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The Irish Times – Campaign to buy Irish craft launched

DEIRDRE McQUILLAN

“IMAGINED, DESIGNED and made in Ireland” is the theme of the Crafts Council of Ireland’s latest campaign launched yesterday by TV presenter Kathryn Thomas to encourage consumers to support home industry this Christmas and buy Irish.

The red dress and bolero, for example, worn by Thomas, is by Charlotte and Jane, a new Irish label that made its debut earlier this year reviving the use of native Irish fabrics like linen and tweed.

Their playful, colourful modern takes on 1950s styles are made in a converted coach house in Kinsale with a team of eight seamstresses, showing the potential of small, home-based industries, collectively estimated to be worth half a billion euro to the economy.

CCI’s new giveirishcraft website highlights a wide array of design gifts for the Christmas season from ceramics and pottery to jewellery, glass and fashion items at prices from €11 to over €500.

As well as established Irish brands like Nicholas Moose and Jerpoint Glass, some of the more interesting include Bunbury Boards, bread and cheese boards made from fallen timber from a family estate in Carlow, soaps handmade by former thatcher Donagh Quigley, zany colourful scarves by Cathy Villiers, as well as beautiful hazel catkin bowls made by Joe Hogan from home-grown willow in the west of Ireland.

According to a recent survey, Ireland’s 1.4 million households are expected to spend an average of €650 each on gifts this Christmas or some €910 million. Spending as much of this €650 on Irish-made craft can help sustain and grow the 5,700 jobs in this sector, according to CCI’s head of market development Brian McGee.

Some 54 Irish retail shops are taking part in the campaign, with more than 300 Irish designers and craft-makers represented. “People may be buying less, but want gifts that are authentic, unique and will last”, Mr McGee said.