There’s not much ‘joie de vivre’ to be found in a bare January garden, unless of course you’ve recently visited a market in West Cork and discovered the joy of Blackthorn Joe, as Sheila Mullins did in Skibbereen.
Strolling past stalls in Skibbereen or Bantry market, it is impossible not to stop and smile at a lively collection of metal garden sculptures, which include a rocking crow, strutting cockerel and a quizzical owl. Since they set up Blackthorn Joe last summer, Jane and Jeremy Davies have been bringing a quirky sense of fun to gardens large and small and love to see how their ornaments catch shopper’s attention.
“We’ve spent a long time sourcing colourful, unique and quirky products from around the world; Thailand, India and Europe,” says Jane. “We want to bring something different to gardens and we seem to have hit the spot with our collection, as it’s selling really well.”
“We keep a small stock that is constantly rolling so that there is always something new to see,” adds Jeremy.
Owls, ducks, peacocks, swans and dragonflies – Blackthorn Joe’s products have found all sorts of new homes throughout Munster, from rambling cottage gardens to stately home lawns to modern townhouse patios. A spectacles-wearing crow now grabs potential customers attention outside a local opticians!
“This past Christmas we saw that our sculptures also make great gifts,” Jane recalls. “One customer gave a sigh of relief as she bought a peacock for her mother-in-law. She had been struggling to find something for the person ‘who has everything’.”
Blackthorn Joe has not only hit the spot with their customer’s taste but also with their budgets. Prices range from just €4 up to a maximum of €70 for the larger pieces, which is fantastic value for a unique handcrafted piece that will become a talking point of your garden.
Blackthorn Joe can be found every Friday at Bantry market and every Saturday morning at Skibbereen market. You can see their latest additions at facebook/BlackthornJoe. You can also buy online using PayPal (Jane and Jeremy are based in Kilbrittain but travel around West Cork and can make special arrangements for delivery or collection). Phone 086 2681372.