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Celebrating the Handmade at Homo Faber in Venice

‘In a world where machines are eliminating jobs every day, it is vital to recognise exceptional and uniquely human talent,’ announced Johann Rupert, whose portfolio includes Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Montblanc, at the launch of his latest venture – a cultural exhibition dedicated to the best in European craftsmanship.

As if being on holidays isn’t enough to fill my cup and inspire me, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit ‘Homo Faber’  (which translates as Man the Maker) a huge showcase of the cream of European craft in displayed throughout the spectacular rooms of Venice’s Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

I found the exhibits hugely inspiring, the venue is amazing with manicured mazes and stunning stonework. Of course, the sunshine and the large security guards made the whole experience quite like being part of a Bond movie. It is always great to see craftwork from around the world and coupled with that there were makers in temporary studios, carving tigers from large gemstones for Cartier, a Hermes craftsperson making handmade saddles, ornate embroidery and very extravagant fans.


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Sarah McKenna has been developing her unique handmade Irish pottery at Bridge Street Studios since 1999. Before returning to Dundalk she studied Ceramics at Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art & Design, the University of Dundee, Scotland where she gained a Bachelor of Ceramic Design.

Sarah’s work has always been engaged in the process and the early studio work was concerned with smoke firing and raku firing sculptural vessel forms. In 2006 Sarah started producing a range of quirky customisable ceramics giftware which is the beginning of what you can purchase today. Read more here.