I have never attended Showcase before. It is an artisan trade fair in Dublin, Ireland that is a real delight. There are hundreds of craftspeople here, showing their creativity in materials like pottery and porcelain, wood and paper, metal and wool. There is tableware and lighting, greeting cards and clothing, throws and pillows. It’s an interesting mix, housed in the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) building just a few blocks walk from my hotel. The picture at left shows the entrance to Showcase.
Sometimes I look at artisan products and I cringe because it is clear that the craftsperson is stuck somewhere in history. They just can’t move beyond what they have always done. Happily, that is not much the case here in Dublin. Today I saw fascinating techniques and products, interesting finishes and forward colors. Here are a few of my favorite products.
Myrtle Stoddart’s handbags are made of beautifully colored fabric. Each is handcrafted and unique, with appliqués representing abstract notions like how life energy ebbs and flows. She designs these attachments using scrap materials recycled from the bags themselves—bits of wool or silk, threads and so on—for 0% production waste.
Myrtle is inspired by many things, but first among them is color therapy. Based on her prior work in a health store, she came to believe in the healing power of color (a woman after my own heart!). Her range reflects the colors of the body’s charkas. Choose your handbag based on the vibrational message that feels right, for example, a Turquoise bag to denote self-expression. I snapped a picture of Myrtle in her stand that you can see above.
At first I wasn’t certain why Roger Bennett Woodturner’s stand grabbed my attention. The space was quite small, but something in it sparkled. It did so in a subtle way that made me want to look closer.
It turns out the luster came from pinpoints of silver, embedded into maple stained in inky Indigo, so dark as to appear almost Black. Not only were the forms low and graceful, but so were the patterns of embedded silver. These are some of the most sophisticated wood vessels I have seen in a long time.
Celtic Roots Studio makes portable lamps from bog yew that is more than 4,000 years old, and bog oak that is more than 5,000 years old. The forms are remarkable. In some pieces, the wood comes in streamlined lamp bases that feel more like found wood than formed wood. Other pieces look like pieces of a small tree trunk were sliced up into irregular discs, then laser engraved with Celtic designs that bring a whole new feeling to natural wood. I thought the shade chosen for this one was a particularly good fit.
Tomorrow I will give three trend presentations at Showcase. The first will be to artisans at 8:30. These craftspeople are on a tight schedule and must be to their stands for the 9:30 open, so I don’t dare run over. The second talk is for retailers at 10am. I think they will be equally anxious to get back onto the trade show floor. But at 12 noon I will have more than 120 students from colleges and universities in the area who are coming for an open session to talk about color and design trends. I intend to stay in the seminar room until everyone has had a chance to ask their question. I can’t wait!