New originals emerge in Cork crafts month

Emerging talent and well known names on show in month-long crafts fest

Cork has a long tradition with regard to arts and crafts and visitors to the Rebel County have a feast for the senses in store during Cork Craft Month, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.

While West Cork – since the 1960s – has been a beacon for artists from all over Europe, both as a subject matter and a place to live, one of Cork's greatest artistic flagships must be the masterpiece of Celtic Revival; the Hiberno-Romanesque Honan Chapel, which is the jewel in the crown of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Ireland, set in the grounds of University College Cork.

This decorative feast constructed in 1916, includes Harry Clarke's first stained glass commissions, works by the Yeats sisters of Dun Emer Guild, and local lace-makers and craftsmen.

The vision of the chapel constructed over a century ago, was to provide not just work for local industry, but to showcase local talent, much like the essence of Cork Craft Month itself, when over 50 artisans will display their craft work and techniques throughout the county.


Artist James Brenan, headmaster of Cork School of Art from 1860-1889, is listed in the annals of art history as being "Ireland's most distinguished art educator of the 19th century" at a time when there were 4,000 craftsmen in Cork.

His legacy continues today, with new talents showcasing at Emerge, located at 46 Grand Parade, from graduates of three of Cork's colleges: CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, CSN Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, and St Johns Central College.

Included in this year's exhibition are the top prize winners from each college: Siofra Holyland for contemporary applied arts, James McDonald for furniture and Joanna Sarapuk for jewellery design.

Organised by Cork Craft and Design, whose headquarters at St Patrick's Woollen Mills in Douglas are central to the event, the 31 days of arts and crafts offer a wide variety to suit all ages in the form of workshops, craft trails, exhibitions, and pop up shops.

Learning to weave with rushes and straw, are free family-friendly educational workshops at Fota House on August 22nd appealing to ages six and upwards, as are Forest and Flock in Bantry on August 23rd where children up to the age of 13, can learn to create wild crowns from plants and hedgerows, with the aim of giving children a greater sense of biodiversity. Contact

Lampshade design

For anyone interested in learning the art of lampshade design, enrolling in Mr Kite Designs Lampshade Making workshops on August 15th costs €65 including all materials at St Patrick's Woollen Mills in Douglas. Contact

Making Your Own Birdhouse and Paint Your Own Tableware are ceramic courses run by Orla O'Rourke of Stable Door Pottery at Lisgoold in Midleton, who will run similar workshops in Dunmanway and Shanagarry. Prices are €40 for the bird house course, and from €6 for the painting course. Contact

There is even a course, costing €40, on making your own wooden clock, at Benchspace Bites – Live Edge Clock, on August 31st using local Irish wood. Contact

Demonstrations include the art of jewellery making, wood turning, and the old craft of bookbinding. Artist trails, exhibitions and talks are dotted throughout the entire country, and one of the core events to celebrate the 10 anniversary of Cork Craft Month is We Are Cork; a special anniversary exhibition of the 80-plus Cork based artists and craft people which will showcase at The Atrium in City Hall. See