Plea to buy local after ‘double hit’ on crafts and design sector

Consumers are being urged to fuel the recovery of Ireland’s crafts and design sector by replacing global shopping with locally-made Christmas gifts.

Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) says the industry, which supports 105,000 jobs, has been hit doubly hard by the pandemic and soaring energy costs.

Plea to buy local after 'double hit' on crafts and design sector

Rosemary Steen, CEO at Design & Crafts Council Ireland, at the opening of Gifted, the Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, which runs at the RDS from November 30 – December 04. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography.

Its CEO, Rosemary Steen, was speaking at the opening today (Nov30) of Gifted, the contemporary craft and design fair at Dublin’s RDS, which provides a lifeline to independent makers.

“We are urging everyone this Christmas, as part of our ‘Made Local, Made to Last’ campaign, to buy local before global, which is the best way of directly helping the craft and design industry’s full recovery post-Covid,” she said.

“The pandemic was extremely tough for independent craftspeople, but many, such as ceramists and glassmakers, use equipment such as electric kilns and furnaces at very high temperatures and are feeling the pressure again.

“By buying local gifts, you are helping to support makers to cope with the surge in the cost of energy and materials, on which their business is so dependent, so buying a gift from a local maker is akin to ‘double-gifting’ – to the recipient and to the maker.”

DCCI says 350 retailers and 1,393 makers nationwide have supported the campaign, launched last month to celebrate the skill and originality of local craft makers and the retail outlets supporting them.

Gifted is the traditional opening to the festive season in Dublin and features textiles, fashion, ceramics, jewellery, art, photography and children’s gifts.

Among the 400 exhibitors is Waterford-based jeweller Yvonne Ryan, who first learned her craft in as a child making copper wire jewellery in the loft of her Grandad’s house.

After a secondary school art teacher who was taking a course in jewellery-making encouraged her, Yvonne later went on to apprentice for a leading Irish designer before launching her own sustainably-sourced brand.

“No day is ever the same and I am very appreciative to all the people who support me and make it possible for me to continue creating my jewellery,” she said.

An estimated €5million will be spent during Gifted, which runs until Sunday evening, attracting up to 35,000 visitors.

“The Fair is a huge boost to the independent creative sector, it is vital to the industry as a whole and it is estimated that it generates enough business to keep many exhibitors busy for at least four months of the year,” said organiser, Patrick O’Sullivan. Full details and booking at www.giftedfair.ie.

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