Get crafty in time for Christmas
Shop in countryside calm at Ballilogue; dish up with funky spoons from Denmark
Denmark in Dublin
To give your home a touch of hygge heaven this winter, pop in to the Danish pop-up store at Arnotts in Henry Street, Dublin where a curated selection of interesting brands will present a pot-pourri of design delights. Whether you’re in search of serious Scandi cool such as Holmegaard vases and Kahler ceramic tableware, or a little taste of the north as in gourmet gummies from Wally and Whitz, flavoured with yuzu, blackthorn and salt liquorice, you’ll find plenty of gift ideas (not to mention self-gifting temptations). And this being Denmark, many of the makers are just as concerned with the politics of production as they are with on-trend styling. Those funky spoons and chopping boards from Muubs are made from sustainable teak, driftwood, concrete and leather; Livingly’s mind-boggling mobiles are produced locally, while their 50 skilled home-workers assemble, glue, sew and pack all the products. The Danish pop-up runs at Arnotts, November 15th-December 29th. arnotts.ie
The beautifully-restored 18th-century stone hamlet at Ballilogue, near Inistioge in Co Kilkenny, offers its guests a memorable combination of traditional countryside calm and stylish contemporary interiors. People who stay in one of its tranquil spaces frequently want to take some of the atmosphere home with them, in the shape of the specially-sourced Celtic homewares, textiles and accessories used to furnish the three houses at Ballilogue. So after a decade of fielding queries about where these might be purchased, the folks at the artisan retreat centre have opened a craft shop in a refurbished piggery building. Among the most popular items are double-faced wool blankets and cushions woven in small family mills in Donegal and Wales (€55-€225), hand-thrown ceramics from France, Cornwall and Ireland (€10-€200), wooden bowls made from sustainable sycamore and alder (€15-€30) and a dainty willow basket, specially commissioned for Ballilogue and woven by Norbert Palz in west Cork (€49). Also available online from ballilogue.com
Feast of Cork crafts
The halls will be well and truly decked in Cork this year as the city’s largest-ever craft fair kicks off at City Hall on November 24th, heralding the start of the Christmas season with a bumper crop of 85 exhibitors. With large numbers of craftspeople based all around Cork county there will, of course, be a huge emphasis on local makers, including Cork Craft and Design members, and many first-time exhibitors showcasing a wide range of artisan goods, food and drink, designer clothes and offbeat items of all sorts – many of which you won’t find anywhere else. Exhibitors include Siobháin Steele from Rathcormac, with her customised messages in bottles, and west Cork ceramicist Mairi Stone, whose jewel-coloured porcelain pieces channel the changing moods of the Atlantic peninsulas. From Crosshaven, textile artist Helen O’Shea will bring her hilarious Michael Tea Higgins range of tea cosies, while the Shanagarry-based botanical artist Belinda Northcote will show off her stunning silk, wool and cashmere scarves. The fair runs from Nov 24th to 26th, cityhallcraftsfair.ie
No matter how busy – or hopelessly un-handy – you are, there really is no excuse for not having a go at crafting your own unique seasonal door decoration at this time of year. Even the hastiest internet search reveals a wealth of ideas for making cheeky winter wreaths out of everything from pom poms to tissue paper, buttons to balls of twine, and feathers to faux fur. I’ve even seen a wreath which can be rustled up in a couple of minutes using an old knitted scarf. Nothing, of course, can come close to the elegance of a natural willow wreath with native Irish berries and greenery – but that freshly-tousled woodland look is tricky to get just right. Flower-styling experts The Crate are the people to help. They run a series of winter wreath workshops around town; aka an evening where you can have a bit of harmless fun with foliage, down a glass of bubbles and emerge with an extremely cool and professional-looking piece of decor. There’s a session at the Pot Bellied Pig restaurant in Rathmines, Dublin 6 on December 12th, 6.30pm-8 pm, €60: or you can set up your own private event (costing subject to numbers). Email email@example.com for further information, or to book.