Top craftspeople to showcase creations at the Irish Design Works exhibition

Ben Gabriel (left) and Tommy Carew: preparing for a busy fortnight for craftspeople in Galway. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.
Ben Gabriel (left) and Tommy Carew: preparing for a busy fortnight for craftspeople in Galway. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle – As well as artsy types, Galway will be a magnet for craftspeople over the next fortnight as the city hosts the third Irish Design Works exhibition as well as a pop-up shop entitled Creative Makers Galway. Judy Murphy talks to some of those involved.

Galway is definitely the place to be for the last two weeks of July if you are a fan of arts – and the same applies if you have a fondness for well-made crafts. Some of the country’s top craftspeople will be showcasing their creations at the third Irish Design Works exhibition, which will run from July 17-30 in the Niland Gallery on Merchants Road.

The exhibition will include furniture, lights, stone sculpture, ceramics, glass, artworks and fine metalwork, all designed and made in Ireland.

At the same time, the nearby 2020 Hub in the Cornstore, Middle Street, will host a pop-up shop entitled Creative Makers Galway.

The Creative Makers collective will showcase a range of handmade local goods, including jewellery, soap, furniture, textiles, ceramics, candles and art. This pop-up shop is for designers who have graduated from, or are currently taking the ‘Building a Craft and Design Enterprise Programme’ – a course run by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, supported by Galway’s Local Enterprise Office, LEO.

The Creative Makers shop will also be open until July 30 and, as with the Irish Design Works exhibition, the goods will be for sale.

The Design Works show on Merchants Road features nine of Ireland’s finest craftspeople, most of them from Galway. Designer and furniture-maker Tommy Carew is one of that group and is also taking part in the Leo Creative Makers Show.

That’s because while he’s an accomplished furniture-maker and wood sculptor, Tommy is relatively new to the business end of crafts, he explains over coffee in the company of fellow wood craftsman Ben Gabriel.

If Tommy is in the early days making a livelihood out of his business, Ben is a seasoned soul, who managed to survive the economic downturn.

It was Ben who first suggested bringing the Irish Design Works show to Galway. That was in 2015 and since then, it has grown in popularity among people visiting Arts Festival exhibitions throughout Galway City. Ben is hopeful that the exhibition will be included in next year’s Festival programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.