Support local and visit formcarlow.com, to find something unique to gift to someone you love
This year, one of the best things we can do is gift Irish and buy local, and with so many beautiful options available online from Carlow craftspeople, there is so much to be discovered. For seamless gifting, visit formcarlow.com, find something unique and love what you give.
2020 has been a challenging year for us all and that makes the Christmas season especially meaningful. Finding that special something for the ones you love is more important to each of us this year. Here, we meet some of the many makers who call the stunning Carlow landscape their home. Whether they are nestled in the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains or cradled in the palm of the Barrow Valley, these Irish designers and craft workers are creating unique and individual pieces for you to love this Christmas.
Meet the Makers
For precious metal worker Ariane Tobin, inspiration is everywhere, from social media to architecture. Presently, much of her inspiration comes from her travels – coral reefs and sea creatures are evident in her recent pieces.
Darragh Sinnott Designs
A graduate of GMIT Letterfrack and a native of Galway, Darragh Sinnott moved to east for work in 2016. His main medium of work is in wood, whether turned, carved or made into furniture: “I find it fascinating that each piece of wood can be traced to a place and a time in history and by adding my own embellishments I can become part of that story too.”
Emma Jane Champley
Designer Emma Jane Champley works with silver, gold, resin, wood and precious stones to create one-off commissions and statement collections: “I’m intrigued with fastenings and moving parts so often these take centre stage in my work, resulting in a playful dialogue between form and function.”
Leiko Uchiyama, Leiko Felt
Leiko Uchiyama’s work explores the potential of felt within twenty first century craft practice: “I make wearable pieces that keep us warm but also to allow us to express our individuality; bags to enable us to carry not only our belongings, but also our memories and thoughts.”
Liga Valge, Valg Studio
Maker Lisa Valge uses polymer clay to create simple, contemporary statement jewellery and sculptural wall art. Her current collection, Shadow and Light is inspired by connecting with nature and self-care during the challenging time of pandemic. On her daily walks Liga began to become aware of the shapes, sounds and colours, and was inspired by light and shade: “Just as there are dark moments in our lives, there is always a ray of hope”.
Martin Lyttle is an Irish stone sculptor based near Borris. He has always had a passion for the rocks and soil and the processes that have formed the landscape. It was this strong interest that led him into a career in geology. He is particularly interested in organic shapes and forms and works only with stone from local quarries or found stone. He enjoys undertaking both small and large-scale sculpture commissions.
Martin Marley, Ceramic Artist
Having trained as a designer, ceramicist Martin Marley was searching for more expressive ways of working with clay and turned his focus to figurative work with the ideal of the perfect male body as a starting point. “Whilst working on this series I realised that it was the facial expressions of these pieces that had the most potential for development and refinement.”
Mary Bourke, De Burca Design
Growing up in the rugged landscape of Mayo, jewellery maker Mary Bourke spent most of her childhood outdoors helping her Dad on their farm, rambling through woods with her dog Shadow and finding the beauty in every day. Nature is a huge source of inspiration for Mary, and she is at home in her studio overlooking the Barrow valley.
Inspired by the beauty of the rural Irish landscape, Nicola Brown creates sculptural pieces, wearable art and interior accessories using wet felting and natural printing techniques: “Starting with the softest and most tactile of raw materials – wool, silk and bamboo – I’m always fascinated by how it’s possible to felt strong sculptures or soft, flexible wraps by the simple addition of water, soap and friction from my hands.”
Tomomi McElwee, Slaney Quilting Studio
Maker Tomomi creates handmade quilts in her studio in Rathvilly. Growing up in Japan with its rich culture and textile heritage, picking up pieces of fabric and stitching them together became a natural passion for her. She is renowned for her skill in free quilting and runs weekly classes for beginners and experienced quilters alike in her studio.