No glass ceiling for Natasha

Natasha Duddy.
Natasha Duddy.

A unique range of jewellery handmade by a contemporary glass designer based in Eglinton has been winging its way to fashion-forward customers as far afield as the United States and Japan.

Natasha Duddy Glass Designs has proved extremely popular among tourists visiting Londonderry’s Craft Village, eager to take home pieces of fused glass jewellery and giftware from the North West.

Visitors to Derry City Council’s annual Guildhall Craft Fair have been acquainting themselves with Natasha’s work for the past 15 years and she’ll be there again this year with new additions to her seasonal collection of stunning colour combinations and mesmerizing reflective glass.

A busy mum of two little girls, Natasha manages to fit in the studio time to ensure there is enough stock available for the craft shops she supplies across the north west and into Donegal.

An extra big effort has gone in to making sure that everything is perfect for the opening of the Guildhall Craft Fair this weekend, which heralds the start of Derry City Council’s Christmas events programme.

A member of the Craft Village Collective, Natasha points to the “excellent standard and great reputation” of the three-day event which saw 4,000 visitors through the doors last year. With 40 exhibitors taking part from across Ireland, the organisers are hoping that business will be brisk as craft lovers come out in force to shop for unique Christmas gifts.

She said: “People come from afar for the Guildhall Craft Fair as it has such a good reputation for high quality craft that is affordable. Even in a recession, people still want to buy presents. They are out looking for something unique and repeat customers will come back.”

Natasha has pulled out all the stops to ensure that her seasonal range is kept updated and this year she will have glass Christmas tree decorations and new glass pieces which can be personalised with photos and text. She has also been putting the finishing touches to decorative Christmas coasters and little glass Guardian Angels.

A former pupil of Limavady Grammar School, Natasha studied BDes Hons in Craft Design, specialising in Glass at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin, and teaches workshops and glass courses at a number of venues in the north west.

Natasha Duddy Glass Designs is one of ten craft companies from the Derry City Council area taking part in the Guildhall Craft Fair and is also participating in the Council’s Craft Development Programme export programme which aims to develop capacity to export through a series of workshops and specialist mentoring support. The local makers will also be participating in visits to trade shows in Dublin, London and Harrogate next year to help develop new markets and grow exports.

Natasha added: “I love participating in the Guildhall Craft Fair; the whole atmosphere is great. A lot of the crafters don’t see each other from year to year. It is great to see friendships build and grow with the other crafters – it’s a whole network.”

Natasha Duddy Glass Designs is also featured on the Craft NI tour map guide where people can visit the workshop at 40a Ballygudden Road, Eglinton, by prior appointment. Email natasha@natashaduddyglassdesigns.com or Tel: 028 7181 0055.

The Guildhall Craft Fair takes place on Friday, November 14 (2pm-8pm); Saturday, November 15 (10am-6pm); and Sunday, November 16 (11am-5pm). Admission is £1, free for under-14s.

There will be children’s arts and crafts workshops on the Saturday and Sunday (1pm-4pm) and live music from local soloists, harp school, string quartet and choral group throughout the weekend.

For more details, including the full list of exhibitors, and Derry City Council’s extensive Christmas programme, visit www.festivetime.com