Pieces by artists with autism to be showcased at Gifted craft and design fair at the RDS

The work of artists with autism will be featured at a craft and design fair in Dublin this week.

Gifted, the country’s biggest craft and design fair, kicks off at the RDS this Wednesday, December 6.

Cora Walsh’s clothing and homeware company Dyeboo reproduces paintings by autistic artists on T-shirts, tote bags, cushions and socks.

The artists are paid a commission for their work to be reproduced across the range of Dyeboo products.

The more products a design or piece of artworks is included on, the more recognition and commission the artist receives.

She named the company Dyeboo after a phrase her son Conor (39) used as a child to “express his joy at beautiful things”.

Ms Walsh (70) said she came up with the idea for Dyeboo “after discovering there were limited platforms on which Conor could express himself through his artwork”.

Conor’s own work will now be featured at Gifted for the first time this year.

“Many autistic people often experience sensory overload, so for them, the noise and crowds of a market or exhibition centre could be overwhelming and provide an obstacle to them displaying their work,” Ms Walsh said.

“We want to give autistic people a voice and a way for them to exhibit their huge talent which, like everyone else, they are entitled to do. Essentially, the company bridges the worlds of art, creativity and autism advocacy.”

Dyeboo’s collection at the RDS will also feature a limited edition snowman T-shirt created by 11 autistic children in collaboration with Involve Autism. The children all drew snowmen, with Dyeboo reproducing their work on the special T-shirt. Part of the sales proceeds will go towards supporting Involve Autism’s efforts to set up art and sports groups, and run coffee mornings in support of new parents of autistic children.

Ms Walsh, a native of Salthill, Co Galway, now lives across the Atlantic in Cleveland, Ohio. Dyeboo is based in Templeogue in Dublin and is run in Ireland by Ms Walsh’s niece Cathy McEvoy. All of Dyeboo’s products are sourced with organic cotton and placed in sustainably packaging.

With the work of 400 designers, makers and artisan food producers featured at Gifted this week, more than €5m is expected to be spent across the five days of the fair.

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