John Collins at the Chelsea Flower Show
It's not too often Donegal manufactured products shine at a major world event but for 56-year-old creative metalworker, John Collins and his Fintown-based company, Miotalóireacht Ealaíne Teoranta, the recent Chelsea Flower Show provided a unique opportunity to do just that.
With its mixture of aesthetically pleasing and functional sculptures such as decorative bird feeders, water features, and birdbaths, John and his team certainly stunned visitors with his display including a member of the British royal family, Princess Beatrice, one of Britain's best actresses, Dame Judi Dench and a host of celebrities and sports stars who viewed their unique Donegal-inspired craftwork.
Anyone who makes it to the Chelsea Flower Show has to exhibit horticultural excellence and innovative design alongside history and tradition.
The event is also renowned as the place to buy high-quality products for the garden and home. It attracts thousands of visitors who come to see the best garden structures, accessories, and products available, and is the most stylish way to enjoy the world's finest flower show.
John said he was delighted with his Fintown products and the impact they made.
"This was my most successful Chelsea Flower Show and I've been coming here for 17 years. I was really please at the reception we received and the many orders our show garden generated. We got many orders which means our Fintown premises will be very busy for the rest of the year."
John says their steel and glass sculptures coupled with the gilded gold leaf ornaments proved to be a very unique selling point for their customers.
“Our organic designs stood out in the garden and in the sunshine. The landscape, sky, sea, and seaweed images went down very well. This gives something to build upon and returning to Chelsea again next year with more.”
He added the Paris and London Design Weeks were next on the list.
"I'm really excited about bringing beautiful rural Donegal to an international audience.
Una Brennan with Dame Judi Dench at the Fintown stand at the show
Fintown couple Joe and Una Brennan were at the show and were really impressed how the local product held its own with the high spending audience.
“We were delighted that John invited us as guests to the pre-opening day of the Chelsea Flower Show where he was exhibiting some of his fabulous creative metalwork under the proud banner ‘Lámhdheánta i nGaeltacht Láir Thír Chonaill’ (Handmade in the heart of Donegal).
“Access is restricted to TV, press, and invited guests so it was a chance to mix with the celebs if you knew any of them! The centrepiece of John’s display was the metal sculpture ‘Emergence’ made at his high-tech forge in Fintown and it certainly drew a lot of attention”, said Joe.
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