Cork makers in the spotlight at City Hall Crafts and Design Fair

Ballydehob ceramicist Mairi Stone who uses glass instead of glaze to make her work more colourful will showcase her work at the biggest-ever City Hall Crafts and Design Fair in Cork from November 24-26.

A Cork ceramicist who uses glass instead of glaze to make her work more colourful will showcase her work at the biggest-ever City Hall Crafts and Design Fair in Cork from November 24-26.

With 85 exhibitors, this year’s fair promises to be a bumper celebration of an event that traditionally heralds the start of the Christmas season in Cork, offering a unique chance to pick up individual and original Christmas gift ideas.

City Hall Crafts and Design Fair is a celebration of the best Irish designers and makers from fashion to jewellery and beyond – with thousands of items that can only be found in Cork.

There will be a huge emphasis on local makers, including Mairi Stone who ditched her graphic design career for ceramics when she moved to Ballydehob from the UK 18 years ago.

In the last few years, she has seen her fan base expand into markets such as Malaysia, Russia, Australia, Canada and the US thanks to her earthy designs and vibrant colours.

“My work is all about trying to express my love and reverence for the beauty of this earth,” she said

“If any of my pieces evoke any of that feeling in the viewer, then my work is complete.

“I discovered a way to fuse glass into the pieces and I find it far more pleasing and colourful than glazes.

“As the glass cools, it crackles, giving a beautiful crystalline effect.”

Cork Craft and Design members such as Rathcormac-based ‘message in a bottle’ ceramicist Siobhan Steele and Clonakilty’s Hen Jewellery will also have their work on display.

They will be joined by Crosshaven-based Helen O’Leary and her Donald Trump and Michael Tea Higgins tea cosies and Shanagarry-based botanical artist Belinda Northcote.

Other Cork artists include Ramona Alina Malnie from Ballyvolance, Annabel Langrish from Bantry and Joanna Neville from Skibbereen while bespoke jewellery will be on offer from Cobh’s Barbara Hall and Margaret Twomey.

John O’Shea, Leamlara will be on hand to demonstrate his woodturning skills and other producers will be Bia Beauty Skincare, Dun Oir Crafts from Bantry and Ba Goose Fleece Clothing.

Over €150,000 per day will be spent at the biggest crafts fair outside Dublin, and fairgoers in search of an original Christmas idea can be guaranteed a haven of quality wares both for gifts and the home this festival season.

There will also be a Spectacular Christmas Food Emporium which will feature over 25 local artisan food producers, taste-tempting visitors with the best of the season’s fare.

Among the stars at the Emporium will be Rochestown’s The Marshmallow Factory.

“The City Hall Crafts and Design Fair gives people the ideal chance to secure original and unique Christmas presents in a wonderful setting,” said Festival organiser Patrick O’Sullivan.

“Shoppers will find a wide range of crafts, artisan-made goods, food and drink, designer handcrafted outfits and accessories at the Fair.

“This year we have a lot of new content with many first-time exhibitors showcasing the best of new crafts and food from around the country.”

The 26th City Hall Crafts and Design Fair takes place at the City Hall, Cork from November 24-26. Full details and booking can be found at www.cityhallcraftsfair.ie.

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