Dim the lights and wrap up in Donegal wool

Vintage lightbulbs, a new wave in weaving and a cork clock – what’s new in design

Handwoven throw and cushion from Studio Donegal. Image courtesy of Craft Editions

Handwoven throw and cushion from Studio Donegal. Image courtesy of Craft Editions


’Tis the season to weave together long-standing traditions and contemporary innovations: something the folks at Studio Donegal already do, and in great style. 

There has been a tradition of hand-weaving in Kilcar since the days when farming families would supplement their income by spinning the fleece of the indigenous blackface sheep and weaving tweed from the resulting yarn. 

Today, Studio Donegal is a small woollen mill on the Wild Atlantic Way which continues to train apprentice handweavers and to carry on the crafts of carding, spinning and garment making; in fact, everything which carries a Studio Donegal label is handwoven in Kilcar.

And you’ll see those labels in some very luxurious places – including the boutique Rathmullen House Hotel on the banks of Lough Swilly. 

“We see a bright future for creative design with traditional skills and methods,” says manager Tristan Donaghy who also supplies to hotels in Europe. 

Not surprising, given the ever-changing palette of their blankets, throws and cushions, in a range of shades as rich, earthy and surprising as those of the Donegal landscape itself. Small throws are priced from €92, large from €179.  studiodonegal.ie

Capsule wall clock

The Capsule wall clock (€160)
The Capsule wall clock (€160)

The Dublin-based watch designer Ian Walton’s 2018 collection for NTN is based on a very “now” concept of time and space. 

“At a time when we’ve never been more digitally connected, we’ve never been less connected to the people, places, moments and objects that ground us,” he says.

“We wanted to create a collection in response to this – a range of tactile, material objects which encourage time well spent.” 

Pride of place in the new collection goes to the Capsule wall clock (€160). Made from Portuguese cork and German borosilicate laboratory glass and assembled in NTN’s Dublin studio, it comes with a choice of white or brass hands and features a second hand which moves in a continuous, hypnotic sweep.

The Host candle, meanwhile (€45), is made from soya wax on a concrete base: when the candle burns away, it reveals a brass tube embedded in the concrete, so hey presto! – you have a new candle-holder which will accept all standard-sized dinner candles.

These and the other products in the NTN range can be seen at the People and Projects studio on Dublin’s Francis Street, which will open as a pop-up store on Fridays between now and Christmas.

Check peopleandprojects.ie for further details.  ntn.ie

Aldi’s LED bulbs

Vintage style LED lightbulbs from Aldi, €5.99 each
Vintage style LED lightbulbs from Aldi, €5.99 each

There’s something incredibly comforting about the glow of a filament lightbulb at this time of year, and Aldi have a range of vintage-style LED bulbs available from tomorrow at the bright and breezy price of €5.99 each.

The four-watt bulbs come in a bayonet cap design, are dimmable, and come in classic, pear squirrel cage or globe shapes. 

And while you’re tripping the light fantastic in Aldi, be sure to snap up a couple of their three-wick candles in glass jars.  They’re available in two “flavours” – pomegranate, and lime, basil and mandarin – and if the latter sounds familiar, wait till you see the cheeky black bow on the lid. Remind you of anything?

Where have you seen that black bow before?  Three-wick candle centrepiece from Aldi, €11.99  
Where have you seen that black bow before?  Three-wick candle centrepiece from Aldi, €11.99  

Now, any candle-oholic worth their wick will tell you that Jo Malone’s super-luxurious scented candles have the best “hot throw” in the business.  (Translation for non candle-oholics: they don’t have any hint of sickliness, and they retain that distinct but subtle fragrance right to the end of their burn time.)   On the other hand, a Joe Malone candle will set you back upwards of €50, while Aldi’s three-wick candle centrepiece weighs in at a cheery €11.99. On sale in 130 stores nationwide while stocks last. aldi.ie

Vibes and Scribes

We live in a world which is overflowing with helpful – often virtual – hints for how to create funky pieces for your home but lamentably short on real-world places where you can go to seek out the crucial bits and pieces which will give your craft projects that professional-looking finish. 

Vibes and Scribes, on Cork’s Bridge Street, is an absolute Aladdin’s Cave of buttons, felt, feathers, papier-mache boxes, washi tape, hemp cord, glitzy edgings, quirky embroidered letters – whatever your crafting heart might desire. If you’re anywhere near Cork city, a browse in person is a must: if not, you can order online from their website, vibesandscribes.ie