On Sunday 25th November, the local Waterford Crafts group celebrated the official opening of their 35th annual Christmas craft fair in the Garter Lane Arts Centre. The fair was officially opened by the executive director of Garter Lane, Sile Penkert, who spoke about the importance of supporting the local talented arts and crafts community in Waterford and that Garter Lane was delighted to be part of the annual craft fair that has become a wonderful festive tradition in Waterford City.

Garter Lane Arts Centre Executive Director with Waterford Crafts PRO Carmel Grant cutting the celebration cake at the official opening
Garter Lane Arts Centre Executive Director with Waterford Crafts PRO Carmel Grant cutting the celebration cake at the official opening

A large crowd of shoppers gathered to enjoy the melodic music performed by a newly formed Waterford choir, Octavate. The choir entertained the audience with their beautifully harmonized renditions of festive songs, while people browsed the selection of crafts available and enjoyed some festive refreshments.

Octavate choir entertaining the crowd with festive tunes
Octavate choir entertaining the crowd with festive tunes

This year’s craft fair boasts a vast collection of quality exclusive crafts hand made by 45 local art and craft members. On entering the gallery area in Garter Lane, you are immediately transported into a magical room full of colour, wonderful scents and a visual delight. There is a marvelous selection of jewellery from silver and copper to beaded and enamel. Three wood turners have created everything from lamps and bowls to decorations and skateboards out of local wood, and local skincare businesses have made organic skincare products using essential oils and honey provided by local bees. There are knitwear and textile products for any age ranging from unique dolls and crochet animals, to aran knits and woven rugs; along with a vast selection of paintings and framed gifts, ceramics, chocolates, woven wicker baskets, handbags, fashion accessories, Christmas decorations and even driftwood Christmas trees.

Craft member Lisa Walsh and son Calum with Lisa's Driftwood and Pebble Art
Craft member Lisa Walsh and son Calum with Lisa’s Driftwood and Pebble Art

With prices starting at just €3, there is something to suit everyone’s budget and all money spend at the craft fair is supporting a local business and going back into the community. Long-time Waterford Crafts member and the PRO for the group Carmel Grant, explained that ‘the Waterford Crafts Christmas Craft Fair sales have continued to grow each year, even during the downturn. This is hugely because of the wonderful quality crafts created by our craft members each year, and the people of Waterford and visitors to the city to enjoy the amazing Winterval festival, are fantastic supporters of locally hand made products.’

Craft member Gary Cowman from Copper Coast Woodcrafts
Craft member Gary Cowman from Copper Coast Woodcrafts

The 35th Christmas craft fair is open every day up to the 23rd of December, 10 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 5.30 pm on Sundays, in the Garter Lane Arts Centre on O’Connell street Waterford. Look out for the banner across O’Connell street, it’s a Christmas shopping experience not to be missed.

Kilkenny artist Tony Oakey displaying his artwork
Kilkenny artist Tony Oakey displaying his artwork
Craft member Karen Miller displaying her handmade dolls
Craft member Karen Miller displaying her handmade dolls
Craft member Valerie Harris with some of her knitted and crochet toys and accessories.
Craft member Valerie Harris with some of her knitted and crochet toys and accessories.
Craft fair still going strong after 35 years
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