IT was once be a dance hall and more recently housed a surf shop, and now a prime premises on Cecil Street has been turned into an artistic hub for crafts produced across the county.
With funding of €90,000 made available through Limerick’s year as City of Culture, the Limerick Craft Hub will officially opened its doors this Thursday night.
Already open a week, the centre is supporting 30 entrepreneurial crafts business in Limerick and the wider Mid-West region.
“We wanted to create a destination for craft in Limerick,” explained Claire Jordan, from Herbertstown and project manager of the hub, “for civic, cultural, educational and enterprise development”.
“We want to raise the level of craft availability in Limerick. It’s a very strong part of culture in Limerick that didn’t have a face or a voice.
“We have been getting lots of enquiries from people who want to sell their work here, and this is their shop window, as many artists can’t afford a building of their own,” she said.
“We’ve now developed a business model for a not-for-profit limited company, and hope to be a lasting, legacy project under City of Culture. We wish to continue long beyond December 31,” she told the Leader.
It is currently selling jewellery, artisan chocolates and foodstuffs, pottery, paintings, knitwear, felted scarves and hats, and handmade children’s toys made by local artists, some of whom are graduates are Limerick School of Art & Design, while many other products will be familiar from the Saturday market at the Milk Market.
In addition, they will be running classes for children and adults in many areas such as ceramics, felt-making, silver-smithing, silk painting, and chicken scratch emboidery, an American technique.
It will also be home to the Limerick Ceramics exhibition opening in November.
Mike Fitzpatrick, director of Limerick City of Culture, said the hub “is an important and exciting legacy project for Limerick’s year as City of Culture.
“Working with over 30 local craft practitioners, it not only provides a retail outlet for the public to engage with handmade Limerick product but also a gallery, classroom and studio space to support development of craft in Limerick,” he said.
In the meantime, they are threading another unique project together as part of one of the biggest events of the year in Limerick.
As a giant grandmother prepares to stalk the streets of Limerick next month, a 40 to 50-foot scarf is being knit by the public in her honour at the hub.
Ahead of the arrival of the Royal de Luxe street theatre company, who will parade through the city from September 5 to 7, the hub is inviting people of all knitting capabilities to come and knit a row in Grandma’s scarf.
The first stitch was cast on Friday last by the textile craft makers, and the wool and needles are at the ready for people of all abilities to knit throughout the week.
All are welcome to join in the knitting session from 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and wool and knitting needles will be provided.
Knitter Jackie Devitt donated two huge bags of wool this week, which belonged to her mother Rose who sadly passed away this July, and Jackie said her mum would have been delighted that they are being put to good use.
People can also knit at home and all the work will be stitched together in the coming weeks.
“All the pieces will be knitted together to embrace the whole community. It will be a colourful eclectic mix, and a reflection of all the different parts of our community,” added Ms Jordan.
Custom-made pieces can also be requested in store.
Further information from 061-315668 or online at www.limerickcrafthub.ie, Facebook/limerickcrafthub, or Twitter: @LimCraftHub.