Northern Ireland will be showing off its creative side during August Craft Month as the 11th annual celebration of craft offers a feast of more than 200 events across the region.
With an amazing array of workshops, festivals, exhibitions, open studios, bus tours and talks aimed at attracting all ages and interests, Craft NI is encouraging people to get away from their computer screens and work with their hands.
Meadhbh McIlgorm of Craft NI says the demand for people to create for themselves was stronger than ever. 'We are noticing that more and more people are signing up to workshops to learn a new skill. There has been a resurge in making things again possibly as a reaction to our increasingly digital lives. August Craft Month is the perfect way to meet people with similar interests and learn from the best makers in Northern Ireland.'
There will be more than 60 workshops held right across Northern Ireland – from woodcarving to creating silver jewellery, spinning wool to craft for kids, leatherwork to ceramics – there’s something for everyone. There’s even a workshop teaching bladesmithing to survive a zombie apocalypse.
August Craft Month launches with the Film Makers exhibition, which presents new work from six contemporary makers, created in response to heritage footage from Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive. The exhibition opens at Mid Antrim Museum, The Braid on July 27.
It is just one of the many craft events taking place in every corner of Northern Ireland in August from exhibitions, festivals, workshops, craft fairs, artisan markets and craft trails highlighting the best in ceramics, glassmaking, jewellery making, textiles, wood turning and willow making.
- Synergy Studios in Newcastle, Co Down is hosting ‘Mancraft’ a special exhibition by male makers exploring masculine themes. Statistics show that 70% of makers in Northern Ireland are female and this exhibition seeks to spark interest in the work of male makers and encourage men to attend exhibitions and buy contemporary craft.
- With the continued popularity of the BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down, there has been an increased interest in ceramics in Northern Ireland. Two major exhibitions featuring the work of some of our most talented ceramicists are taking place – ‘Seven Shades’ at Down Arts Centre and ‘Landscape Defined’ at Framewerk in Belfast.
- There is also a new solo exhibition by one of Northern Ireland’s premier contemporary glassmakers, Alison Lowry at the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown.
- Glassmaking is relatively rare in Northern Ireland so don’t miss the opportunity to see demonstrations at a new glassblowing studio, opened by partners Scott Benefield and Andrea Spencer at Ballintoy on the North Antrim coast.
- Meanwhile metal artist and blacksmith Eamonn Higgins will be offering Survivalist workshops at Hot Milk Forge at his farm in Martinstown in the Glens of Antrim.
- There are also planned collaborations with the Open House Festival in Bangor Co Down including a craft beer garden featuring demonstrations from makers.
- And the Finn Lough Resort at Enniskillen is planning a one day festival to explore the hidden craft gems that the Fermanagh Lakeland has to offer.
August Craft Month is co-ordinated by Craft NI with support and funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. For full details of all August Craft Month events visit www.augustcraftmonth.com. To find out more about craft in your area all year round at www.craftni.org – subscribe for news, browse the maker’s directory and click on the interactive craft map.