Hands Video Series

Unique documentaries on traditional Irish crafts & lifestyles

Produced and filmed by David and Sally Shaw-Smith
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Within sight and sound of the wild Atlantic Ocean, a spinning wheel turns rhythmically in time to the high lonely cry of the sandpiper, echoing the history of a craft which may go back 3000 years into Ireland's past. David and Sally Shaw-Smith documented more than forty different traditional Irish crafts, from the weaving of crioses (colourful woollen belts) and the making of pampooties (moccasin-type shoes) on the Aran Islands, to the creation of items as varied as harps and candles, curraghs, drystone walls and Irish lace.

Imbued by a sense of urgency to record crafts in their natural surroundings before they disappeared completely, David and his wife Sally, under contract to RTE, travelled the length and breadth of Ireland and its islands to assemble this important collection of 37 films on traditional Irish crafts and lifestyles, where the emphasis is on the skills of human hands rather than on machines.

The filmmaker, David Shaw-Smith, grew up in Dublin, Ireland. From an early age, he was inspired by traditional practices and the natural world. He learnt his craft, initially working in television, joining the recently formed RTE Irish state broadcasting organisation in the early 1960's. After this, he went on to work for the renowned wildlife filmmaker Gerrit Van Gelderen, from whom he leant his camera craft. With this experience under his belt and a clear vision, he went out independently to make numerous films, many of which are included in this series.

The films not only record the various craft processes in great detail, but also create a unique archive of life in Ireland at the end of the 20th century. David's skilled camera work and direction, accompanied by Sally's creativity, and with help from an array of talented editors, technicians and sensitive narrators, combined to produce this outstanding series of documentaries.


  • The complete series of 37 award winning documentaries on traditional Irish crafts and lifestyles, where the emphasis is on the skills of human hands rather than on the machines
  • 14 Region free DVDs
  • Over 20 hours long. All films are 30 min. long unless otherwise indicated
  • Packaged in a sturdy spiral bound keep case with included booklet
  • Made in Ireland



Harp Making

Chair Maker John Surlis

Belleek Potteries

Shannon One Design

A Dublin Candlemaker


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