Inspired by artist-founder Olivia Abdallaoui’s community art residency in Cairo, Irth Designs is a range of beautiful homewares, gifts and accessories lovingly sourced from Egypt and other places close to her heart.
The Arabic word Irth means ‘inheritance’ or ‘transfer of possessions’ – representing the idea that beautiful, well-made objects will be treasured and passed on to others for their enjoyment.
Olivia grew up in a house full of interesting objects inherited from her ancestors – in particular many beautiful handmade things from Egypt, where her paternal grandparents had lived in the 1940s. Inspired to visit Egypt, in 2014 Olivia travelled to Cairo to do a community-focused artist residency, which culminated in a solo exhibition called Irth. While in Cairo and during her travels to South Sinai, Olivia loved meeting the Egyptian and Bedouin maker-stallholders in the local markets and exploring the vibrant little shops full of treasures. She started to put together a collection of interesting handmade objects and textiles rarely seen back home in the UK, to decorate her rather spartan art studio and the collecting (& travelling!) has continued since then.
Irth Designs stocks many objects hand-selected by Olivia on her travels in Egypt, Morocco, Italy and of course the UK: handmade and unusual jewellery, homewares, textiles and accessories – bright, decorative pieces that make the perfect counterpoint to her love of elegant Italian and Northern European design. She has often met and bought products directly from the makers, ensuring excellent fairtrade conditions where possible – and where she is unable to visit suppliers in person, she carefully chooses products from companies who share a similar ethos.
Olivia has designed a range of greetings cards, which complement the carefully selected cards, art prints and stationery by other artists also available from Irth Designs.
After the Irth Designs bricks & mortar shop in Hastings Old Town closed in January 2023, you can now shop the beautiful range of products online.