For the 11th year in a row, Cork City’s Glucksman gallery, located in the grounds of UCC, turns into a retail outlet this weekend in a show of support for craft designers and makers.
Organised by Mathilde Corbineau, the gallery’s retail and development manager, fifty-four stands selling wood-turning, ceramics, textiles, glass, illustrations and handmade books are participating, of which twenty two are brand new to the fair.
The process begins with an open call on the gallery’s website to designer makers from all over the country which ensures variety as well as products which may not have been seen in Cork before.
“Everyone has to bring something new to sell, including the previous participants,” Mathilde explains. “We look for a good balance of craft and price range so we have items from one euro to thousands of euro, but we also want quality and a certain standard, so even though some people might just be starting up and not have their packaging yet, if they have a quality product they can apply.”
But often the question is asked why a gallery specialising in showing contemporary art puts on a fair like this?
Mathilde explains, “Throughout the year we support up-and-coming local designers and craftspeople in our shop so the fair is building on that, and it showcases the gallery to encourage people to visit the art exhibitions which we have on here during the year.”
All art is moved out of the gallery to make way for the exhibition builders and craft makers to use the space for displaying their products to best advantage. As a motivator, there’s even an awards’ ceremony for best stand, best newcomer and best products.
For the all-important visitor who is popping in for a look at the breadth of products available, and to see how Irish crafted design is advancing locally and nationally, there’s also the opportunity of making a pit-stop to the Bobo Café in the gallery’s basement with its menus for brunch and lunch, served overlooking the river bank and grounds of University College Cork.
Die-hard shoppers with serious retail habits who are also in need of new ideas and keen to buy ethically and sustainably, can deposit little ones aged between five and twelve in the art workshops which are taking place at 11am-12pm and 2pm-3pm today and tomorrow. For €5 per child they’ll be encouraged through a facilitator to create artworks responding to what they see at the craft fair.
“We know we get lots of people returning to the fair to buy for themselves and buy Christmas gifts every year,” Mathilde adds. “Last year 5,000 came through our doors and we’re hoping to see more this time.”
Highlights include Barbara Hubert Bookbindery, offering a selection of beautifully handcrafted journals and notebooks for the writer, sketch artist or diarist in your family (from €10).
Another option in bookbinding is Badly Made Books, a more recent arrival on the Irish bookbinding scene if you are buying for anyone with a love of all things paper and notebooks in particular.
Check out their selection of modern, fun and eclectic notebooks which look as cool and arty on a book shelf as they are practical to carry around for jotting down Christmas lists, ideas and doodles (from €16).
For something more substantial in the gifting line, visit the stand of Alan Horgan Studio to see his immaculately designed and crafted furniture. Self-taught, he makes one-off and limited edition pieces. Look out especially for his contemporary console tables and occasional furniture which are high on style and infinitely practical (prices on application).
Little crafty types, and even grown up ones, can indulge their creative side with the My Wool Fairy Kit by Feltastik, and make their own fairy to crown the Christmas tree or sit on the mantlepiece beside the elf on a shelf (€34.95).
For a lovely stocking filler, Brookwood Pottery makes small batches of ceramics, including a pair of mugs called Mr and Mrs Fox, painted with a naïve-style depiction of these lovely creatures whose bushy tails curl around and inside the mugs (€22).
Entry to the craft fair is €5 to support the gallery’s art programme, but if you’d like free entry, pick up a Glucksman Craft Fair 2019 leaflet at Parnell Place Bus Station, the tourist office, Central Library and city centre hotels.