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Image / Editorial

Meet The Exciting Irish Designers Selected For Kilkenny Shop Open Call

Sponsored By

by Megan Burns
04th Feb 2018
Sponsored By

Kilkenny Shop Nassau Street is welcoming five new Irish craftspeople, artists and design brands to its store for a special six-week pop-up event. Each earned their place as part of Kilkenny’s Open Call campaign, which invited emerging makers across Ireland to apply for the chance to be stocked in the iconic Irish design and craft shop. The winners, who represent the disciplines of homeware, pottery, jewellery and art, will receive mentoring as well as advice on growing their businesses and entering the competitive retail market. Meet…

Sam agus Nessa

Creative couple Sam and Nessa packed in their life in London and moved to Ireland to set up their business. Based in county Kildare, they create expressive homeware by hand from locally-sourced Irish timber. “When we decided to shift our focus from larger furniture pieces to fun and quirky smaller pieces, we dreamed of seeing our work in Kilkenny,” explains Nessa. “When we heard about Open Call we were so excited. To get the chance for a sit down meeting with the buyers was amazing and an opportunity we definitely had to go for.” The couple were “over the moon” when they discovered they had been selected, and have found the advice they received about developing their branding to be hugely helpful. They’re looking forward to visiting their products in-store, and getting a chance to interact with customers. Shop Sam agus Nessa here.


Helen Faulkner Ceramics

Belfast native Helen Faulkner creates bright tableware by hand in her studio in Northern Ireland, inspired by her love of food and how it brings people together. She entered Open Call as she feels it can be intimidating to approach retailers, so the opportunity to be invited to show her work was very exciting.  Helen was delighted to be chosen, and hopes that it will introduce her work to a new audience. “It also gives me a vote of confidence that people do want handmade pottery in their homes. As a maker working alone in a studio it can be hard sometimes to see if your hard work is paying off.” It’s an exciting start to what will be a busy year for Helen. 2018 will be her first full year in her new Belfast studio, where she will be developing new pieces to add to her range, such as butter dishes and casserole dishes. Shop Helen Faulkner Ceramics here.


Yvonne Ryan

Dublin-based jewellery designer Yvonne Ryan crafts her pieces by hand from silver, gold and diamonds. Contemporary with a hint of classical, each piece is reminiscent of a mini-sculpture, and stands out as something beyond the ordinary. Yvonne also re-melts and recycles waste material where possible in her Ballsbridge studio. She sees her selection for Open Call as the perfect launchpad for her future plans. Yvonne has exciting new designs in the pipeline, as well as the expansion of the commission side of her business, where she makes beautiful custom designs. She is delighted to have the opportunity “to bring my jewellery to people who love good quality Irish design. The Kilkenny Shop seal of approval is in itself a massive benefit for an expanding business like mine.” Shop Yvonne Ryan jewellery here.


Wild Oats

Founded by Deirdre Meany and Karen Cottier in Lismore, county Waterford, Wild Oats uses the soothing quality of oats to care for your skin. The brand uses Flahavan’s Organic Oats for all their soaps and bath milks are made in Waterford. Karen explains that the duo is hugely excited at the prospect of being stocked in the Kilkenny Shop. “It was an unbelievable feeling to find out we had been chosen, and get an endorsement from such a prestigious Irish retailer. We definitely had a glass or two to celebrate!” Looking forward to a busy year, they are planning new additions to their popular Body & Bath Oil range and continuing to roll out their trio of decadent Bath Milks so they are available nationwide. “We are constantly scouring the countryside for new botanicals and flowers to use in our products and hope to have news later in the year on a terrific new collaboration in that department.” Shop Wild Oats here.


Eoin O’Connor

An artist based in Aughrim, County Wicklow, Eoin’s work is known for its bold tones and powerful lines portraying Irish landscapes. He is thrilled about the prospect of having his work stocked by Kilkenny. “They care about the artists and makers, and that is very important to me. Working with them will raise my profile, and it’s a great opportunity to have my prints alongside Ireland’s top brands.” He is currently working on a series of paintings for a major exhibition in July, and is also revamping his two galleries in Mount Usher gardens and Gorey. Shop Eoin O’Connor here.

To see the chosen designers’ products, visit Kilkenny Shop Nassau Street until March 2, or go to to shop online.