Western Development Commission partners with the Crafts Council of Ireland to fund Western Region Craftspeople in attending International Trade Fairs during 2013

The Western Development Commission (WDC) is delighted to be partnering with the Crafts Council of Ireland (CCoI) this year to co-fund CCoI’s International Fair Fund. The fund was initially established by CCoI in 2011 and this is the first time that there has been a collaboration with a partner agency, facilitating greater access to export markets for craft businesses.

Following the evaluation of applications to the fund earlier this year, five craft enterprises based in the Western Region were successful in securing funding – Foxford Woollen Mills, the Sligo-based jeweller Martina Hamilton, Molloy & Sons Weaving from Donegal, the Clay Pipe Centre in county Roscommon who produce a range of Irish gifts and Mayo-based Lisibach Marble. They will be supported to attend fairs in locations such as the UK, US, France and Germany during 2013.

Paddy McGuinness, Chairperson of the WDC said ‘We’re delighted that these five craft businesses represent such a broad range of crafts and skills from across our region. The strong weaving tradition in Donegal and Mayo for clothing and home is well represented, while the Clay Pipe Centre and Lisibach Marble both draw on the region’s natural assets and strengths through their ‘bog buddies’ and Connemara marble jewellery. Cufflinks designed by Martina Hamilton and inspired by WB Yeats’ poetry were presented by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to President Obama on St. Patrick’s Day, bringing the creativity and culture of the West to international attention.’

Karen Hennessy, CEO, Crafts Council of Ireland adds ‘We see the International Fair Fund as an effective way of encouraging and facilitating craft export. Identifying and targeting an international market can be a daunting task for any business – and having the support of a fund such as this can enable craft enterprises to approach a new market with confidence. Having the WDC partner with us this year to increase the impact of this fund is a very positive development for the craft sector in the West of Ireland.’

The WDC is actively supporting the development of the Western Region’s creative sector, through the International Fair Fund, the WDC Micro-Loan Fund: Creative Industries and the website www.mycreativeedge.eu which was launched recently under the EU-funded Creative Edge project. ‘From talking to creative people in the region we know that trade fairs are vital, especially for crafts where people need to see and touch before buying,’ says Pauline White, Policy Analyst, WDC. ‘This can be complemented by creating a profile on our new www.mycreativeedge.eu website which showcases the creative work of businesses, freelancers and graduates from the West of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Finland.’

For further information please contact:

Pauline White, Policy Analyst, Western Development Commission, 086 832 8055

Note to editors:

Further information and images for the five craft businesses to be supported can be found at

Foxford Woollen Mills http://www.foxfordwoollenmills.com/
Molloy & Sons Weaving http://www.molloyandsons.com/
Martina Hamilton http://www.martinahamilton.ie/
Clay Pipe Centre http://www.oghamwish.com/bogbuddies.php
Lisibach Marble Products http://www.lisibach.ie/