Designer Mart at Cow’s Lane

I got word in February that I had been selected as a designer for the relaunched market at Cow’s Lane, in Temple Bar. I have long loved the market there, having picked up a few real finds there over the years.

Spaces for independent, unique designers are getting rarer and rarer, so the relaunching of the Cow’s Lane market (now Designer Mart at Cow’s Lane) is very welcome indeed. Folks, you should see the company I’m in- to the left of me, a glass fusion artist (Deirdre Griffin), to the right, a children’s clothing designer (Mary Reynolds). Elsewhere, there are jewellers like Aideen Doyle (gorgeous crocheted jewellery), clothes designers (Fiona Archibald with a capsule range of 60s-inspired chic, neat dresses) and homewares people like the brother and sister behind No Fixed Abode Designs.

How could I *not* be enthusiastic and fizzy when I’m surrounded by such lovely folks and their wares? I may end up broke, but by the gods, I’ll be happy. The folks at the Temple Bar Cultural Trust are very keen on the handmade/ self-designed ethos, and it’s great to be in a place where that is a real asset, as opposed to ‘an uncompetitive mode of production’*

(*I’m serious, I’ve actually heard things very much like that. Wellsir, if following my bliss is uncompetitive, then…)

So, our first outing took place on March 15th. And lemmetellya, on that first weekend, it poured. Just think of it- all of us bedraggled souls, hiding under the umbrella covering and venturing out for morale-sustaining cups of tea. ‘Twas a picture, but people still came out and supported us all.

Last weekend, the weather was a good bit better- windy and cold but *gasp* the elements managed to oblige us a little. Stop the presses- sunshine in Dublin in March! We all had a very good day of it and now people really know that we’re here- result!

On a personal note, the reaction to my work has been really positive- people have been lovely and it has been hugely appreciated. No matter how well-prepared one can be, a new venture is always a risk and it has been fantastic to find an ‘audience’, as it were, that understands the lure of the handmade, the one-off, the very individual indeed.


‘koraliki w moich butak’

Polish for ‘beads in my shoes’. One late night, a former housemate of mine, who is Polish, and I had a very strange conversation. I used my pidgin Polish, she used her more-than-respectable beginner’s Irish. I said that once I found out the words to say “beads” and “black tea with milk, please”, I could easily survive in Poland.

The conversation got sillier and… …then the name for this blog came about.

 Thank you, Malgosia, for a seemingly nonsensical phrase that sums up my life pretty well, as well as all the nodding and smiling as I went into Bead Show&Tell. And thank you Sue, for encouragement and tolerance of the fact that beads could be found everywhere when I set up camp. How your innocent couch cushions did suffer! 

Try as I might to put a bit of smacht on my crafty stash, it always creeps back to this stage, where I end up with beads in my shoes, in my bag, in my wallet, wool nestling among bills and documents in shoeboxes. 

So there you have it- beads in my shoes, because one night that’s where some stray size 8s turned up.