At first glance, products designed by Janine Breslin and Michaela Morrison would rival any on the shelves of leading homeware stores in terms of quality. But the pieces, each individually hand crafted, are that little bit more special for the effort that goes into each one off design.
Fashioned from scratch from Beechwood Avenue in the heart of the city, from lamps to quilts, the Derry design duo have perfected a unique style which is set to become one of the highlights of this year’s Guildhall Craft Fair, which takes place next weekend.
The two local mothers have been friends since studying at St Cecilia’s College, where they both shared a passion for art and design. From there they moved on to study textiles at the North West Regional college which led them to university in England where both graduated with specialisms in textiles,
“We always made our own clothes over the years, it was just something we enjoyed doing,” says Michaela. “I’m sure we had some dodgy outfits at times but we enjoyed it nonetheless!”
Having always made customised pieces for friends and family over the year, and facilitated courses at the well known Mission Hall workshop, as demand grew, Michaela and Janine decided to set up their own design company called MoJo Designs.
Now exhibiting in the Craft Village Collective shop, they’re now excited about taking their quirky pieces on the road, starting with the Guildhall Craft Fair.
“We’ve already sold in the Playhouse, the Waterfoot and we’ve taken our designs to Moville and Portstewart as well, but we’re especially excited about the Guildhall Fair because it’s so popular,” says Michaela.
Drawing on the heritage of Derry’s rich textile industry, the local women say their dream would be to see their small design company on every high street in the country, but in the meantime, they’re concentrating on showcasing their vintage designs to shoppers locally.
“We think our products will appeal to people who just want something special and different for their home from lamps, quilts and cushions to tablemats and coasters. We also make some accessories like necklaces as well,” says Janine.
“We do commissions as well so we can tailor things based on what the customer wants and we’ve gotten amazing feedback so far from people who’ve come to our stalls.”
With its traditional home - the Guildhall - under renovation, the event has been moved outdoors to the stunning setting of Guildhall Square which will house the Craft Fair within a purpose built marquee from Friday November 16 - Sunday November 18.