Meet the Maker: Willie & Cheryl McHutcheon, Ballyshane

Posted 11.08.21

Meet the Maker: Willie & Cheryl McHutcheon, Ballyshane

Willie and Cheryl McHutcheon are the people behind Ballyshane, a family run business based in the gorgeous countryside just outside Carlow town. Woodturning has always been a passion for Willie and he has spent the last 17 years honing his craft. Cheryl grew up behind the counter in her parent’s hardware store and has always had a passion for Irish design and craft. Together Willie and Cheryl created Ballyshane, named after their home in Ballyshane which provides much of the inspiration for their work. The studio space includes a workshop where the Ballyshane products are handcrafted from traceable Irish hardwoods. To read the Ballyshane story and to shop their 100% sustainable products visit www.ballyshane.com.

What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
First off I check emails, print orders and turn the machines on. The day is then spent marking out timber and getting boards ready for the sanding stage. Then I sand, sand and do a bit more sanding. We oil and get the boards packed and ready for the courier. Each day is a bit different, it's what makes it so enjoyable.

What do you like most about your work?
Getting to work together. It is nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of.

What do you like least about your work?
Cheryl would definitely say the sawdust. It is everywhere!

What's your favourite craft item in your home?
We don't have just one. Our house is filled with beautiful pieces from loads of Irish crafters; from John Ryan ceramics to Foxford throws.

What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
Just go for it. If you genuinely want to work in the craft industry, then just take the leap.

What's your favourite time of the day?
The afternoon. We just moved into our new studio space and the light that comes into it in the afternoon is amazing. Our last workshop was so dark.

How do you switch off?
Walking or going to the cinema.

How do you start your day?
Coffee.. Lots of coffee!!! Then check what orders are on the system.

What's the first thing you do when you leave the studio?
We have a 9 month old baby so our evenings are spent with her.

Favourite film?
Any of the old classics.

Best concert you have ever been to?
Bruce Springsteen at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny

Favourite meal?
Pizza

Music when you're working?
Yes

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