Irish makers you need to know about (because they're at the top of the design world)

Ireland is full of internationally acclaimed makers, but it's easy for us at home to forget about the amazing creatives here on our doorstep. We round up some of our favourite talent around the country. 


It's no secret that Ireland punches well above its weight when it comes to talented creatives. From painting to pottery, and weaving to woodwork, we're well-represented across the board.

Ahead of our annual Design Awards next week, we look back at some of the makers who have won our coveted Best Collector's piece award, as well as a look at one of this year's nominees.

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Irish makersPhotography: Nathalie Marquez Courtney

Cara Murphy

Cara Murphy creates beautiful silver pieces in her Co Down studio, from sculptures to functional pieces such as candle holders and tableware. She took her work in a different direction with this series of bowls, combining her silver work with enamel decoration, giving them their vivid colours.

Each bowl is formed by putting a sheet of silver in a hydraulic press, a process that is called deep drawing. Cara then engraves patterns on the bowl. To add the enamel layer, she uses a quill to make a very fine layer of ground glass particles on the surface, and then fires it in the kiln. She usually repeats this process around three times using transparent enamel, so the surface of the silver is still visible through the colour. Cara was a winner at our 2017 Design Awards for these beautiful bowls.

Irish makersPhotography: Aoife Herrity

Sasha Sykes

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Although she originally trained as an architect, Sasha Sykes is now known for her stunning resin creations, suspending natural materials in time and space to mesmerising effect. Working from her Dublin studio, she crafts her pieces by hand, in a complex process.

From small pieces such as paperweights to large pieces of furniture such as room dividers and tables, Sasha's work is as varied as the natural materials she incorporates into them. She is nominated in the Best Collector's Piece category in this year's Image Interiors & Living Design Awards.

Irish makersPhotography: Glenn Norwood

Sarah Flynn

The sculptural ceramics that Sarah Flynn produces have gained an international following. Notably, she was was shortlisted for the inaugural Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, and she is now on the Experts Panel, she says that “The privilege of seeing so much world-class work is genuinely inspiring.”

Sarah is also quick to credit her loyal collectors: “It is the ultimate compliment when someone spends their hard-earned money on a piece that I have made,” she adds. Her work earned her the 2018 Best Collector's Piece title.

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Irish makersPhotography: Al Higgins

Derek Wilson 

Belfast-based Derek Wilson creates uniquely geometrical ceramics. He tends to makes pieces in groups, producing perhaps three or four pieces at a time, so they naturally have a connection to one another. With these sculptural pieces, he explains that there is "a sense of challenging and pushing the possibilities of a process." He won the Best Collector's Piece title at the 2016 Design Awards.

The 2019 Image Interiors & Living Design Awards are fast approaching, and if you'd like to join us for an incredible afternoon celebrating the best and brightest in Irish Design, you can purchase a ticket here. The three-course meal and awards ceremony will include a drinks reception, followed by the awards and lunch. There will also be a luxury gift bag for every attendee.

Design Awards

Featured image: Bloom! Screen by Sasha Sykes, photography by Rory Moore

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