On the 8th October more than 200 people came together in the Twin Towns to celebrate the launch of the centre and ‘A Creative Touch of Donegal’  Eamonn Quinn Dragons Den star introduced some of Donegal’s newest entrepreneurs:

Finn Technology (Bespoke IT training and support), Innovation Renovation (Bringing clarity to construction), Viking fit (Fitness training and body conditioning) Utility Choice (Independent Utility Consultant for Small and Medium sized Businesses), Donegal First Aid Services(Bringing training Alive) and Ruth Graham Design (illustrator/graphic designer offering initial branding & promotional material for both start-ups and established businesses)

The centre hosted ‘A Creative Touch of Donegal’ on the same day a celebration of Donegal’s rich diverse creative offering. Exhibits included:

 

Morgan Ferriter

Donegal native, Morgan Ferriter first exhibited his work in 1995 at Eurofest in Listowel, County Kerry and since then, he has exhibited in group shows and his own solo shows in Ireland and Canada.

The landscape of the North West of Ireland inspires the majority of Morgan’s work. The rugged coastline of Donegal with its ever-changing weather patterns and the dramatic skylines greatly influence Morgan’s compositions. In 2004 Morgan created a series of rock pool paintings and it has remained a continuing theme in his work.

‘…rock pools that are covered and uncovered daily by the rising and falling tides at Creevy provide an ideal environment by which to study the patterns made by fractured rock. The many shades and hues created by reflected light on the floor of these pools can be seen at low tide.’  Morgan Ferriter

 

Ruby Doodle

Ruby Doodle began life when Shelley Leslie decided to take her love of doodling to the next level. Following graduation from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology with a B.A. in Fine Art, she spent two years wandering the planet and being inspired by all the amazing things and places she had seen. On returning home she launched into a professional career as a Visual Merchandiser in a retail environment, this was very beneficial as she was allowed to be fairly creative in a commercial environment but she still had a hankering to do something for herself by herself! It wasn’t until some years later when she married and started a family that she felt the time was right. Her very first keepsake and card was for a little girl called Ruby..

Ruby Doodle supplies illustrated original artwork cards and keepsakes for lots of special occasions including Weddings, New Baby, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Seasonal and Irish Language. After printing all cards are hand finished and embellished

“Little expressions on paper……..what’s not to like?”

 

Kara Gems

Kara Gems is a home based cottage type industry making hand crafted costume jewellery in many designs and colours. We use natural stones, glass, crystal, ceramic, acrylic and wooden beads. Our colours are vibrant and will compliment any outfit. Our pieces are presented in gift boxes/gift pouches and our price range is from €5 to €35. We cater for all age groups and each piece can be tailored to the individual request..

 

 Michelle McKee Felt Connected

Working from her studio at the Craft Village, Donegal Town, Michelle uses wool to create dramatic landscape pictures. Reflections of the outdoors, rugged and wild, are matted into the felt, revealing mottled images which express a deep connection to her homeland. The process of simultaneously making felt whilst creating a picture, results in qualities similar to expressionist fine art painting. ‘When a viewer engages with a piece of my art work, they are sensing a little bit of my heart and soul, and a little piece of Donegal.’ Michelle McKee

 

Kennedy or Ardara

Kennedy of Ardara is an acclaimed Donegal knitwear manufacturer established in 1902.  The family run business produces the best in traditional and contemporary Irish knitwear, and is famous for its traditional Aran Hand-Knits and ‘Hillwalker’ Outdoor Sweater.  The companies manufacturing and retail base is in the scenic village of Ardara; part of the Wild Atlantic Way.  The company are known for their strong heritage and quality products.

 

 Edel MacBride

A local designer, Edel is passionate about textile craftmanship as a cultural birth right in the North West of Ireland. Working with beautiful yarns, many of which are produced in Donegal and bringing them with a contemporary understanding to customers is her passion. The studio in Convoy has been visited by Kathleen Watkins, Paddy Cosgrave (Web Summit founder) and Faye Dinsmore among other discerning clients in the past year alone.

The current focus on craft and handknitting, together with high quality classes is bringing Edel recognition with international textile tours. Her knitting classes at Milwaukee Summer School were extremely popular in August 2015. The business produces it’s own original designs and written patterns:

 

 

Stephen Bennett Studio Gallery

Stephen, a highly acclaimed professional artist, who finds his inspiration in the landscape and people of Donegal, lives and works in Ardara. He is well known throughout the country as an artist of international stature who has represented Ireland at the prestigious Florence Bienale.
“In a remarkably short space of time, Stephen has developed a highly personal and identifiable style. He is not afraid of colour, or of scale, or of experimenting. His exciting fresh treatment of the hinterland around Ardara is imbued with energy and colour.” – Irish Arts Review

 

Fiach Art Circle

Bernie Fitzsimmons, Veronica Maguire, Kathleen O’Donnell, Philomena Cater, Anne Bonner, Charlotte Brady, Ann O’Donnell, Breege Doherty, Rita McNulty, Georgina McHugh  and Celine McGlynn
The Fiach Arts Circle meet once a week to paint and support new and emerging artists in the Finn Valley area.

 

 

Maria Noonan McDermott

Originally from Ballybofey, Irish artist Maria Noonan McDermott now lives and works from her studio in Co.Letirim. Heavily influenced by the impressionist movement, her work focuses on the study of light and form in Irish landscapes.
With a love of folklore and story-telling, Noonan McDermott’s influences lie in rural Ireland, it is in these magical places that share a colloquial history where stories and the people are often engrained into the landscape

 

Bogbean Designs

BOGBEAN DESIGNS came about when Anna came to Ireland after living and working in the

fashion business in San Francisco for many years.  “I met my husband who is a Donegal man in San Francisco and it was always his intention to come back to Ireland and run the family farm when his father retired. I love working on the farm and being in the BOG during the summer months but i missed being able to create and design. When I discovered the wealth of beautiful yarns produced by Donegal Yarns in Kilcar I was in heaven. I mix the rugged and wild surroundings of Donegal to Create hand knitted, simple designs” Anna Campbell

 

 Ronan Hanna (Hata)

It all begins with a bicycle journey in 1924. Nineteen year old David Hanna is cycling from Belfast to Donegal to begin his career as a tailor.

The Hanna name has been associated with quality Donegal tweed apparel ever since.

Hata was founded in 2013 by David’s grandson, Ronan Hanna.

Witnessing the resurgence of tweed on the world stage he believed he had seen a gap in the market for a high end luxury tweed. It was time now to see if there was a market in the Gap.

Hata combines innovation and tradition to produce a modern take on tweed.     Using locally spun luxury mohair and merino wool, Hata designs custom woven tweeds which are then handcrafted to produce a truly authentic range of headwear with a modern twist.

 

 

Barry Sweeny (Local Hands)

Local Hands is a co-operative style fusion of Artists and Craftspeople (Barry Sweeny, Barry Britton, Joan Carey, Jonathan Ball, Francey Cassidy, Jim Mc Intyre, Squires woodturning and Shelley Leslie ). Based in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, they work together to showcase, support and sell their work and to promote the wealth of artistic talent in the surrounding region. Their emphasis is on high quality unique and authentic Irish art and craft which is locally produced in the Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo region.
The Local Hands shop is located on Main Street, Ballyshannon and is also used as a studio space so visitors can meet the artists themselves and see them at work. They cover a wide range of disciplines including Woodturning, Crochet, Silversmithing, Blacksmithing, Glass blowing, Pottery making, Felt making, Jewellery, Soap making, Stone Carving, Painting and Illustration.

 

 Laura McDowell (Paper Tree)

Laura creates hand-made bespoke Paper-cut Keepsakes! Providing unique gifts at affordable prices and unrivalled customer care.

 

Connell McGinley

Connell is a man of many talent’s, wood turning, basket making, stick making and lots more he will demonstrate practical skills on the day

 

Tony Gallinagh

Tony will be here on the day with his new book “A long journey in a short time”. Stories, folklore memoirs and much more from the local Finn valley area

 

Fiona Higgins

Fiona is a batik artist, her work is inspired by the beautiful scenery of the North West of Ireland, particularly the Gaeltacht on the West coast of Donegal where she always spent a part of her summer, ever since she was a child.

In landscapes, seascapes, grasses and trees, I try to capture the vivid and ever-changing light and colour of the shifting seasons and unpredictable weather. In one work I might express the luminous quality of sunlight pouring through leaves in spring, in another, I might represent the intense colours of the land and sky found after a summer thunderstorm. I specialize in batik painting on silk. I prefer to use silk as a medium since the wax flows straight through the fabric when painted on with a brush; this makes it possible to include fine details. I also use a brush to paint on the dyes, which allows me to achieve a wider variety of colours and blended tones compared to the traditional batik technique of dip-dying” Fiona Higgins.

 

Ruth Graham Design

Ruth Graham “I’m a freelance illustrator / designer providing creative graphic design for local businesses. My time is spent dreaming up clever branding for start-ups & designing promotional material, advertising & websites for existing businesses. As a freshly-graduated illustrator, I travelled to New York with my peers and met with Art Directors in such famous spots as the FlatIron building in Manhattan & on return, exhibited in London. I originally wanted to illustrate children’s books, so most of my work involving illustration tends to veer towards that kind of cheery style.

 

When I came back to Ireland I started working in-house with different businesses doing more and more graphic design until finally I decided to go solo.

 

I want to see more of an artistic take on graphic design in Donegal – more innovation!

 

I’m also in the process of developing my own start-up business, selling unusual & bespoke wedding stationery online. We’ll have an online range of weird and wonderful invites plus a consultation service for our tailor-made invitations in which couples can have something hand-made, just for them by desirable artists and illustrators. We’ll have invitations catering towards every pop-culture trend, inspired from everything from sport to tv and film, to appeal to today’s couple who are bored with the generic offerings of flowers and diamantés for their invitations. I plan to take advantage of international markets by building up an online fanbase on social media, and expanding growth year on year – expanding my business & taking on staff as demand increases”.

&

The Pinnacle Office Furniture Company.”