Survey forms part of efforts to create jobs in West Cork crafts

Up to 200 craftworkers in West Cork are being surveyed by separate consultancy firms in a bid to determine why the area is such a magnet for creative people — and how best to create more jobs in the sector.

Potters, artists, furniture- makers, jewellers, and glass- workers in the region are among those answering questionnaires sent out by consultancy firms Indecon International Economic Consultants in Dublin and Willie Miller Urban Design in Glasgow.

As part of the process, a major think-in will take place in the West Cork town of Clonakilty tomorrow, as everyone from craftworkers to retailers, educators, and local development agencies, among others, discuss the issue in greater depth and outline the problems faced by the sector.

The West Cork study is part of a bigger investigation under the aegis of five local development companies in conjunction with the Crafts Council of Ireland and taking in an estimated 3,000 craftworkers in West Cork, Wexford, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, and Ballyhoura, which spans parts of North Cork and Limerick.

The two-pronged survey has been under way in West Cork since February but it is expected to be the end of April at least before results are available.

Glasgow-based firm Willie Miller Urban Design will examine what Mr Miller called “the intangible attraction” of West Cork to determine if there is a link with the many creative people who live there.

“What we might look for is the correlation between the landscape quality and particular types of craftworkers,” said Mr Miller.

Meanwhile, Dublin-based consultancy firm Indecon is looking at the economic impact of the craft sector on the economy, and what can be done to increase it in terms of local development and employment.

“It looks at the local craftworkers, at the facilities that help or hinder the growth of the craft sector locally — we want to find what people feel are weaknesses in the support they’re getting and we’re looking at the strengths in the system that can be built on,” said Ronnie Tucker of Indecon.

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