My new funkaaay! map of Ireland design, Céad Míle Maps, launched this month with a new range of kitchen textiles. Introduced at Showcase Ireland in January, it actually took a lot more time than I expected to realise the final product with 'shop ready' packaging, colour accuracy and dye fastness etc etc. A total learning curve for me.
The name Céad Míle Maps (which most of us know means 100,000 maps as gaeilge), was chosen because I reckon it was the only possible name that a repeat pattern of the map of Ireland could be called for so many wonderful reasons.
The colour scheme of the design is based on the traditional colours of the tricolour i.e. green, white and orange, with an added touch of contemporary hues and some brown, which symbolises Ireland's turf and boglands. Each map incorporates a floral design 'hairy fruit style' to add prettiness and interest to the overall pattern.
The design was created especially for those who want to bring a little Ireland home, in this case lots of little Irelands. For those who love, miss or wish to remember Ireland every day Hairy Fruit Art now provides tea towels, tea cosies, oven gloves, aprons and napkin sets for those special Irish gifts that we all search for to send to our Irish loved ones abroad at Christmas and other occasions.
An Irish Brainstorm..the Inspiration
Well over a year ago I took a large look at my Hairy Fruit Art product range and saw a big gap. For an Irish design brand I realised I had few products or designs specifically for the Irish gift market. This realisation got my creative juices flowing. A cute Irish themed pattern on kitchen textiles or other products would work, but where to start?
Since it was my first time investing in a kitchen textile collection I had to be careful not to overstretch myself. I was only in a position to use just one design so it had to be well thought out. I worked on various ideas, some obvious like shamrocks etc., and some not so obvious, and then there was the idea of a map pattern? Mmmmm.
There are lots of great map of Ireland products out there and all very popular but there didn't appear to be a map of Ireland repeat pattern on textiles. Was there a good reason that no-one had done it yet and therefore should I avoid? Was it something that I could effectively do while keeping loyal to my Hairy Fruit style and brand? A lot of procrastination went on I can assure you, it was difficult to judge what would finally work. And this leads nicely to my next bit..
The final judgement
Enter my wonderful Dad to whom the collection is dedicated to. Sadly this summer he passed away at 93 years of age and he is more than greatly missed.
Dad was such an interesting man to have as a father. A man of wit, wisdom and a lover of learning and books. But the most relevant thing to mention in this case was his great love of maps of which he had many.
A year or so ago I showed him my designs including Céad Míle Maps and he immediately loved it and encouraged me to go with it. Being a retired Judge who didn't make decisions lightly, also a man with a wide appreciation for the arts (and maps!), that little chat we had was the 'clincher' decision-making moment.
So here's to Dad, 100,000 maps, and a Céad Míle failte to a new set of (hopefully iconic) kitchen textiles for many happy homes and kitchens in the future.