Olann and Loves
A collection of beautiful, quirky and useful crafts and kits from Ireland and around the world that caught our eyes.
Tattysquawk – Shawl Pins
After a career in science and computing, Michelle moved to an old stone cottage near Fowey and predictably the pace of life and living by the sea rekindled her love of arts and crafts. Tattysquawk started almost by accident. Needing a present for a knitter friend Michelle decided to play with some wire, pliers and a hammer. Cliché it may be, but the rest is history, with a lot of hard work along the way.
Her workbench is now covered in boxes of beads, pliers, files, hammers and steel blocks, rather than the canvases, paints and fabric of old.
Michelle told us her design process varies, occasionally some pins seemingly create themselves while doodling with the wire. Although she usually starts with sketches. The next step is to work on a few prototypes before the design and process are finalised. Invariably each new pin becomes a personal favourite but secretly Michelle has a soft spot for her surf pins (the most recent incarnation of that is Porthtowan Surf) and the Morlanow pin (Morlanow is high tide in Cornish).
Many of the Tattysquawk pins are custom orders that never get shared on social media and she’s been known to make a “hog roast” shawl pin for someone! Recently Michelle was commissioned to make a pin for a daughter’s wedding. It was only when chatting with the customer’s family that Michelle discovered they were connected to the cottage that she lives in, which made the commission even more special for both of them.
The Tattysquawk pins work just as well worn on jumpers and cardigans as they do on shawls and as they are so light in weight they can be worn on delicate lace. Pins can be made to order, and you can contact Michelle directly via the website tattysquawk.com or via social media such as Instagram. Truro Wool in Truro, and in Wool-on-the-Exe in Exeter always have a selection of pins and they are exhibited at many yarn events across the UK on the stalls of UK Alpaca Ltd, lace shawl designer Anniken Allis and Sylvan Tiger Yarn. In fact, UK Alpaca will be heading to Woollin in May next year.
Oops! Nearly forgot to say, that pin prices start at £15 plus shipping.
The Gentle Goat – Natural Handcrafted Goat’s Milk & Kefir Soap
Joseph Desmond began producing goats’ milk and kefir from his farm in Co. Cork in 2010. Having won a Blas na hEireann award for his goats cheese his creative mind sought further diversification. In Autumn 2017 he met Yvonne Cronin, a Medical Scientist and Medical Herbalist with a keen interest in natural wholesome foods. Romance and a new business idea developed between the pair and The Gentle Goat was born.
Gentle Goat Natural Handcrafted Goat’s Milk and Kefir Soaps came because of Yvonne’s search for a genuinely chemical free, animal-friendly skincare product. This is where they started the journey to creating a goat’s milk soap which would have all natural AHA’ s and be very moisturizing on the skin. Joseph and Yvonne went on a soap workshop in Wicklow to learn the basics of soap making and exploring making the soap with milk and possibly kefir. After the workshop they began experimenting and made several batches, it takes about 4-6 weeks for each batch to cure and the results were fantastic, the soap had a good lather and was very soft and gentle on the skin.
To further their enterprise, they figured they needed more information and training on making soap and did a weekend intensive workshop in the London Soap School which gave them the knowledge to make all types of skin loving soaps.
They now produce seven soaps; Natural Milk and Kefir, Chamomile & Calendula, Peppermint & Tea Tree, Oat & Honey, Lavender, Rosemary Shaving Soap and a Rosemary & Lemon Shampoo Bar. The couple has loads of ideas for new products and are hoping to expand into goat’s milk and kefir face and body moisturisers.
If you’re not lucky enough to be able to catch the couple at one of the craft fair’s they attend you’ll be pleased to know that their Etsy Shop is now open. Stay up-to-date with all things The Gentle Goat via Facebook.
Rag Button – Handmade Crochet Wrap
Heather is inspired by hand stitching, samplers and quilts and is passionate about keeping traditional processes current, alongside employing the use of modern machinery, to make her work. She studied Fine and Applied Arts, specializing in Textiles at the Belfast School of Art, graduating in 2003. Heather then went onto study for a Master in Business Studies but has been a maker since a young age, making a little-knitted cat family and a peg bag for home at primary school.
Combining her business and maker/designer skills to create Rag Button, Heather makes work that is elegant, distinctive and stylish. Irish Linen is the main fabric used, alongside beautiful prints from Liberty or Japanese printed cotton/linen. The products incorporate many materials like old book paper layered and laser cut to shape, along with machine knitted fabric, hand stitching and vintage buttons.
Heather has attended trade shows in Ireland and Britain, supplying many craft shops and galleries. She also regularly contributes to exhibitions and works as a Textile Art Technician at the Belfast School of Art.
The Handmade Crochet Wrap is a beautiful hand dyed blue wool crochet wrap for storing your crochet hooks, with 8 stitched sections and a larger space at the end. The front of the case is embellished with small pieces of fabric, patchworked together and combined with hand stitches in various soft colourful yarns. Liberty Wiltshire Berry Tana Lawn fabric lines the interior of the wrap and the sections are made from a raspberry hand dyed linen fabric. To keep all the crochet hooks secure, the top of the wrap flaps over inside and a length of soft blue ribbon wraps around and tucks into the ribbon with a white button.
The crochet wrap comes gift packaged in a 1250 micron kraft silver wire stitched box and a white linen dust bag that can double up to keep little bits and bobs in.
*Please note that the dyed fabric, buttons and fabric prints may differ slightly on each product, due to each product being individually handmade*
Size: 100mm x 175mm x 30mm
The Handmade Crochet Wrap is just one of the beautiful Rag Button products Heather creates. Made to order, it costs £34.50 plus shipping. The Rag Button website www.ragbutton.co.uk is currently being built and should be up and running by the time we’ve published but if not, you can order directly from Heather via her social media accounts. Find Rag Button on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Artysmarty Handmade Jewellery
Artysmarty is an independent Irish jewellery company. Inspired by a love of flora, fauna and vibrant colour, each individual piece is made by hand in Dublin. Angela Cuthill is the designer behind these pieces, specialising in modern design, she finds that her most exciting work comes from spending time in the rural wilds and drawing themes from nature.
Fun, entertaining and a bit frivolous, Artysmarty’s pieces utilise simple materials but represented in new ways. Wood and resin are the base materials, skilfully crafted into funky, wearable jewellery that catches the eye and brings an Irish winter coat right up to date.
Angela’s creative roots are in ceramics, and earthy materials remain a large part of her style. With a passion for the playful, she makes sure each design is fun to wear, and her customers often find that wearing one of her Artysmarty brooches sets up a craving that only another brooch can satisfy!
In 2018, Angela teamed up with independent Irish print and design gallery Jam Art Factory. Seeking to grow the business, it was a natural move to find other independent designers in the city and join forces. Jam Art Factory is proudly the primary stockist of Artysmarty, always championing accessible Irish design that draws a smile.
Prices start from €12.95 plus shipping and if you’re unable to visit the Jam Art Factory in person you can purchase directly from the website artysmartyshop.com To keep up-to-date with all things Artysmarty find them on Facebook and Instagram.
KoPoUK – Stitch Markers
Liz is the owner and maker behind KoPoUK. If you hadn’t guessed already, the shop name comes from the abbreviation of “Knit One Purl One”, and the location of where Liz lives – the U.K!
Liz loves to create beautiful and unusual sets of markers that can’t be found elsewhere. Whatever type of stitch marker you prefer, she can make it – whether its simple closed rings, wire beaded or pretty dangly sets. Themed sets are a speciality, bringing together charms & beads to make a story.
Specialising in stitch markers, notions & other goodies for the yarn enthusiast, we immediately got in contact with Liz after seeing her Reminder Stitch Markers. Perfect for remembering where you are in your pattern the 8-piece set includes; SSK, Y/O, K2T, P2T, MIR, M1L, M1, S1 plus an additional R/S marker on a lobster clasp, ideal for when you’re knitting in Garter Stitch. There is a co-ordinating set of Increase and Decrease Markers available too. Both sets of charms have been attached to a silver-plated closed ring of 9mm internal diameter (size C), but Liz is happy to change this if you would prefer and has several different options available, details of which can be found o the listings in her Etsy Shop. The Reminder Stitch Markers cost £7.50 plus shipping from the KoPoUK Etsy Shop.
Brighter Communities Worldwide – Handmade Items from Kenya
This is the first time we’ve mentioned a charitable organisation in this section but having seen some of the items on sale at a Christmas Craft fair recently, we wanted to learn more about the work the charity does.
Brighter Communities Worldwide is an Irish based community development organisation which works in Kenya. Their vision is a world where strong, healthy communities can thrive, building sustainable livelihoods and brighter futures for all. The community development model they use creates an enabling environment for communities to realise change and uses a partnership-based approach to deliver programmes that meet the needs of communities and individuals. Creating brighter communities means ensuring:
Access to good, affordable healthcare
Education to help people find a job and be able to articulate their needs
An income that can sustain a family
Healthier lives with a supply of clean water and better facilities
Investing in women and girls to build stronger communities.
Brighter Communities Worldwide fund their work through a variety of sources, government donors and philanthropists but a lot of money comes through fundraising and donations from the public. As part of their fundraising, they source beautifully crafted items from Kenya to sell from their office, at craft fairs and online. On their online shop you can read about the crafts people who create them, choose pieces for yourself or as gifts for friends. Purchases made support the producers and the profits made support Brighter Communities Worldwide’s work in Kenya.
The dolls pictured for example are linked with Brighter Communities Worldwide’s Maternal and Newborn Health programme. This programme aims to prevent needless deaths by improving access to maternal and child health services in rural communities in Kericho County, Kenya. Many women in this region still deliver at home with no skilled help and don’t attend clinics throughout their pregnancy. The number of women dying from complications during pregnancy or birth is quite high. Evidence shows that by women attending antenatal clinic visits; they are more informed about pregnancy, issues that may occur during pregnancy, family planning and are more likely to deliver in a health facility which in turn leads to less women dying due to complications in labour. Brighter Communities Worldwide’s Maternal and Newborn Health programme focuses on three levels by running courses with members of the community – to encourage women to attend clinics and give birth in a health facility; training Community Health Workers – to recognise signs of complications; and Health Clinic staff to improve their skills in dealing with complications and emergencies.