Meet the Makers
We are proud to support small creative businesses and when you shop with us, you support them too. Each of our wonderful makers has their own story to tell, so here we meet the people behind the products.
Adele originally studied fine art, dismaying her tutors by insisting on painting wildlife. The inspiration for all her work is the natural world. Central to this is her ongoing practice of drawing from life. Whether drawing wintering birds through a telescope or clipping magnifiers to her glasses to study insects in her garden, she still insists on drawing wildlife.
It is this careful study, observation and research that enables Adele to design her paper art creations. Immediately recognisable species are depicted through the use of simple shapes and colours. Each design is a learning process that expands Adele's self taught paper engineering skills, and reveals new ideas and possibilities for the next.
Adele has received a number awards and bursaries from Arts Council NI, Ards and North Down Borough Council and the Society of Wildlife Artists. She has taken part in numerous artist's residencies some specifically wildlife focused, such as the John Busby Seabird Drawing course and the Ayatana Research Residency “Parliament of Owls” in Quebec, Canada.
Amy Higgins Fine Art
Amy Higgins is a fine artist and craft maker working from her studio in East Belfast; Queen Street Studios.
A University of Ulster graduate, Amy has a BA Hons in Fine Art and a Masters of Fine Art, and her pieces have featured in a number of exhibitions across Belfast and beyond. Her work also features in both private and public collections, including at Stormont for the Civil Service's collection.
Alongside her painting practice, Amy runs a craft making business, offering handmade greeting cards, embroidered pieces, painting prints, wedding stationary and original illustrations, which are often created with vivid colours and pattern, which come together to create a kooky, unusual thing. She also creates bespoke pieces upon request.
Andrea Hayes Textile Art
Based in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Andrea has been a practicing textile artist for over 15 years, producing a range of small-scale pieces which are best described as collage with contrasting elements of paint, fabric, material and thread.
Each piece is a unique collage created in Andrea’s distinctive style; hand painted, layered with appliquéd hand dyed fabrics, combined with metallic flakes, threads and copper fragments and then delicately finished with hand and machine embroidery.
Andrea is inspired by her surroundings and the Irish landscape and within each piece, aims to capture the beauty of the land, both visually and emotionally, with her distinctive style.
“I am fascinated by the vast array of textures, colours and dramatic skylines within our coastlines and landscapes,” she explains.
Andrea completed a Textile Art Degree in the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and has exhibited extensively since then. Her pieces have been showcased in a number of selected exhibitions such as Royal Ulster Academy, Crafts Council of Ireland, International Textile Exhibition and National Crafts Competition, and she has won numerous textile awards. She is also a part-time tutor at South West College, teaching arts and crafts in the community.
Ashleigh Stoneman is a self-taught watercolour artist based in Donaghadee, Co. Down. She started her business in 2018 as a bit of fun while she was enjoying maternity leave.
“I began by painting pet portraits for friends, and with the help of social media, it took off better than I could have imagined. I slowly gained the confidence to produce a small selection of my own original artwork, which is mainly animal related,” Ashleigh explains.
Having recently had her second baby and moved to the countryside Ashleigh is finding new inspiration from her surroundings.
She continues to commission pet portraits, family illustrations and bridal bouquet illustrations while raising her young family and dreams of building a studio at her new home where she can teach her own watercolour classes in the future.
Bán íon Soap
A Master Herbalist, with a diploma in Aromatherapy, Karen, founder and owner of Bán íon Soap, lives with her husband of 32 years and their two dogs Dempsey and Penny in Bán íon Cottage, nestled in the countryside of County Armagh, Northern Ireland. She has two grown up children and two grandsons, and family has always been an integral part of the ethos of her business.
‘Soap making has allowed me to incorporate teachings from my own grandmother and share my knowledge of healing your body through natural, holistic remedies and aromatherapy. It’s also important that my kids and grandchildren see a woman-owned business in action. I want them to see how hard work and diligence can pay off and to learn the importance of small business in their community,’ explains Karen.
From the outset it was a conscious decision that the soaps were nature inspired, using sustainable, paraben free ingredients, good for the customer and the environment.
‘Soaps are made in small batches with zero waste, wrapped and stamped by hand, giving it a hand crafted look, which is so key to the brand.’
Karen makes all the soaps herself and is constantly experimenting with different combinations and finding inspiration in the therapeutic properties of natural products.
Currently looking at how to stretch the brand, Karen emphasises, ‘The highest quality is the most important thing to me, so I want to make sure I provide this before I add more product categories. I will definitely be expanding my Shampoo Bar range this year and also formulating a hand cream that complements our soap range.’
Tracey is a polymer clay artist based in County Down, Northern Ireland. She has been designing and making jewellery for over eight years. Using different clay techniques, she creates pieces that are unique with an appealing simplicity and distinctiveness.
As well as creating jewellery for retail, she has been running polymer clay workshops for several years and leading craft classes within community groups. She enjoys taking a technique and simplifying the process to allow participants of all skill levels to create a piece from scratch.
She loved seeing the enjoyment people had from wearing a necklace or bracelet they’d created. So over lockdown started to create a line of DIY craft kits, to allow people to learn for themselves, at home, some of the simpler techniques she uses to create my polymer clay jewellery.
Married with a son and daughter, Tracey lives in Newtownards. She was an Economist within the Civil Service for fifteen years before leaving to return to study and now work for a small NI charity, allowing her time to pursue jewellery making, hold classes and develop her kits. Tracey is also a keen wood-turner, slowly learning the skills needed to work with wood and enjoying the creative processes of this medium.
Candles Coasters Crafts
Tanya is a candle and crafts maker based in Belfast. She made her first candle around the age of 10 years when she received a candle making kit for Christmas. Setting up her small business at the start of 2020, she makes candles and coasters in all her spare time, putting care and attention into every product.
‘After doing some research a few years ago, I realised despite burning a tonne of candles, I was not sure what went into them or where or how they were being made,’ Tanya explains.
‘Something I can guarantee with my items is a sustainably made product – using sustainable waxes such as soy wax and beeswax for my candles, upcycling old drink bottles into glassware for candles, using environmentally friendly packaging and even reusing some packaging I receive.’
The inspiration for much of Tanya’s range comes from our wee country, with her core candle range featuring some colloquialisms, her personal favourite being the clean cotton scented ‘Good Drying Weather’ a popular choice with the Irish mammies!
Celtic Bay Crafts
Martin and Cheryl at Celtic Bay Crafts have been producing their wooden shell boxes since 2020. Cheryl is native to Northern Ireland and returned here with her husband Martin after being away in England for some thirty years.
Their journey began when they found a very old shell-covered box at a car boot sale one day and loved it. They decided there and then to take the idea forward in their own way. ‘We wanted to produce boxes, that although small, could become central to someone’s life or to a family life - a place to keep jewellery and, more than that, a place in which to store precious mementos collected throughout life: locks of hair, a stamp, an old photo or two, a baby tooth, an old badge, a toy soldier…,’ explains Martin.
Cheryl adds, ‘We love natural things and love the intricate patterns and delicate shapes of shells. We have loved collecting them, occasionally coming across a more unusual shell such as a Painted Topshell or a Pelican’s Foot - sometimes even coming across ancient middens and taking a few shells from the thousands left there by ancient people.’
The design of the lid of each box is as unique as each shell. Sometimes the duo arrange the shells as eggs or butterflies might be arranged in a museum display case; sometimes in a pattern that will accentuate a particular shell. And now they are moving towards the natural clustering of shells on the bottom of a rockpool or the edge of a lough or bed of a river.
Each box comes from one particular place so that if people have connections with, or memories of a place, they can know that their box comes from there – all of the shells and some of the beach’s sand used in the mix of the lid surface.
Using mainly oak for the box to ensure they last a lifetime, the couple wanted to keep the designs simple and timeless so that they would appeal to someone now, and who knows, would appeal to someone a few thousand years ago…
Clay & Rope
Claire Dunwoody is the owner of NodoKnots, with a studio in Bangor, Co. Down. She designs simple Macramé for you to try at home to teach you the basic knots, and more advanced pieces to develop your skills. She also runs workshops Boom Studios in Bangor, and creates bespoke Macramé pieces.
Rebecca Drysdale is the founder of Drysdale Ceramics, with a studio from Boom Studios in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Rebecca teaches thrown pottery to the local community making it more accessible and affordable for all ages and families; as well as making functional ceramic pieces and vessels.
Clay and Rope began as a skill sharing project within Boom Studios. When ceramicist Rebecca attended a macramé class, and Macramé artist Claire learnt how to hand throw clay pots. Both were hooked on the others medium!
Darren Lyttle - Snazzeroo
Darren Lyttle from Snazzeroo is a creative with a background in graphic design and an innate passion for illustration and capturing the distinct essence of his subject matter. Art, and anything associated with it, has run in his veins for as long as he can remember, and he counts himself fortunate to be making a career out of doing what he loves most.
From Bangor and living in Donaghadee, he has always had an affinity with the coastline and the great outdoors, which inspired the merging of his passion for design and illustration with coastal locations and landmarks.
‘In graphic design, the task is always to communicate the visual as efficiently as possible. I translate this concept to my collection of prints, challenging myself to distil the elements of each location in both shape and colour, while retaining the unique essence of the location. And in a stylised way, the elements you cannot see are as significant as the parts you can,’ explains Darren.
He is currently working his way round the coastline, capturing memorable locations and landmarks, and translating them into his signature graphic style.
Dog Star Silver
Dog Star Silver is handmade in East Belfast by Louisa McCartney – where she lives with her husband and two little girls. Always interested in art, design and jewellery making in particular, lockdown gave her the opportunity to spend more time making things for friends and family, but it was an experiment with a medium called silver clay that led her to start create her original designs.
She says: ‘I have always adored jewellery making, the great outdoors and the beauty of the place where I’m from, and I feel so lucky to be able to combine these three things. To make my pendants and earrings I use metal clay, magic stuff formed using tiny particles of reclaimed and recycled fine silver. I use the clay to pick up textures from moulds I make and fabric and lace I collect, before cutting and shaping each item. Then once each piece is dry the alchemy begins!
'As they're fired with a blowtorch the organic binders contained in the clay burn off leaving a product that is 99.9% pure fine silver. It’s an amazing process that has given me the freedom to let my imagination run wild and make jewellery featuring everything from the Mourne Mountains to the Causeway Coast, as well as the sky and nature we see around us every day.
'The entire process takes place in my kitchen, so it really is handmade from scratch, and each piece of jewellery is slightly different and completely unique to its owner.’
Frances McKenna Art
Born near Navanfort in Armagh in 1970, Frances McKenna graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art from the University of Ulster at Belfast.
Throughout her art career, Frances has achieved many awards for her work, including first prize of the Bass Ireland Award. Her major collectors include UTV, The Irish News, Northern Ireland Civil Service, Bass Ireland, Oifig an Taoiseach, and Armagh City Council, as well as many private collections. Frances has exhibited her work in various group and solo shows in galleries throughout Ireland.
Frances’s current paintings are her emotional and nostalgic response for her love of Donegal and her home in Armagh. Her work captures the atmosphere and energy of the moment.
‘Today my paintings are about portraying life’s beautiful energy. I want to move my viewer, to lift their spirits. I want them to be pulled into the painting and feel uplifted,’ explains Frances. ‘It is my hope that the viewer of my work can get lost in my paintings, with a sense of joy… To walk and lose oneself among the wild flowers in a vast open space of sunshine; to feel the wind in their face; listen to the sounds of the oceans; taste the sea salt in the air and the smells of Irish turf burning fires. To live among colour of every description. A little piece of heaven on earth.’
Franchine Young Ireland
The journey to create something healing, natural and good for her skin, began when Franchine was in her late forties, during hormonal skin changes. Suffering with an aggressive rash on her face which was not helped with typical medication, Franchine, who had in the past dabbled with creating her own ‘clean’ skin creams, began to research the possibilities of making her skincare solution.
Already armed with a knowledge of essential oils and plants, she began to research more deeply.
‘I chose a range of organic essential oils, known for their skin healing benefits, as well as sold ingredients that had for centuries been used to treat and heal the skin, in many different cultures,’ explains Franchine. ‘Over a matter of months, I trialled many combinations. Eventually I was confident in the perfect mix for my skin. Within weeks the rash on my face had completely disappeared.’
Out of this experiment, Franchine’s signature organic skincare Wonder Balm was born.
‘For thousands of years civilisations have turned to herbs to heal or to prevent conditions and ailments. Moreover, women for generations have passed down the advice, “if you can’t eat it, don’t use it on your skin”. Nature has always known the best. Here at Franchine Young Ireland, we believe the most results-focused skincare products and ingredients. We believe in drawing on the potency of nature to deliver gentle but effective daily skincare,” Franchine adds.
Jenny Baird Art
Jenny is a mixed media artist based in Bangor, Co Down. Although having a degree in English Literature and a Masters in Renaissance literature, Jenny’s passion always lay within the creative arts.
Jenny has exhibited work both in Northern and Southern Ireland. Her work features in both private and public collections - including that of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Jenny began her artistic journey as a printmaker, winning the Royal Ulster Academy ‘Printmakers’ prize twice. Although she still does a little printmaking, Jenny has turned her attention to mixed media art.
Jenny is married with three sons. A keen animal lover, she works from home where she is accompanied by her numerous furry and feathered friends. When not creating, you will find her in her garden tending to her veggies or planning what to plant next.
Jenny enjoys making original pieces of art that are a wee bit different, often incorporating quotes in her work and mixing stitching and painting. A mixed media approach makes each piece of art unique and allows for a wide creative scope. Every day brings a different creation. Whether it be recycling vintage tobacco tins, cutting flowers from recycled beer cans or using quotes from vintage books, there’s always something interesting on the horizon.
KB Art Room
Kerry Brady has had an obsession with drawing from a very young age, but when studying for her Masters, didn’t have as much time. During lockdown she rediscovered her passion and found art to be a great stress reliever. She became inspired by the wildlife she saw in her garden and while out walking.
‘I had always done pet portraits for my family and friends, but never had the courage to sell my work until this year,’ explains Kerry. ‘I also find drawing fur very therapeutic, which is why I mostly do animal drawings.’
Kerry enjoys playing about with different mediums so doesn’t conform to a particular style. She has recently developed her range of wildlife art to include home ware items including mugs, coasters and tote bags.
Laura Morwood is based in Hillsborough and loves to create objects that are at once beautiful and useful. Her focus is on handmade leather bags by hand and textiles, and she believes that the quality of materials makes the construction of the piece all that more special.
“My mind is usually buzzing with new ideas and things I want to make”, she says. “I adore colours and get inspired by nature. It is hard to improve on the colour combinations that are out there.”
Laura completed three City and Guilds diplomas in quilting and embroidery and over the last six years has done leatherwork courses in the Netherlands where she grew up.
“Working with leather requires precision and patience. Like textiles, it’s a tactile material which behaves in the way it wants to. It’s a challenge to come up with a design that is beautiful and functional at the same time.”
Laura sells her work through local craft shops and takes commissions from individuals, shops and restaurants. She also teaches crochet classes.
Caroline from Les Papillons lives in Co. Fermanagh with her family and a very gentle German Shepherd, an overfed cat and a geriatric gypsy cob who lets himself into the kitchen if she forgets to lock the door!
She enjoys painting skies and the natural landscape but has the most fun and satisfaction painting animals.
‘I've always painted, but an operation on my painting hand has left lasting which makes large scale painting almost impossible. Being compelled to paint drove the creation of my business. Painting small is less painful and provides me with a fulfilling creative outlet,’ explains Caroline.
Everything is an original miniature work of art to be worn and admired. Animal faces full of character, miniature garden scenes and landscapes make up most of Caroline’s work, She also makes personalised pieces.
Inspired by the mountains, sea and forests, every piece of Liloak jewellery is designed and handmade in Rostrevor, Co. Down by Sheila Murphy. Having worked for years in the music and theatre industries, Sheila moved back home in 2018 and set out to learn silversmithing.
‘Throughout my years of working on tours, I often found myself searching out green spaces in whatever city I would be working in… Now I make wee mementos of nature in silver, copper, brass and sea glass from the shores of Carlingford Lough.'
Liloak Jewellery aims to be that little connection to nature and home that you can wear no matter where you find yourself.
Ruth Gilmour has been an artist for many years and her paintings have been exhibited in Ireland, Barcelona, Lucerne, New York, and San Francisco. Recently alongside painting, Ruth also has been Silversmithing.
During the past year she had the opportunity to transfer her skills and passion for creativity and design to handcrafting jewellery and launched LUREsilver. She has had success to date selling her pieces at home as well as to customers in Ireland, Italy, Germany and the USA.
Producing her collections in her home studio in Banbridge, Co. Down, Ruth is inspired by the heritage and countryside at home in Northern Ireland. Her recent collection 19.5 has a strong familiarity as she draws on the shapes, patterns, textures found along the 19.5 miles of the Mourne wall. This collection is available in Sterling Silver either Matt, high shine or with Patina finish as well as 9ct Gold.
Ruth is registered at the London assay Office and all her work is hall marked and bears Ruth’s makers mark also.
Belfast native Frances Magee is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer. Frances trained in Art and Design at the York street campus of the University of Ulster specialising in creating sculpture in mixed media.
Having lived and travelled extensively across Europe, Frances has absorbed a modern European view on family living spaces. Creating a pared back interior aesthetic of her own which has proven popular amongst clients.
Frances has been developing macrame and hand weaving techniques for many years, producing unique finishing touch pieces for homes across the UK.
“There is nothing comparable to the tactile feel of the threads, as well as the rhythm of making knot after knot, until a piece takes form. On the most personal level, knotting gives me a chance to immerse myself in a very peaceful, private meditative process that allows me to create simple, elegant forms with bold, striking colours.”
The range of products has expanded to include linocut and monotype prints on earth friendly materials and is an extension of the botanical themes which have proved so popular with customers across residential and commercial settings.
Breathing new life into materials which are destined for landfill has become a mission for Frances. Giving a ‘second life’ to this previously discarded medium and sharing the creations with customers new and old has become a source of great joy.
Maggie Mcatamney is an award-winning designer/maker, artist and fully qualified art teacher. A University of Ulster graduate, Maggie has exhibited her paintings and textile art internationally and has 21 years’ experience of working in Art & Design, including her own fashion label in London and contemporary jewellery making.
Based in Belfast, Maggie is inspired by the magic of her Irish heritage and culture, and set up Mothú in April 2021, designing and producing jewellery and craft pieces through a method of laser cut digital craft.
“I really began to explore the historical patterns and motifs of ancient history in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland which gives me an excuse to get out and about with my camera capturing the colours and textures of a stunning landscape,” explains Maggie.
The result is a wonderful range of jewellery that combines history with contemporary design.
Natasha Ellison Photography
Based in Ballynahinch in County Down, Natasha Ellison has taken a step away from her career as a beauty therapist to concentrate on her passion of photography. Inspired by her grandfather who was a photographer, Natasha has had a keen interest for many years, and that interest was fuelled when her husband bought her a Nikon 3400 DSLR in 2017 – her first ‘real’ camera.
‘I began to get out more with the camera and after doing some digital photography courses, found I really, really loved it. Especially capturing nature, scenery and wildlife. I felt it helped force me to see the beauty in even the most seemingly uninspiring vistas,’ explains Natasha.
Natasha began selling her work at craft fairs and markets until the pandemic hit, and while these events were unfortunately cancelled, she was still able to get out and shoot and learn even more about the art.
Her work includes capturing wildlife and scenery from around Northern Ireland and further afield when travel wasn’t a problem!
Neruja is the face behind everything Neruja Sri. An engineer based in Coleraine, she discovered her creative side in 2021 and began making polymer clay earrings with bold and unique designs.
Taking extreme pride in everything she makes and does, Neruja wanted to create a brand and product that reflected her creative side. A big fan of accessories and adding colour to her life, Neruja particularly loves earrings with bold colours, patterns and shapes that add something special to whatever outfit she is wearing.
‘I am all about being unique,’ she says. ‘While I am a perfectionist, I have learnt to accept the imperfections of handmade products, adding uniqueness to every earring I create. For that reason, my brand is focused on making one-off products or small batches, making something special and unique each time.’
North Coast Captured
Lois is a mixed media Artist from the North Coast of Ireland.
Working with a wide range of mediums including watercolour, gouache, seaglass, beach finds and digital. Her scenes capture the North Coast landscape and are the inspiration for many pieces of her work. She loves to paint local scenes in a fun, bright and colourful way that capture the beauty of Northern Ireland.
Lois works from her home studio creating original art work and producing limited edition prints.
Print quality is of paramount importance and Lois maintains full control over this process, printing all pictures herself within her studio. All Prints are produced using archival quality inks on acid free paper. This not only enhances the durability but the quality too.
Lindy McCabe is a self-taught macramé and fibre artist who lives in Bangor with her family. Lindy has dabbled in crafting all her life and fell in love with macramé around four years ago. She established her small business ollie&roo and up until now has been selling her creations through word of mouth and at craft fairs. Her daughters also get involved – Eva deals with the social media side of the business and Ruby designs the artwork.
Lindy explains the appeal of macramé:
"I find the rhythmic nature of macramé incredibly absorbing. For me there's nothing better at the end of a busy day than relaxing with a box set and whatever piece I'm working on. It gives me such satisfaction to be able to work with the fibres and create something beautiful or useful that people want to have in their homes."
It's important to ollie&roo to be environmentally conscious. From the use of bamboo and recycled, ethically sourced fibres to the 100% recyclable packaging, Lindy and Ruby have sourced and selected everything for their environmental credentials.
ollie&roo are currently selling a colourful range of plant hangers and decorative macramé and will also have some one-off items available from time to time.
Original Coffee Scrub
Orla McKeating is an entrepreneur, coach and motivational speaker from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Her Original Coffee Scrub journey began with working towards eco-friendlier lifestyles. Going to zero waste shops. Using single use plastic. Using the car less and walking more. Using, re-using, re-cycling, up-upscaling and being kinder to our planet.
Mid lock-down 2021 she developed dry and itchy skin, woke up in the middle of the night scratching, which was really affecting her chill. Orla decided to re-use coffee grounds from Boden Park Coffee Roasters which she had set up with her father, Brian in 2015.
She says; ‘I trialled and tested, and tried some more, and realised that using this high quality, ethically sourced coffee, combined with other sustainable and natural ingredients, produced a great quality product which gave fast results.’
Orla now has three types of coffee scrub which offer an intense revitalising treatment to help remove dead skin cells, deeply cleanse, improve circulation, reduce inflammation while giving a healthy glow.
Partie de Moi
Stephanie, creator of Partie de Moi, lives in Portrush on Northern Ireland’s stunning North Coast. Her passion is baking and cooking which she finds both therapeutic and relaxing, and when she isn’t doing things with her two children and dog, she’s whipping up new dishes using her very own spice blend.
Growing up in Brussels, Stephanie’s parents regularly visited Christmas markets in Germany, went to American style school fairs at Thanksgiving and treated themselves to Speculooos biscuits from the famous Maison Dandoy in Brussels city centre.
It was these experiences that inspired her to make her own blend of spices, using ingredients from the supermarket. She tried them on sweet and savoury dishes with positive results and started to give her spice blend as presents. Encouraged by her friend Lois (from the wonderful North Coast Captured), Stephanie began to research how to develop her own Pumpkin Spice blend and make it unique.
Buying whole spices, she began to gently toast them to release the flavours and natural oils, before grinding them. After much research and testing among willing participants, the final product was complete.
Stephanie’s Artisan Pumpkin Spice is a blend of Ceylon cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, vanilla and cardamom, toasted and ground into a very fine powder and combined in a top-secret recipe. She has recently developed her range to include an Artisan Winter Spice, loosely based on the German lebkuchengewurz, a cookie spice blend
The blends are special because they have no added fillers like flour, salt or sugar. The spices are fresh, vegan and vegetarian. In 26g sachets they pack a punch with flavour, so a little goes a long way.
Atlantic Everything Seasoning and Artisan Sugar & Spice have also been added to her range, all of which add a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ to any dish.
Ricky Parker Photography
Ricky’s story begins with the purchase of a 2 mega-pixel camera in New York 20 years ago, which was followed by a major life-changing decision to escape the world of banking to follow his life’s passion and create Ricky Parker Photography.
Ricky's love for landscape photography is evident in the way he beautifully captures Northern Ireland scenery. This interest spilled into portrait photography and now he loves to combine the two where possible.
“My everyday is always different and that’s what motivates me and makes me tick. I love the fact my work often leads down roads I’ve never travelled before and even in a small country like Northern Ireland there is an abundance of stunning scenery to discover and capture.”
Róisín Mallon Art
Originally from Co. Mayo, from the age of 13, Róisín spent most of her life in England before moving to Northern Ireland in 2019. Happily settled in Bangor, Co. Down, she has been home educating her two children for over four years and works from home as a virtual assistant. When she can, she loves to chill out by creating art.
Lockdown allowed Róisín to tap back into her love for art and she quickly rediscovered the joy of the slow, gentle process of drawing and creating art.
‘I have a Zen-like approach to it,’ explains Róisín. ‘I like to be thoughtful and careful and just get lost in what I’m doing. Everything I make has that at the core. I also love to create things that I can look at time and time again, especially if it has a story behind it.’
Not restricting herself to one style of art, Róisín likes to experiment with different ways of enjoying the process of creating. Her range includes prints and cards of her white charcoal drawings, and prints of her acrylic paintings.
The stunning North Coast of Northern Ireland, specifically Portrush, is home to Rosie McElnay of Rosie’s Easel.
‘Painting has been woven throughout my life,’ explains Rosie, ‘inspired by the rolling green hills, sandy shores and crashing waves of the magical Island of Ireland.’
After completing her Art ‘A’ Level, Rosie set aside her love of art to pursue a career in healthcare but even when studying and working, always made time for her passion of painting. Her first collection was showcased in the Flowerfields Art Centre in Portstewart in 2019 and she has experienced the joy of being part of a community of fantastic makers and market on the north coast.
Her current map-inspired collection was born during lock-down and showcases scenes of her beautiful homeland. This collection has been featured by both Discover Ireland and Tourism Ireland in 2020.
Rosie’s work has also found homes across the globe, from ‘man caves’ in Ireland and Air BnBs in Australia to embassies in Europe. Scenes from beyond the Emerald Isle have joined her collection including from Scotland, England and USA. The breath-taking landscapes have been captured in acrylic paint using local maps as her canvas. Each painting is lovingly created in Portrush. ‘This is where colour meets coordinates.’
Seed & Flower
Seed & Flower was started by Sam in 2020, shortly after moving to Northern Ireland from the US. Her background is in the museum and heritage sector following her English and studio arts education and it was her love of travel that led Sam to first come to the UK to study in London, where she met her partner.
When she’s not making candles, Sam loves permaculture gardening, photography, yoga, and painting. She likes to use the garden as her inspiration when coming up with new scents and candle ideas. Sam’s studio art and design background has blended together with her love of all things sustainable and ethical to create a plastic-free and vegan candle brand with locally sourced materials.
“When first drafting and creating candle prototypes, it was really important that each candle was sourced in the most sustainable way possible, with no use of synthetic ingredients and only scented with essential oils,” explains Sam.
Each candle is carefully poured by Sam in her home studio. The wax used in Seed & Flower candles is unique because it comes from a coconut and rapeseed wax blend. Rapeseed wax is sourced from the UK and EU and is a fantastic plant that is used for everything from biofuels to cooking oil. Rapeseed is an excellent flowering plant for bees and other pollinators and is also beneficial to the health of the soil. Coconut is a minimally processed renewable ingredient that contributes a creamy quality to each candle.
Sam is currently working on expanding her candle range and scents to include even more recycled and repurposed products. She also hopes to add to her label collection using some of her own paintings in the future.
Stephen McCurdy Art
Born in Belfast in 1983, Stephen McCurdy loved dabbling in art when he was growing up. Spending much of his time at school and at home drawing or painting through the mediums of gouache, acrylics and pencil, Stephen was greatly inspired by his grandfather who was rarely seen without a paintbrush in his hand. His stylised technique and use of vibrant colour was something Stephen was drawn to and it was this that began to influence his own work.
“After spending six years in art exile,” explains Stephen, “the first lockdown of 2020 brought a new opportunity for me. I decided to pick up the pencil once again and I rediscovered my love of art, albeit in a digital format.”
Capturing vibrant and atmospheric scenes of Belfast and beyond, Stephen’s most notable subject matter is Belfast’s iconic Harland and Wolff cranes. He also creates commissioned pieces on request.
All Stephen’s work is Giclee printed using archival quality inks, bringing to life the colours and images for a premium finish and ready for framing.
The Snoring Crow
Fiona Macaulay is a self-taught jewellery maker from Ahoghill in Co. Antrim. She is married to Thomas, has a daughter at university called Rachael and a Lakeland Terrier named Angus.
Fiona’s interest in jewellery making only began before Christmas 2020 when she bought some tools and gemstones and soon The Snoring Crow was born. While she has never considered herself to be artistic, through jewellery making has unleased her inner creativity and is now thoroughly hooked.
Her pieces are one-off designs based on uniqueness, quality, and an original creative flair.
‘I love creating jewellery, using genuine gemstones, that is affordable and accessible to everyone,’ explains Fiona. ‘I have always been a gemstone enthusiast and love the colours, patterns, different textures and variations which are dependent on the country of origin. Most of all, the fact that these beautiful rocks are created by mother earth herself is captivating. We really do live in an amazing world.
‘I have realised that self-confidence, enjoying what I do and taking pride in my creations will stand by me, both now and in the future.’
Twisted & Rapt
Julie Murphy is a sculptor and printmaker based in Omagh. She set up ‘Twisted and Rapt’ this year as a way to share her love of wire sculpture through creating wire sculpture kits. She began using wire as a way of drawing in 3 dimensions around 10 years ago and has since developed her skills and has created works from the tiniest bird to a life size greyhound!
Julie graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in Fine Art and went on to study Art Therapy and believes passionately in the power of creativity to support people find healing and positivity. Her own art practice is important and she has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally.
The inspiration for her wire sculpture often comes from animals and nature and she finds that wire is a wonderful material for describing form and line, particularly the beautiful shapes of her own pet sighthounds. She is an avid collector of recycled and old rusty wire which finds new use in her work.
Drawing is at the heart of all her work and she pays attention to the anatomy of the animals and natural forms she creates. Recently she has begun to focus on creating works describing human anatomy in her wire sculpture and etchings.