In a sign that North Wexford’s craftspeople are succeeding at the national level, no fewer that three of our fabulous designer will participate in exhibitions in Dublin in December and January.
Anna Dobson runs Tweed in the Valley on Gorey’s Main Street – from where she and her intrepid sewing colleagues produce 100% Irish clothing. Everything from the tweed to the packaging is Irish and its eye-catching palette of mustards, blues, raspberries, and autumn green are proving popular with adults and children alike.
“In January, I’ll be participating in Showcase Ireland in Dublin,” says Anna, who started her business in 2017 and now finds herself with a thriving shop in Gorey, which is so well known for its independent fashion stores.
Showcase Ireland is hosted by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and is an annual trade-only event, drawing professional visitors from over 25 countries who wish to purchase or outsource to Ireland in the areas of crafts and gifts, jewellery, fashion, knitwear and accessories. Over 450 exhibitors will be in attendance.
For Anna, who is attending her second Showcase, this is an opportunity to promote her unique children’s tweed creations – from boys’ waistcoats to girls’ dresses and coats. “Peaky Blinders is very popular, so everybody loves the waistcoats and bow ties,” says Anna, who grew up in Avoca, Co Wicklow, surrounded by the Irish tweed culture.
With her Donegal tweed creations stocked in shops as far afield as France, Germany, Italy, and the United States, Anna still does all the cutting and finishing herself, ensuring that her vision of beauty in tradition and contemporary innovation is mirrored in each piece. Her ladies range includes fitted fashionable pleat coats and dresses with a contrasting palette.
This year, Anna won the Wicklow Business Woman of the Year award in the Emerging New Business category. And, with the help of her Acorns programme mentor, Mary B Walsh of Ire Wel Pallets, it’s certain that Anna’s tweed will travel far.
Grainne Kenny specialises in textile art, resin jewellery, and table and floor lamps. Her unique work is inspired by shorelines and sunsets along Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way.
A weaver by trade, Grainne sees fabrics and fibres as her palette, painting with the materials using only her hands. Each material, yarn, and bead is hand applied, leading to a painterly effect that is instantly recognisable as Grainne’s handiwork.
“Showcase is the show of the year for designers who want to sell to wholesalers and it’s a great way to meet new and current stockists in one place,” says Grainne. In Gorey, you can find Grainne’s distinctive creations in Tweed in the Valley, The Woodturning Studio, and Gorey Visitor Centre, both on the Main Street.
“This is my fourth time attending Showcase and I have made sales to the US based on contacts made at Showcase.” Now expanding her themes from shorelines and sunsets to include nature and butterflies, she is also adding more lamps to her collection.
Bláithín Ennis will be taking her hand-crafted jewellery designs to the Gifted Fair in Dublin December. An annual event to kickstart the Christmas gift season, the Fair is attended by those looking for unique Irish-made designed products for men, women and children.
“The Gifted Fair is a great way to meet customers directly and learn from their feedback,” says Bláithín, who will be exhibiting her new Eclipse range at the show. “The Eclipse range features rich ruby crystal and was inspired by the solar system. It’s available in Place in Gorey, Westgate Design in Wexford, and Arnotts in Dublin as well as online.
“My ethos is to make beautiful pieces at versatile price points.” Indeed, her jewellery has received the stamp of approval by pop royalty, television presenters, singer-songwriters and top models, with her creations worn by Roz Purcell, Kathryn Thomas, Una Healy, Vogue Williams, Cheryl Cole, and Nicole Scherzinger to name but a few …!