pottery is down to just one socially distanced picker and packer, it is still making next-day deliveries pretty much all the time.
Its beautiful mug and side plate for one set costs €48, and is perfect if you’re self-isolating. Pair it with the pottery’s chunky large teapot, for €110, and wait for better days with family and friends. Shipping costs €10 for items up to €50, and is free thereafter, so you’ll save by spending.
Weave some magic
Online is now the only way for crafts people like Terry Dunne, aka Terry the Weaver, in Wexford to sell his wares. Happily he has had a number of enquiries over the past 10 days via his website. The bad news for Dunne is that he had planned to mount a major exhibition of his work as part of the Galway 2020 celebrations this summer, for which he had been creating beautiful wall tapestries for almost two years.
The good news for anyone looking to spruce up their cocoons is that some of these are now available to buy. Prices range from €400 to €20,000 and all are exquisite. One particularly beautiful piece, Autumn Falling Into Snow, is one metre square and costs €3,500, with deliveries available to any part of the country.
Rugged good looks
Warm up your wooden floors with a handcrafted rug from Ceadogán Rugs, in Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford. The company combines innovative designs with traditional approaches and collaborates with designers from the worlds of fashion, architecture, graphic design and art. This combination of creativity and craft results in some pretty stunning rugs, many of which wouldn’t look out of place on a wall.
Because you can’t make it to its 17th-century farmhouse showroom, take a virtual trip instead, to check out rugs designed by such artists as James Early, Deirdre Breen and Jenny Maslen, as well as the stunning designs in the Mainie Jellett’s Heirloom Collection. Its new collection, Sepia, is inspired by the pebbles washed ashore on locals beaches and is the work of its in-house designer Martina Navratilova. No, not the tennis player. Prices start from € 1080, including VAT and delivery to Ireland and UK.
Tune into any home-makeover show and you’ll hear talk of “bringing the outside in”. With a nicely planted window box, you can achieve it even if you’ve no outside to call your own. Nothing is as cheery as a window box, especially those from one of Dublin’s oldest charitable institutions, Mendicity.
Much of its funding comes from the creation and sale of beautiful wooden items, such as stools, shelves and block art. Among the most sought-after are window boxes made from recycled wooden pallets, with prices ranging from €10 to €18. They come in a range of colours, including red, blue, pink, grey and turquoise, and feature a lovely decorative motif, so they’re pretty even when empty. Home delivery is available in the Dublin area, for minimum spends of €30.
Few materials are both as decorative and uplifting as coloured glass, ask any church designer. Some of Ireland’s best-known examples come from Jerpoint Glass Studio in Stoneyford, Kilkenny. Mouth blown and hand finished by husband and wife team Keith and Kathleen Leadbetter, they have been brightening up Irish homes for more than four decades.
Among their cheeriest ranges is Festival, a riot of brightly splashed glassware which perfectly conveys the spirit of all those festivals you might have visited this summer. Wine glasses are on sale from €38.50, and a Pimms-perfect pitcher from €89. Dispatched within four days of order, online sales are fully insured in case you’re worrying.
Love the lathe
Keith and Kathleen’s son Eoghan followed a similar path but uses a different medium. “Craftsmanship is in my blood, however woodturning is where I found my passion,” says Leadbetter the Younger, who crafts a range of items for everyday use including bowls, platters, spoons and servers suitable for salads, fruits and nuts.
Each piece is hand-turned on the lathe in a transmogrifying process that turns naturally felled, locally sourced wood into sleek pieces that are satisfying to hold and use. Each is unique and hand finished with food-safe oil.
His personal favourite is the €20 coffee scoop. “It’s the product I’m most proud of. I always try to design my work with a focus on functionality first,” he says. “What I like about it is that it is functional and versatile – I use one for flour too – but also beautiful as an object to just touch and look at.”
Clean up with copper
If you haven’t heard about the anti-bacterial properties of copper, then congratulations, you’ve been isolating super well. If you have heard, check Emmet Bosonnet’s industrial homewares range Kopper Kreation. The business is both sustainably and aesthetically pleasing, using reclaimed and recycled materials to create unique handmade items such as a gorgeous €20 copper tea light set, a decorative copper heart from €45 and a unique copper kitchen-roll holder for €60, all of which have been selling well through the pandemic. Its best seller is an elegant triangular-based copper lamp with atmospheric dimmer that costs €105. Shipping is free to Ireland and UK. “All of my copper products are hand polished to a natural, shiny finish. No chemicals or lacquers are used in polishing just plain, simple, old elbow grease. This means the copper will age naturally and develop colour changes and beautiful patinas over time,” says Bosonnet.
Give it socks
About the most exciting thing many of us see these days is the masked courier on the drive. Get the kids in on the action by taking delivery of a SockAnimal from Red Rufus. The handmade soft toys are genuinely made from socks (lovely, posh, new ones) which are filled with EU-compliant toy stuffing and hand fashioned into an array of fetching creatures by Christina Sanne from her home studio in Co Dublin. There is a wide assortment available and you can get in touch to have them personalised too. Prices start at €34.95 plus next-day delivery at €6. “I’ve been able to carry on working through the lockdown because I work from home and the courier has been brilliant at practising social distancing. Orders have been good during this time because, I suppose, children still have birthdays,” says Sanne.
Wizardry in willow
For the hands-down, absolute best handmade craft you can bag right now, look to Bangor-based basket-maker extraordinaire, Bob Johnston. In particular, set your sights on one of his show-stopping stag's heads. Designed to be wall-mounted, these stunning creatures give a cruelty-free two fingers to the hideos trophies of old. Life-sized and lovely, each one is unique and made to order for £950. In an ideal world, every home would have one because the wizardry Johnston can achieve with willow is out of this world. He offers a huge range of items but little surprise to find the stag is his own favourite piece too. It “just seems to suit the material,” he says. Willow sculptures and baskets can be delivered all over Ireland.