WITH the interest in locally-made crafts, art and even artisan food, on the increase a new shopping phenomenon has spread south
Artists in West Cork have never been more visible: almost every town and village now has a dedicated exhibition space; more and more of the region’s weekly markets are featuring artists displaying their wares in tented stalls; and now Ballydehob and Kinsale have two bustling pop-up art and craft shops.
In Skibbereen, there is a more permanent home for local artists and that is at West Cork Crafts – a shop located right at the junction between Townshend Street, Bridge Street and Main Street. The attractive exterior of the building and the profusion of quality art and craftworks being sold in the shop has made it an overnight success.
Encouraged by the success of both the shop and the brisk business being done at markets, Judy Ratliff of Jude’s Chocolates formed a mini-collective to run Craft Works at Main Street, Ballydehob, and six other artists established the Pop-up Art Shop at Beggan’s Lane in Kinsale.
Cerri Moynihan of Fuschia Jewellery said: ‘It is no small undertaking to run two shops, which are open throughout the week, except Mondays in Ballydehob and Sundays in Kinsale.
‘It has been working really well because it is a real collective and the members are prepared to put in the hours to run the shops, meet the customers, and covey our passion for the art work and the craft products on display.’
Clearly, visitors to West Cork are enamoured by the displays and lots of people are seen leaving the shop with an assortment of small art works, or craft pieces, that will remind them of their visit to West Cork for a long time to come.
What is remarkable is that each item – from the handmade chocolates to the incredible product Bee’s Knees, a natural and organic product that is made in Durrus and is ‘a must have’ if you want to properly condition your leather wallets, purses and handbags – is made to the highest standard.
There is something for everyone at Craft Works including: pottery, wood products, paintings, baby clothes, jewellery, handmade soaps, felt work and stained glass.
There are six people involved in the Kinsale outlet include Cerri Moynihan, jeweller; Anne Marie McInerney, whose fine art seascape, particularly those of Baltimore, are already much sought after; Laura Wade’s beautiful ink drawings; Geraldine Kiernan’s landscapes in oils; as well as work by Kerry Collins who specialises in a retro style of painting; and photography by June Fairhead.
Cerri said: ‘Such is the quality of the arts and crafts being produced in West Cork they can be found in outlets the length and breadth of Ireland.’