IT’S that time of year again as artists, canvases in tow, start to crisscross county borders across Munster and beyond.
If you haven’t penned that Christmas present list yet, then maybe you’ll find it useful to venture into the gift-hunting paradise that is your local art and craft exhibition or show.
Picking up a piece of work by a local artist is to be recommended, particularly in November, when the province becomes a veritable gallery for its homegrown talent.
Going strong for 16 years now is the annual Evening of Wine & Art. Organised by Killarney Rotary Club, the Evening of Wine & Art always attracts art lovers and artists from Counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare and beyond.
Upwards of 800 people, of all ages, descend on the Great Southern Killarney for the event, which this year takes place on Thursday, November 21.
In fact, it’s become a fixture on the social calendar, confirms Killarney Rotary president Conor Griffin.
“The Evening of Wine & Art is always a sellout event and tickets are going fast,” he said.
So whether you want to nab a postcard-sized stocking filler or invest in a sizeable canvas, this is a date for your diary.
Your festive spree can be completed in one fell swoop, as crafts and Christmas cards are also on offer on the night.
Tasty treats as well as fine wines and beer are part of the occasion, with the event sponsored by Daly’s SuperValu and Killarney Brewing Company.
For further information on attending or exhibiting email firstname.lastname@example.org
Another must-visit art event takes place in Cork’s City Hall. Art Source Cork will be launched during the Gifted Craft and Design Fair (details of which thsi column revealed last week) from November 29 to December 1.
Art Source Cork will feature 20 of Ireland’s top artists and galleries showcasing affordable painting, sculpture, photography, illustration and ceramic and textile art.
Visitors can view the works of leading contemporary, abstract, portrait and landscape artists including visual paper artist Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova, Waterford’s Maria Tanner Cohen whose paintings explore the language of geometry and Kenmare-based oils artist John O’Sullivan.
Also based in Kenmare is photographer Norman McCloskey, who will feature at the fair.
Norman’s patience led him to the shot of a lifetime.
His photography has been featured in National Geographic and he has produced two books of photography that capture the beauty of Killarney National Park and the Beara peninsula respectively.
Skellig Moon, a once-in-a-lifetime shot of a full moon aligned with the Skellig Islands, is a testament to Norman’s’ persistence in the name of his craft.
“Skellig Moon took me three years to capture from the time I took my first attempt. On the morning that it all came together, there was stormy cloud cover. It was only by chance that the clouds broke for long enough for me to take the shot,” he said.
“Even to this day, people ask if the work is photoshopped, but I never tire of telling the story of how I got the shot.”
A Killarney artist with a life-long background in the sciences will also feature at Art Source.
Olivia O’Carra began her career as a hospital physicist in Saint Luke’s Dublin, one of only five in that profession in the country at the time.
After moving to Killarney to start a family, O’Carra taught secondary school students in physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry.
She took evening classes in oil painting, and when the opportunity to take an early retirement arose in 2003, she was motivated by the first sale of her works to continue in the arts.
“I had always loved art in school, but I was never in a position to follow that route before now. My first solo exhibition in 2007 was a sell-out, which was an amazing feeling,” said Olivia.
Art Source Cork and Gifted Craft and Design Fair Cork take place at the City Hall Cork from November 29 to December 1. Further details can be found online at giftedcork.ie.
And not only will art lovers find City Hall the perfect hunting ground, but if you are a foodie then it will certainly tickle your taste buds.
The fair also features The Spectacular Christmas Food Emporium with over 25 local artisan food producers, tempting visitors with the best of the season’s fare.
Among the mouthwatering temptations on offer are the Lismore Food Company’s biscuits from Waterford and chocolate courtesy of Bart’s Belgian Chocolates from Kilkenny.
Fairgoers can also meet the fourth generation of beekeepers from Galtee Honey Farm who are part of a growing movement to save the native honey bee from extinction in Ireland.
Formerly known as the City Hall Crafts Fair, Gifted Cork is the traditional start to the Christmas shopping season and is home to over 100 stands packed with original gifts from food to fashion, jewellery and beyond.
“At Gifted Cork we celebrate Christmas giving with thousands of thoughtful and sustainable gifts for your loved ones,” said organiser Patrick O’Sullivan.
“There will be a huge concentration on sustainable gifts, with some of Ireland’s most original sustainable fashion, beauty and homeware brands.
“Many of our exhibitors will have signs at their stands saying, ‘ask me my sustainable story’ so shoppers can find out more about the origins of the gifts they are buying.”
Among the new sustainable exhibitors to the show will be Cork company, Green Outlook.
Founded by Fiona Smiddy, their plastic-free alternatives for everyday home and beauty products include reusable cotton and beeswax food wraps and stainless-steel straws.
They will be joined by Clare-based Palm-Free Irish Soap who will be showcasing their new range of vegan deodorants, laundry bars, medicated and babysoft shampoo bars alongside their palm-oil free soaps.
Bantry’s Mrs Mon will be unveiling their range of unique wrap skirts, handmade fabric handbags and shopping bags some of which are made from upholstery fabric and repurposed curtains.
Cork-based maker of Viking Jewellery, Peter Bibliw of Nord Emporium, is another exciting new arrival, as is The Owl Tree whose handmade gifts include Alzheimer-friendly ‘fidget’ blankets and cushions.
Irish wool duvet makers Baavet will also be showcasing their natural range of sustainable sleep products.