Irish Independent: Made in Wicklow Digital Craft Trail Launches

Irish Independent: See photos as ‘Made In Wicklow’ digital craft trail launches |

Over 250 people attended the launch of Wicklow’s inaugural digital craft trail at Powerscourt in Enniskerry on Thursday morning, showcasing 41 local skilled craft practitioners and artisans.

The launch of County Wicklow Partnership and Wicklow Craft Foundation’s ‘Made in Wicklow: Head, Heart and Hands’ aptly fell on St Brigid’s Day, and was accompanied by a free five-day exhibition at Powerscourt held over the bank holiday weekend.

This project showcases the skills, originality, and creativity of craft makers in County Wicklow and offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in a visual exploration of the people and places behind local beautifully made craft pieces.

Evelyn Murray, Rural Development Officer with County Wicklow Partnership, was delighted with the outcome of the launch, especially considering all the work that went into preparing for the event.

She said: “We had a really strong attendance and they day couldn’t have gone any better. We kept things very craft orientated, and a number of the crafters and artisans present commented on how they couldn’t believe their works were being shown in such a wonderful place. We also produced 19 videos which are on the website, with four minutes dedicated to each crafter. They make for a very enjoyable cup of coffee. It’s real people telling their story of why they do what they do.

“We also ran 26 craft workshops in the lead-up to the launch, which all sold-out within a matter of days. Margaret Birchall of Wicklow Library Service also spoke at the launch about the impact of the workshops.

“We are also involved in a community project on the history of pottery in Arklow, and Christien van Bussel is leading that, and we recently purchased three pottery wheels. We have also purchased 39 museum quality plinths for our crafters to use for exhibitions or if they feature at events such as Showcase in the RDS.”

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris carried out the official launch, stating: “This is a fantastic project and exhibition. I was so proud to launch it this morning in Powerscourt, one of Ireland’s national treasures. What this project showcases is the talent, creativity and skills of craft practitioners and people in County Wicklow.

“Last year I launched the Wicklow Craft Strategy in Russborough House, another day where we showcased the beauty of Wicklow and the work of so many craft practitioners there too. We are so lucky in this beautiful county to have so many talented people and today we take that talent to the next level.

“Today we are harnessing the strategy launched last year and from that deliver some progress in the form of this fantastic project. This project puts on exhibition the work of 41 of our county’s skilled craft practitioners and artisans to try and present a curated display of our county’s unique, excellent and diverse craftsmanship.

“I am delighted that this project was funded through the Department of Rural and Community Development’s LEADER Rural development programme with a €133,000 fund. One of the really exciting aspects of this platform was the section on ‘recommended buy’, a section that highlights the importance of business and retail in our county supporting or craft industry.”

The website is now live and features 41 individual crafters and six craft shops and one craft hub, which provide spaces for crafters to work from. The individual listings on the website contain details of what each crafter does, links to their websites and contact details.

February 02, 2024 — Eleanor Swan

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