This gorgeous Nicholas Mosse sheep mug! We could not resist this when we were curating April’s surprises and subscribers to last month’s MyIrelandBox received a cute shamrock heart plate from the same maker. The sheep mug caught our eye and we were immediately in love and knew that our subscribers adore it.
We love the story of Nick and Susan…: Over 55 years ago, Nick Mosse, the son of a flour merchant, was captivated by the sensuous beauty of clay and over time he developed a genuine passion and devotion to shaping pieces that felt beautiful. He met, married and fell in love with an American Botanical artist, who had been drawn to Ireland by her love of the Irish countryside and the beauty of the Burren, Co. Clare.
Drawn together by their craft and their shared love of nature, in 1976, Nick and Susan, based in a small shed on the Mosse family land in Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny, formed their family business Nicholas Mosse Pottery. Nick and Susan say that they love their craft and to this day, make every single piece of pottery they produce by hand.
They apply the patterns using an age-old tradition dating back to the 18th century. Using cut sponges, they individually sponge dab the patterns onto each piece of pottery. In fact, every piece of Nicholas Mosse undergoes a 20 step, handmade process. and Nick personally trains every individual decorator that works at Nicholas Mosse.
We love this sheep mug and we cannot wait to drink our Barry’s Tea from it every morning at breakfast!
Magdalena Bekisz of Small Factory of Dreams, County Cavan
We wanted to send a handmade sheep to our treasured subscribers and Magdalena from Small Factory of Dreams was the perfect maker to engage for this special task. Her sheep are magical. We are calling ours ‘Mish’, which is short for ‘Misneach’, which is the gaelic for ‘Courage’ – it is pronounced ‘Mish-nok’. Often here on the Dingle Peninsula you will be greeted, or you will greet another, by saying ‘Dia dhuit - Conas tá an misneach’ – which is another way of saying ‘How are you doing?’. The direct translation means – ‘How is the courage?’. We knew that when Magdalena made this flock of sheep for our subscribers that they would come to life in a way that no other maker could achieve. Magdalena seems to have some magic about her. All of her creatures are dreamed up and created of course from her own patterns and are crocheted using high-quality natural materials such as cotton and alpaca wool. She says that each of her creations are made with passion and love, so that each of them has their own soul….and yes, this is perfectly put! Magdalena goes on to say that ‘Usually the project is just created in my head, and my hands are doing what my imagination tells them’. This is so sweet.
Pippa Sweeney Designs – Dungarvan County Waterford
Most mornings we see a sheep peering over the ditch at us and this is why we chose the framed print by Pippa Sweeney. We thought that it would be lovely to send it to subscribers so that they too could see a friendly sheep greet them each morning when they wake! To see one of Pippa Sweeney’s original felt pieces of art is like landing in a field of shamrock – it’s a sight to behold. They are just beautiful and one immediately appreciates the talent, the passion and the attention to detail in each piece. Working from her studio at The Beach House in Dungarvan, County Waterford, Pippa creates her needle-felted art. The Irish landscape is a major source of inspiration to Pippa and she also loves to work playfully as seen in her character faces and ‘foody’ felts! Needle felting is a technique of shaping wool using finely barbed needles. Wool fibres have small scales and as these fibres are pushed together using these needles, they interlock, mesh and condense, forming shapes. Decoration can be added to the surface of these shapes using finer needles.