Waterford’s Kite Design Studio takes flight!

The Kite Design Studio, a pilot project spearheaded by Waterford City Council and Waterford City Enterprise Board was officially opened by the Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. Pat Hayes and Artist Róisín de Buitléar.

Situated in a state of the art facility in Henrietta Street this unique design collective houses some of Waterford’s most talented designers and artists including glass blowers, glass cutters, a Master engraver, a fine art printer, two silversmiths and a contemporary Irish designer.

The project initiated by Waterford City Manager, Michael Walsh and former Chief Executive of Waterford City Enterprise Board, Bill Rafter, took almost two years to complete and was formulated to develop the Viking Triangle as a key tourism area in the city and to showcase Waterford’s long crystal making tradition.

According to Mr. Ciaran Cullen, Acting CEO, Waterford City Enterprise Board, the Kite Design Studio project is the first of its kind in Ireland. “The premise of this ambitious project is to encourage, nurture, house and showcase the phenomenal craftsmanship that Waterford has to offer. All of the businesses operate as micro- enterprises and produce the highest quality design and craft pieces.”

Mr. Cullen added, “It’s hard to imagine another collective in the country that could house such talented entrepreneurs. The Kite Studio is home to independent design label Bonzie. The studio also houses Sean Egan Art Glass, renowned for its 9/11 Twin Towers Commemorative sculpture. Another enterprise is Stradbally Jewellery comprising of talented husband and wife team, Ken and Claire Coleman, who produce quality handmade silver jewellery. The Irish Handmade Glass Company is a glass blowing and cutting studio formed by four former Waterford Crystal Master craftsmen producing a range of clear and colour crystal. You’ll also find there Anne McDonnell-Murphy, a fine art printer consistently pushing the boundaries of this traditional art form.”

“It really is a case of an “embarrassment of riches” – the talent, ingenuity, craft quality and innovation coming from the Kite Design Studio are an inspiration to budding entrepreneurs, designers and craftsmen and women.”

The launch was well attended by local businesses, artists and supporters of the project and the Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. Pat Hayes officiated over proceedings. Mayor Hayes said “The Viking Triangle project is the embodiment of a cultural renewal initiative in the heart of Waterford City. Effectively what has been achieved here is the bringing to life of over a thousand years of history that have shaped Waterford as we know it today.”

“An integral part of this project is the Kite Design Studio which houses five amazing artists and designers. This design collective brings a unique and remarkable craftsmanship to the city. From fine printers and jewellery makers to glass engravers and silversmiths to fashion designers, the Kite Design Studio is an enviable and ambitious design centre that showcases the imagination and talent that Waterford proudly possesses.”

Also speaking at the event was Visual Artist, Róisín de Buitléar. Róisín has been working in the medium of glass as a primary material since 1983 and said the Kite Design Studio was an important facility. “Hopefully the Kite Design Studio will be the first of many such creative facilities in Waterford. It allows the public direct access to artist’s studios to engage with artists and their making process. This interchange nurtures a greater understanding of the individual craft practices, which stimulates and encourages sales and referrals.”

Ms. de Buitléar added, “Working in a craft tradition means having a respect for that tradition while embracing new ways of interpreting that tradition.”

The design studio is open to the public six days a week and visitors have the unique opportunity to experience in-house designers working on their designs in situ.

For more information about the Kite Design Studio call along to the Henrietta Street premises, call 051 858914, or check out Kite Design Studio on Facebook.