Emerald Chosen to Produce St. Patricks Day Bowl

On Tuesday the 18th of February staff at Emerald were thrilled to receive a call from the Taoiseach's office informing them that they had been chosen to produce the 2014 St. Patricks day bowl that will be presented to President Obama in the Whitehouse.

The 2014 Presidents Shamrock Bowl was designed by Martin Croke, cut by Walter Walsh, Master Craftsman and engraved by Jody Walsh of Emerald Crystal.

This year's theme is Croagh Patrick and Martin Croke, Emerald Designer, approached this with the following ideas:

  • When working on the design what immediately came to mind was the iconic outline of Croagh Patrick with its long winding path and the pilgrims that use it in their annual struggle to the top. Working through a series of sketches I sought ways to incorporate both the physical landscape and the physical challenge that is Croagh Patrick.
  • The finished piece is inspired by the landscape with a series of inverted "v-shaped" tops repeating the outline of the mountain. From these, deep swirling cuts cross the surface of the bowl, reminiscent of the pathway that leads to the top. Splayed rosette cuts provide a base from which a delicate pattern of cut shamrocks make their way back to the top of the bowl – a fitting motif for the occasion. One panel of the bowl is reserved for the inscription, marking the occasion, and directly behind this is another panel with an engraving of Croagh Patrick looming high above a group of pilgrims preparing themselves for the struggle ahead.

This was a difficult piece to cut requiring the cutter, Walter Walsh, to strike a delicate balance between the deep cuts of the main pattern and the light intaglio cutting of the shamrocks. I was delighted with its execution and Walter, confident in his craft, added his own embellishments making this a truly collaborative piece of Irish crystal, destined to play its own part in the Ireland's celebration of Saint Patrick's Day 2014.

Delighted to be part of the team that produced the piece I see it as a metaphor for the meditative and physical struggle that is Croagh Patrick and perhaps the everyday effort needed to achieve one's goals in life.

Walter Walsh, founder and artisan at Emerald says we were so proud to have been asked to submit a design and take part in the selection process but then when we received the call that we were actually chosen it was a great day for the company and staff.

The company was founded in 2009 by Walter with the help of the EGF fund and city and county enterprise boards and its brand Emerald was launched in 2012. Emerald employs up to eleven people during peak times, the majority who are former Waterford Crystal Employees. These include designers, engravers, sculptors and master cutters. These artisans' lifelong experience and expertise in creating fine crystal by hand, have been combined at the Emerald facility in Waterford City.

Being chosen to make the bowl demonstrates once again the high esteem in which Waterford city Artisans are held when it comes to creating the world's finest crystal. It also highlights peoples appreciation of Irish made quality crystal.

The exposure this will give to the fledgling brand Emerald both at home and around the world is invaluable. On a personal level, all staff members are very proud to take part in this special tradition and symbol of friendship between Ireland and the US.

Emerald is proudly committed to preserving traditional crystal making in Waterford and hopes to take on new apprentices in the coming year to ensure the craft carries on to the next generation.

Emerald is currently sold in Waterford Shop, Hibernian Gifts as well as many other shops in Ireland, the US and Europe. It is also available at www.emerald.ie.

A replica of the Emerald Shamrock bowl will be in Hibernian Gifts, Bolton Street Waterford will be on view from Thursday 20th March until the 27th.