The traditional Irish crafts of hand weaving, stone sculpting and glass-making are being given a fresh perspective by artists at the Donegal Craft Village.
There’s something alluring about buying a piece of art or an original sculpture from a local artist, especially if you’ve travelled half way across the world to meet the creator of the piece. It’s amazing how often these prized purchases manage to wheedle their way into dinner conversations, especially if the artist has an unusual background.
Donegal Craft Village
Donegal Craft Village is one place where you can be absolutely certain that the item you’re purchasing is a genuine handmade Irish craft, designed and created in Ireland. The village was formed 22 years ago, with the aim of preserving Ireland’s craft traditions and is a haven for the region’s most talented artists.
Many of these artists have dedicated their lives to perfecting their crafts and are graduates from Ireland’s numerous art, sculpture and design colleges.
The village is a showcase for metalwork, batik designs, jewellery, sculpture and other contemporary arts.
You can stroll around the common courtyard and pop into various workshops where you will often find the artists themselves engrossed in creating their masterpieces.
Their completed works on display are for sale, or if there’s something special you’re after you can even commission a piece.
Sisters Elaine and Lyndsey McGonigle put their creativity to the test by setting up their glass design studio where they work with a number of different glass techniques, including slumping, fusing, sand-casting, blown, engraving, enamelling and bead making. The graduates from the national college of art and design in Dublin produce glass plates, pictures and jewellery.
Pieces range from as little as €20 up to the hundreds. A fused glass brooch with floral engraving costs €20 and matching pendants go for €40. Their nature-inspired designs are colourful, striking and full of detail. Jury’s Hotel in Leeds and London commissioned a series of glass panels and the glass society of Ireland has also recognised their talent by commissioning glass awards.
The traditional art of handweaving is kept alive through Clare O’Presco’s delicate scarves, bags and other accessories. Scarves are hand-woven or hand knotted using a multitude of different yarns including Donegal tweed, silk and synthetic fibres.
At her studio, you can watch her create beautiful tapestries free-hand on the loom using hand-carded fleece.
Jewellery and art
For something a bit more Celtic, pick up some jewellery or a sculpture from Niall Bruton whose contemporary pieces of art have a distinct ancient Celtic look.
Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of Tourism Ireland and Emirates Airline.