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The Crafts Industry

The Crafts Industry

Craft is a vibrant sector in the Irish economy and one that’s greatly valued for what it adds to Irish life.

Craft goods are those made by hand or with tools, but with minimal heavy automated machinery. This means craft businesses are generally small scale and those who work for them are highly skilled in their trade. Common craft goods include pottery, textiles, jewellery, glass, woodcarvings and prints.

The Irish craft sector is diverse, existing right throughout the country rather than clustering in one or two locations as with many other industries. Many craft businesses are based in rural areas, providing valuable sources of employment and economic activity.

Craft products are particularly appealing to tourists, with the tourism industry and craft industry offering each other mutual support.

As craft businesses operate on such a small scale, those running the show will often find themselves calling out a broad set of skills. Sales skills will be needed for selling their work, marketing ability to promote exhibitions and products plus management talent to keep the staff focused. Work experience with an established craftsperson or craft business is a good way to get on the path to a career in the sector.

More Information...

Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The School of Jewellery Ireland
The School of Jewellery Ireland

Occupations in The Crafts Industry
(sorted by Job Zone)

Clothing Alteration Worker

Clothing alteration workers make alterations and repairs to all types of garments. They use sewing machines and do hand stitching.

Signwriter / Signmaker

Signwriters design and produce signs for a wide variety of uses such as industrial and commercial business as well as vehicles and road signs.


Thatchers cover roofs of houses, pubs, barns etc. with reeds or straw to make them waterproof.

Boat Builder
Constructs, repairs and restores the hulls and fittings of pleasure and small, commercial crafts including yachts, dinghies and narrow boats.
Ceramics Designer

Ceramics designers create designs for three-dimensional pottery products such as kitchenware, table and ovenware, tiles, bathroom accessories, decorative pieces etc.

Craft Designer

Craft designers create designs for a wide range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects. They may work for large-scale manufacturers or be self-employed.

French Polisher

French polishers prepare and treat wood to produce a smooth finish. They mainly work on furniture but may also french polish fixed timber, e.g, doors and panelling.


Designs, installs, maintains, and repairs locks and safes.

Metal Engraver

Inscribes artwork, designs and lettering into various types of metals .


Designs and creates hats, working from images to make new shapes and forms.

Shoe Repairer / Cobbler

Shoe repairers mend all types of footwear. They may operate from a shop or site within a high street shop. They may also repair other leather goods, engrave metal and cut keys.


Preserves dead animal specimens (mammals, birds, reptiles and fish) into lifelike representations.

Covers, repairs and renovates furniture using springs, padding and material.

Works with iron or steel to create custom objects such as iron gates, grills, ornamental railings, candlesticks, light fixtures, furniture, sculptures, tools and horse shoes.

A Blacksmith is a recognised craftsperson.

Bookbinder (Craft)
Involved in all aspects of the printing process after printing, using manual and automated techniques.
Cabinet Maker
Specialises in making pieces of furniture like bookcases, cupboards and wardrobes.
Carpenter / Joiner

The craft of carpentry and joinery is varied. It includes setting out, production and assembly of joinery such as stairs, doors, windows, floors and built-in furniture.

Costume Designer

Design costumes and stage sets for television, film and theatrical productions.

Designer / Maker - Craft

Crafts-based 'designer-makers' create products that bring together art, form and functionality for commercial purposes.

Make all kinds of dresses and skirts by measuring, cutting and sewing cloth.
Fashion Designer

Designs and creates all kinds of clothes and fashion accessories.

Furniture Designer / Maker

Produces concepts and designs for interesting, aesthetic, and functional furniture and related products.


Glass  Makers and Glass Artists make all kinds of glass objects from the glass for windows and bottles, to drinking vessels, tableware, ornaments and sculptural objects.


Designs, constructs, maintains, and repairs timepieces such as watches, clocks, or precision laboratory equipment.

Jeweller / Silversmith / Goldsmith

Sells, designs, makes and repairs wearable and decorative or functional objects such as rings, earrings, necklaces, watches and tableware using using both precious and non-precious metals and stones, and other materials such as glass, plastic, paper and fabrics.

Makes a miniature-scaled version of buildings, ships and other development or construction designs.
Musical Instrument Technician

Designs and makes musical instruments and also carries out repairs, maintenance and restoration work.

Potter / Ceramicist

Designs and makes utensils and ornaments from clay and water.


Works with printers and printing equipment developing techniques and printing processes.

Screen Printer

Screen printers use a fabric screen method of printing. They print designs, pictures and other images onto a variety of materials.

Designs and creates statues, artistic objects and figures by moulding and carving from various materials.
Woodturner / Woodmachinist

Uses special machines to cut and shape pieces of wood for use in the making of furniture, doors and windows, wooden objects and specialist craft pieces.

Ceramics Technologist

Ceramics technologists carry out work concerned with the science and technology of ceramic materials.

Conservator - Museum / Art Gallery

Preserves objects to protect them from decay, usually specialising in a particular material or group of objects such as textiles, furniture or paintings.