The Best Ever Christmas Gift Guide by Design Ireland

Choosing the most beautiful  gifts for the women in your life is easy with our essential guide to the most desirable Irish designs this Christmas. What better to find under the Christmas tree than a beautiful silk scarf or handbag, a stunning necklace or evocative candle? Rest easy as as we present our guide to the ultimate Irish gifts for her this holiday season. Christmas Gifts for Her and the essential Christmas Gift Guide this 2018

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Debbie Millington
Tibet, the jewel of the Himalayas, and its influence on colour in my silk scarf collection.

I weaved my way in amongst the crowd and was suddenly immersed into the flow, surrounded by an eclectic crowd - pilgrims, monks, purple-cheeked toddlers and their grandmothers, nomadic Golok women in miniature bowler hats and huge Khampa warriors wearing thick yak fur coats and hair embellished with red threaded turquoise and coral stones. Everyone walking in a clockwise circumnavigation encircling the Jokhang Temple spinning prayer wheels, chanting and performing this ancient ritual.

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Debbie Millington
My visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India

I wandered the walled city, idly meandering through its central streets, weaving my way through the busy traffic, street traders and general morning hustle and bustle. My eyes would divert left to right, scanning the stalls and shops lined with carpets, rugs and fabrics, piled high with farm produce and handicrafts. A sensory overload hit me in an instant, surrounding me with wonderful sights sounds and smells. 

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Debbie Millington
Colour me seasonless,non season driven designs in silk

 I think consumers don't get a chance to really reflect on what they like, they are just handed everything on a plate, every season 'must haves' and trends imposed on them. I appreciate small labels presenting either a single collection annually or the same / slightly varied collection twice a year, thus leaving more time for the designer to focus on what is really important- the brand, quality of design and craftsmanship. 

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Debbie Millington
Sea Silk - The Sacred Thread of the Sea 

I had never heard of Sea Silk until recently and became hugely intrigued by its historic value. 'Byssus' or sea silk in Greek means ‘highest quality of linen’ . In ancient times it had been reserved for the binding of Egyptian mummies and often gifted to the highest ranks of society. There is also ancient text referring to wearing togas of sea silk, cloaks or “Chlamys” for the ruling classes of the Roman Empire. In China the thread was called mermaids silk or sea wool, harvested from ‘water sheep’ and was often woven into fine brocaded cloth for the hierarchy.

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Debbie Millington
Mother Nature’s bizarre and beautiful creations translated into Silk 

A few years ago I had the opportunity to join an overland jeep safari across Africa. Capetown to Kenya. Eight thousand kilometres, seven countries in eight weeks. A trip of a lifetime. Part of the itinerary in Namibia was to visit the giant sand dunes of Sossusvlei and the petrified forest of Dead Vlei. 

I was so excited to see Africa by land but I had no idea what was in store for us. Something that would leave my jaw dropping and breathless with excitement.

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Debbie Millington
A brief history of silk and the silk making process.

The art form of silk making originated in China nearly 5000 years ago and they remain the largest producer of silk in the world. Because of its luxurious shimmering texture, strength, breathability and comfortable lustre, silk rapidly became a prized cloth to trade during pre industrial China, proving a highly lucrative commodity internationally. 

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Debbie Millington
The Art of Flour Painting and How It Has Influenced My Silk Scarf Designs 

Decorative painted art is not only on the walls and streets in India. They also love to paint animals. In the city of Jaipur, elephants hold a place of reverence in the Hindu religion. I was lucky enough to have experienced first hand the Purham Elephant Festival. Here elephants are garbed in the finest brocade costumes and are elaborately painted with vibrant coloured chalk paint. Usually these drawings consist of motifs of birds, flowers and animals. 

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