Ballymena is celebrating August Craft Month with a series of festivals, events and workshops taking place throughout the month.
The second ‘Five Artists Show in a Byre’ Exhibition takes place at the Byre at the Old Frosses Road, Ballymena from August 13 to 29.
This is an exhibition of sculpture, furniture, ceramics and print at the studio of artist and maker, Sharon Adams in a converted cowshed at her farmhouse in the Glarryford/Cloughmills area.
The exhibition features one off work by Sharon, metal artist and blacksmith Eamonn Higgins from Martinstown, furniture maker Noel McCullough from Cloughwater, painter/weaver/printmaker Cecilia Stephens from Portaferry and fine artist Anushiya Sundaralingam from Belfast via Sri Lanka.
Eamonn Higgins will also be hosting an Introduction to Blacksmithing and Blade Smithing at Hot Milk Forge, at his family farm in Martinstown, Glenravel from August 24-26.
The tenth August Craft Month was launched at the Market Place Gallery when celebrated Northern Irish potter Jack Doherty returned to his native land to open August Craft Month 2016 with a major new exhibition on July 28.
Doherty, who has forged a remarkable international reputation from his home in Cornwall, is back in Northern Ireland with ‘Waypoint’ his outstanding solo exhibition.
Waypoint is being shown in conjunction with the John Hewitt International Summer School, the week-long annual literary festival in honour of Northern Ireland’s most famous poets.
He said: “I am so excited to be coming home to launch this year’s August Craft Month. It is fitting that it should be in the Market Place Gallery Armagh as I opened my first studio in County Armagh.”
He is also looking forward to being part of the John Hewitt International Summer School: “I have read his writings over the years. I have collaborated on cross cultural events but never on a literary festival. I have always been interested in this kind of collaboration that can be generated between different forms and different ways of expressing ideas.”
This is one of over 200 craft events taking place across Northern Ireland in August from exhibitions, festivals and workshops, to craft fairs, special artisan markets and art trails, showcasing the best in ceramics, glassmaking, jewellery making, textiles, wood turning and willow making.
Other exhibitions include Alchemy – an exhibition of the work of makers currently on the makingit business development programme run by Craft NI and supported the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.
And this year, the two festivals of craft, Creative Peninsula and Craft Fest have been joined by a new kid on the block, Creative Coast organised by the Causeway Coast Artists Collective.
Alan Kane, Chief Executive of Craft NI, who co-ordinates August Craft Month, said the contemporary craft sector continues to grow from strength to strength in Northern Ireland.
He said: “This year’s programme is testament to the incredible diversity and range of talent of Northern Ireland’s contemporary makers. We are delighted that so many artists and venues have signed up for the tenth August Craft Month which promises to be one of the most memorable yet.”
Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland: added: “Craft NI are back with yet another jam-packed, impressive programme of craft events around the region. Year on year Craft Month has been steadily growing with more and more people taking part. The Arts Council is delighted to support this terrific celebration of craft, which also offers an important platform to showcase the talent of our local craft makers, and we would encourage everyone to get involved in an event near you.”
Grainne McVeigh, Invest NI’s Director of Consumer Products, said: “Craft NI has helped to launch and nurture many successful innovative design-led businesses and its work in building and promoting August Craft Month has created a wonderful platform to highlight our local craft to a growing international audience.”