A busy tanning salon in the centre of Ennis is playing host to an Artisan Pop Up Shop, the first project to be rolled out under the Ennis Access to Spaces Initiative (EASI).
Coordinated by Ennis Town Council, Clare County Council and Ennis Chamber of Commerce, the unique scheme aims to revitalise Ennis town centre by facilitating the use of unoccupied spaces for commercial, creative and community use.
Empty and underutilised space in Sunkiss in Market Street has been transformed into a bijou pop-up space highlighting work by some of Clare’s very best craftworkers and artists, including textile artist Steph Gahan, Ceramicist’ Helen Griffin and contemporary furniture maker John Hogan.
The display will be officially opened by Cllr. Michael Guilfoyle, the Mayor of Ennis, this Saturday (May 5) at 12 noon.
County Arts Officer, Siobhán Mulcahy complimented the initiators of the project, Steph Gahan and Sunkiss owners Siobhán Ní Chofaigh and Elizabeth Nolan, “for their foresight in undertaking the initiative with local artists.”
Ms. Mulcahy continued: “Sunkiss is an excellent example of how the EASI initiative can work to advance the customer base of a local business, provide exposure and opportunities to local artists and reinforce Ennis’ reputation as a town of culture and artistic vibrancy. The creation of this peaceful retreat within the premises of a town centre business is great credit to all involved, and we hope this will offer a shining example to other landlords who may be inclined to become involved in EASI.”
“Members of the public are invited to browse, engage with the work and meet the makers on a daily basis. Customers also can buy art directly from the shop or can discuss specific commissions with the artists exhibiting there,” she added.
Sunkiss partners Siobhán Ní Chofaigh and Elizabeth Nolan spoke of their delight with the project and the “creative experience” they had working with the artists involved.
Siobhán explained: “It is great to be able to offer new experiences to our customers. The artisan pop-up shop, features textile, furniture and ceramic works that all elegantly displayed, resulting in a peaceful retreat within the salon. The project has re-invented an empty space adding additional life and vibrancy to the salon while at the same time complementing the services we offer to our customers on a daily basis.”
About The Exhibiting Artists & Craftworkers:
Steph Gahan is a Clare-based knitwear designer and founder of the SAOLRÉ knitwear range. Her designs can be unique statement pieces to transform an outfit or soft wraps or dresses for bridal and special occasional wear.
Niamh O’Brien, trading as FortyCoatsFiftyPockets, helps individuals to reinvent their wardrobe. From simple alterations using buttons or trimming, to a complete overhaul Niamh creates a style which has a unique twist incorporating vintage style fashions especially that of the Victorian period.
Some of these textile works are displayed on the sculpture works of Fiona Quinn Cartwright. These figurative pieces are a celebration of life, vitality and the beauty that surrounds and these themes are reflected in her artwork that is on display also.
Ceramicist’ Helen Griffin, adds a distinctive twist to the work on show with her red earthenware clay. All her work is hand-thrown on the potter’s wheel and she uses a combination of traditional techniques along with distinctive design to achieve a high standard of quality craftsmanship.
The works are displayed on contemporary furniture in Irish hardwoods created by John Hogan. John has been creating bespoke furniture for over 35 years and is a former tutor/craftsman-in-residence in the Furniture College, Letterfrack, County Galway.
Ray Walsh specialises in hand made chairs. He originally took up wood turning whilst teaching in Africa and after a lapse of many years took up the craft again to create widely acclaimed chairs.
Artists and property owners interested in participating in the Ennis Access to Spaces Initiative (EASI) are asked to contact Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer, on 065 6899091 / email@example.com.