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A planter from shipping pallets; Zelouf&Bell in Kilkenny and good buys in classic chairs


Furniture finds in Kilkenny

Belfast-born Michael Bell and New Yorker Susan Zelouf make furniture which makes you want to sing out loud. Their ultra-dinky blue butterfly end tables are among the mouth-watering collection of work on display at the new show at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny. The 28 designer/makers represented were selected by an international panel for demonstrating excellence in craftsmanship, creativity and technical skill. Cara Murphy’s gravity-defying tableware incorporates silver, brick, lava and coral: Stephen O’Briain’s furniture floats in space, all sensuous curves and meticulously detailed joints. Curated by Gregory Parsons, Narratives in Making focuses on the stories behind the objects, from the love of materials through the rituals of making and the physical rhythm and time involved – all of which influence not just the finished works, but our relationship with them. Visitors can explore this theme in a series of Meet the Maker talks, drop-in drawing workshops and a Crafternoon Tea on Tuesday (May 16th, 11am and 12.30pm), part of the Bealtaine festival which celebrates creativity as we age. Booking is required for the latter: call 056 779 6151 or email events@nationalcraftgallery.ie. The show runs until July 5th.

Pillow talk

If you’re being woken up just a little bit too early on these bright mornings by sunshine streaming through your window blinds, silk eye masks from The Ethical Silk Company, priced at €25, could just help – especially if you’re comfortably ensconced on a pure silk pillowcase from the same range (regular €45, Oxford €55). Silk is not just silky-soft and luxurious. It’s also hypoallergenic – in other words, it doesn’t attract dust mites – and is a natural temperature regulator. It doesn’t conduct static electricity either, so sleeping on silk can help reduce hair breakage and general frizziness. Good news for you: but even better news for the planet, since all items in this Irish-produced range are handcrafted from mulberry silk threads, using an eco-friendly harvesting technique. Hand on heart, how many of us can say that no silkworms were harmed in the making of our bedlinen? theethicalsilkco.com

What’s the ideate?

What might you do after you complete the two-year Higher National Diploma in Illustration, Graphics and Textile Fibre Art at Ballyfermot College of Further Education? Just about anything – as Ideate, the 21st graduate design exhibition in the Cowshed at Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, clearly demonstrates. Some graduates have been accepted to the Sculpture in Context programme at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. Others have taken part in the Art Source fair at the RDS. Rachel Corcoran recently exhibited her graphic work at Só Collective in the Kildare Village Outlet, while another past graduate, Gerard Dwyer, was selected by the Institute of Creative Advertising and Design as an ICAD Upstart for 2016. Siobhan Kelly interned in design for children’s wear collections with Primark and Karl O’Rowe is the comic-book artist on Uberheroes, a pilot programme linked with a community mental health initiative for young adults. Ideate is open until May 21st, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday noon to 4pm. For information on courses at Ballyfermot see bcfe.ie

Affordable Arne in mid-century sale

For those of you who spend your spare time lusting after mid-century furniture online, it pays to attend auctions where the prices achieved may be more affordable.

The deVeres design sale, which takes place on Sunday, May 21st at 2.30pm at the Royal College of Physicians, 6 Kildare Street, includes some great pieces by Ligne Roset, Hans Wegner and Arne Jaacobsen at affordable prices – that is in some instances for less than they cost to buy new. A set of five Series 7 blue dining chairs, lot 243, is guiding between €400 and €600. Each chair to buy new from Nest.co.uk would cost €440.

There’s cool 1960s lighting. A pair of brass Kastor wall sconces, lot 294, by Jo Hammerbog, is guiding €600 to €900 – which is good compared to the US$4,800 (€4.4k) price tag of a copper set listed on 1stDibs. And a pair of C2Jason chairs by Carl Jacobs for Kandya, lot 99, is guiding between €100 and €200. On EBay in the UK a pair is listed for €1,069, ex shipping, while a dark stained set on 1Dibs is listed for €2699.

The sale also includes several pieces from the estate of the city’s top tastemaker, Peter Johnston, who died last year. They include lot 88a, a smart set of six bentwood chairs for a sun room or glass box, by bar and restaurant supplier Ton, and are guiding between €300 and €500. Lot 79, Pernilla, a lounge chair by Bruno Mattsson, is guiding between €1,000 and €1,500.

Viewing is on Friday, May 19th, from 11am to 7pm; on Saturday, May 20th, from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 10am to 2pm.


Very pallet-able

For those of us who can’t tell a chalk line from a handsaw, few things in life are more irritating than those endless Pinterest pages in which people bang on about all the ingenious stuff they’ve made from old shipping pallets. How ingenious, then, is this: a pallet furniture-making workshop for beginners in which you learn how to handle basic carpentry equipment, and build your very own garden planter to take home? Run by Matthew Huber, a self-taught woodworker from Kansas City, Missouri, who has been building furniture for 24 years and has recently taken to “guerrilla woodworking”, using reclaimed and found materials and traditional hand tools, the four-week course costs €145. All tools and pallets will be provided, though you can bring your own if you wish. It begins on Monday, May 15th, at Block T Studios, 8 Basin View, Dublin 8. We should say that we tried to contact Block T for further details but didn’t get a reply, so the course may be booked out. If you want to give it a go, email info@blockt.ie or call 01 5351014.