ShanOre Claddagh birthstone ring I cannot count how many times, we've had a customer ask "where to you get all this?" Good question! Terry buys from many places, including Ireland, Scotland, England, and even trade shows in New York and Las Vegas. Let's take a look at where she buys some of the exclusive treasures you love. Ireland: Once a year in Dublin there is a trade show called Showcase Dublin, billed as "the best of Irish creativity in one of Europe's most vibrant cities"; where artists and craftspeople from Ireland congregate to set up a booth to showcase (see?) their goods. Among these are some familiar names: Branigan Weavers, Jimmy Hourihan, John Hanly, Mucros Weavers, Mullingar pewter ShanOre Irish Jewelers, Fado Jewelry, and Hannah Hats. This is also where Ireland's best and brightest new artists, craftspeople and designers come to present their goods for sale to shopkeepers around the globe. Some of the individual artisans Terry has found there include: Skaramanda jewelry, Ian Carty ceramics, Ian Carty Ceramics Candle Pot BombyxMORI silk and felted wool scarves, and Siobhan hats and capes. Great Britain: Many of the pieces from Great Britain are companies that are at Showcase Dublin such as: A E Williams Pewter, St. Justin Pewter from Cornwall, and many others. New York: There are a multitude of trade shows in New York, recently Terry has been travelling there to gather pieces from all over, to increase the fair trade collections in The Celtic Ranch. Among these are: Copper and tin ornaments from Thailand and India, and leather goods from India. While these are not specifically Irish companies, they embody the Irish spirit of supporting small artists. These pieces come from companies who improve the quality of life of small villages, creating a means of support, and in many cases enabling schools and housing to be built for the residents by selling the goods they make. Caring for each other, seeing each person as a treasure: definitely Irish, very much The Celtic Ranch. She has also found some companies making quality scarves and t-shirts, which complement Irish sweaters beautifully, and several jewelry businesses, one of which is producing some of our own designs. Las Vegas: Yowza! One of the largest markets in the country takes place in Las Vegas, and it is HUGE (think several football fields). This has been a resource for some of the more whimsical gift lines, many of which are in our forest. Little notebooks, fairy statues, gnomes, and of course more clothing to complement the Irish sweaters. US small artisans: Terry has found several small artisans who create the pieces you see in the store; our nail crosses, hearts, nativities are designed by well known artist Travis Burford, who has passed away, but whose legacy lives on. Terry also sources smaller businesses to purchase the wooden signs, and the horseshoe pieces. So, where do we get these treasures? EVERYWHERE! Terry is a busy traveller and cherry picks the best from all over just for YOU.
Mucros Weavers Scarves in the colors of Ireland. Several years ago I went with Terry to Ireland to get a feel for the country, and learn about the people and products sold at The Celtic Ranch. The first day we visited Mucros was a drizzly gray day, the foliage was a deep green, and I fell in love. Killarney was my favorite spot, especially Killarney National Park, which has inspired generations of artists and craftsmen to create pieces that combine function and beauty in a way only the Irish can. Famed for its mountains, streams, waterfall, ancient trees, and breathtaking scenery it is also host to Muckross House, keeper of tradition and history. Along with the gardens, the mansion, farmstead, historical library and book bindery is Mucros Weavers. Under the spell of his surroundings John Cahill, Master Weaver, combines tradition and fashion to create hats, scarves, and fabrics whose quality and beauty are so captivating they’ve become a staple in shops specializing in Irish goods all over the world. John Cahill has presided over the textiles produced at Mucros Weavers for over 30 years, having begun in the 1970s after attending Galashiels Technical College for weaving. He combs the world for the finest yarns, and hand picks or designs each one to his exacting specifications. To create their popular scarves, John uses looms that are two hundred years old which have been mechanized to increase productivity. During our visit we got to go into the yarn room, a cache of color and texture, with carefully organized spools of yarn lining shelves almost to the ceiling. YES WE GOT TO TOUCH THEM! There were soft alpaca, suri alpaca, and mohair yarns, alongside slick viscose yarns , and nubby woolen boucle yarns in the colors of the mountains, forests, and skies of Kerry. If you have the good fortune to meet John in person, you’ll find he’s a pure delight, soft spoken and reticent until he starts talking about weaving, then wham! His eyes sparkle and he becomes animated, sharing his love of his craft til you can’t help but want to get behind a loom. To see a little piece of what I’m talking about, check out our video: John Cahill, Mucros Weavers The scarves are woven as one long piece, then cut into lengths and tied at the ends to create the fringe. This technique produces a scarf unlikely to unravel, due to the fact that there are no sewn ends or edges. Each scarf has a selvage (a self-finished edge) which is why a Mucros Weavers scarf is uniquely durable and beautiful. A Mucros Weavers scarf does more than warm you in the winter chill, or add a touch of color and style. Thanks to the artistry of John Cahill, you’re wrapping yourself in the trees, streams, mountains and skies of County Kerry. This blog is part of a series about Muckross House, it's history and crafts, keep checking back for more!