I am drawn to craft shops in the same sort of way that sunflowers crave the sun. It’s the creativity and warmth that lies within them and the anticipation of finding a unique piece that has been knitted, painted, carved …with love, skill and sheer inspiration.
While I have many favourites, Ardmore Pottery and Gallery in Co. Waterford is top of my list and has been for many years now. I find myself visiting it about twice a year and only realised the other day that I’ve been going there for almost thirty years now – from shortly after it was opened by its owner, Mary Lincoln. http://www.ardmorepottery.com/
Ardmore Pottery and Gallery is perched on the cliff road overlooking popular Ardmore Beach and somehow one always has an awareness there of the antiquity associated with Ardmore, especially its renowned Round Tower which dates back to the 12th century.
One of the appealing aspects of Ardmore Pottery and Gallery is that it has a working pottery studio towards the back of the shop so there is a constant feeling of creativity in progress. In its early years the shop was the retail outlet for the very distinctive pottery of Mary Lincoln but over the years she widened the scope to include the produce of a broad range of craftworkers, particularly those from Co. Waterford and surrounding counties.
In March 1995, when I was about six months pregnant, I paid a visit to the shop. The fire was blazing in the hearth and there was the usual friendly offer of a cup of coffee. I spotted a little wooden train and, in spite of the Irish tradition of waiting until a baby is born to buy toys and the like, I couldn’t resist buying it. I stowed it away until after our son was born and it has remained one of the treasures of his childhood which will hopefully be passed on to future generations.
Mary Lincoln was intrigued when I told her about the precious train the other day and took the trouble to show me the range of similar trains that she still stocks. It is so obvious that this is a woman who has a tremenduous human interest in both the crafts-people who supply her with their goods and those who are fortunate enough to buy them. A true social bridge as well a highly talented craftswoman herself!