Time to hit the Craft Trail this summer
Tucked away among the rolling hills and rocky shores of Northern Ireland lie dozens of creative hideaways where craftspeople produce work of exquisite quality.
Northern Ireland features a rich heritage of craft and now visitors can discover these hidden gems by following an online map to create their own Craft Trail.
Craft Northern Ireland’s online Craft Map uncovers the rich diversity of designer-makers, studios and craft outlets across each county offering a plethora of places for local people and tourists alike to visit.
Visitors can put together their own Craft Trail itinerary as the Craft Map found at www.craftni.org – features information on the work of the makers and even includes a selection of excellent videos capturing the landscape and the work of the makers.
Among the places featured include: Turnip House in Castlewellan with its unspoiled rural location and views of the Mournes where Elaine and John McCombe have been creating knitwear and felt items since 1987; at Welig Heritage Crafts basketmakers Clive Lyttle and Elaine Burke grow their own willow from their small holding on the edge of Strangford Lough; at Leadlines stained glass artist David Esler works in a beautiful studio perched on the side of Donegore Hill near Antrim.
During August, Northern Ireland celebrates August Craft Month and this year there are more than 100 events, workshops, gallery exhibitions and talks.
August 5-30: McAleer & Doherty: Double Flipside. A collaborative visual journey with Dr Sarah McAleer & Eddie J Doherty. Known independently for their successful contemporary jewellery pieces and high-end commission work constructed in precious materials, like platinum, gold, diamonds, sapphires and pearls, McAleer&Doherty’s exhibition aims to give you a glimpse of their ‘alternative’ sides.
Sharing many complementary ideals, design styles and construction techniques, McAleer&Doherty will investigate how they traditionally convert inspirations and concepts into 3-dimensions.
August 7-30: Costumes, Props, Armour and Weapons at Space CRAFT, Fountain Street, Belfast – The Craft and Design Collective exhibition of work by artists and designer makers working behind the scenes making props for Northern Ireland’s burgeoning film industry.
August 8-22: Reclaim The Streets –Derry collective CultureCraft follow up last year’s highly successful launch exhibition with a four week event which will see renowned US craft designer Boris Bally take up residency in North West College.
August 1 – 31: Ring of Gullion Handcrafts and Art presents Ring of Gullion Festival of Craft taking place inTi Chulainn Cultural Activity Centre and various studios in South Armagh including demonstrations and taster sessions in fused glass, ceramics, feltmaking, wood turning and an arts and crafts summer school for children ages 5 – 11.
August 9 and August 30: Living History Pottering About at Enniskillen Castle Museum: Craft has been in vogue since humankind began and the public areinvited to have a go at creating their own Neolithic Pots.
August 5 – 29: Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh have a range of craft workshops, demonstrations and talks as part of the live and learn project aimed at those aged 50 and over.
August 19: Director of the Design Trust, Patricia van den Akker delivering a workshop to makers about the creative process.
For full details of all August Craft Month events, visit the Craft NIwebsite: www.craftni.org and click on the August Craft Month section.
To find out about all the makers and events in your area, click on the interactive craft map.