Portsalon-based jewellery maker Helen Haworth is set to bring hidden treasures from the famous Donegal beach to a national stage next week, when she exhibits her range of Donegal Seaglass jewellery at the National Crafts and Design Fair in Dublin’s RDS.
The beautiful jewellery pieces are made from sea glass and sea pottery collected from the beach at Portsalon, making every piece a unique treasure from the shores of Donegal.
Before they head to Dublin though, Helen is holding a special stall preview of the jewellery in Portsalon this weekend at Portsalon Luxury Camping, Cashelpreaghan, and there will be chances to win tickets to the fair in Dublin.
“I started collecting sea glass and sea pottery soon after moving here,” said Helen who is originally from Shropshire in England.
“There is so much history around this part of the Donegal coast. There have been many shipwrecks in Lough Swilly and the stormy Atlantic throws up new pieces every day. I love the fact that every piece is unique and every piece has its own story.”
Helen moved to Donegal in 2010 after meeting her partner Sean.
“Together we renovated the old farmhouse built by Sean's granddad, which we now live in.
“We also set up a tourism business - Portsalon Luxury Camping - and rent out five fantastic yurts overlooking the ocean,” she added.
In the off-season Helen keeps busy, not only managing bookings for the now-famous Donegal yurt site, but also by making the range of jewellery that is distinctively Donegal.
“None of the sea glass and sea pottery is altered in any way, apart from the drilling of a small hole to accommodate a chain. The Atlantic Ocean has already worked its magic on these pieces and has turned them into real treasures from Donegal.
Every piece of glass or pottery is unique and I just try to choose the most interesting and smoothest pieces to turn into these custom-made jewellery treasures.”
The National Crafts and Design Fair runs from November 30 to December 4 in the Main Hall at Dublin’s RDS and Helen explains she was encouraged to attend thanks to support from Donegal Local Enterprise Office who have provided business mentoring and some assistance with the costs of attending such a prestigious event.
Helen is now hoping that the jewellery, including such pieces as ‘Jewels from the Sea’ and ‘Mermaids Tears’ will cause quite a stir among those attending.
“It is the biggest craft fair in Ireland and I’m hopeful the jewellery will appeal to people looking for a really exclusive gift. Hopefully people from Donegal who have friends or family in Dublin who might attend the fair will let them know we’ll be there as well.”
Lots of people from Donegal will travel to Dublin for the fair, but there will also be an opportunity to see the exclusive pieces in Portsalon this weekend.
“We’re holding a stall preview in Portsalon from 12 noon until 6pm on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November when we’ll have a 10% Donegal discount, plus free mulled wine and mince pies and a free prize draw for complimentary tickets to the RDS National Crafts and Design Fair.”
Helen, who also sells online at - etsy.com/shop/Donegalseaglass/ - says she hopes the custom nature of the pieces will prove a big attraction.
“People are often looking for something special and truly unique as a gift at this time of the year and my jewellery falls into that category.
“No two pieces are the same so they really are small and authentic piece of Donegal which has been collected and crafted with love,” she added.