New exhibition provides a boost for innovative makers

Randalstown-based glass blower, Scott Benenfield.
Randalstown-based glass blower, Scott Benenfield.

The artistic creations of nine designer makers who have just completed Craft NI’s unique Innovation Boost Programme will go on display at Bangor’s North Down Museum.

The fascinating new exhibition from March 7-13 features the work of established ceramicists, glass makers, textile artists and stone carvers and jewellery designers.

The makers involved include Randalstown-based glass blower, Scott Benenfield.

With support from the Creative Industries Innovation Fund, this new programme launched in October to develop the work of makers who have been in business for five years or more and were looking for a fresh creative impetus.

The exhibition, which showcases three examples of each makers’ work, has been curated by Robert Martin, Director of R-Space contemporary gallery in Lisburn.

He said: “It is all about reflecting the changes that this programme has had on the work of each maker. People will find this exhibition an interesting and engaging statement on the creative process and how an artist’s work is constantly evolving.”

Each of the makers have been working with a mentor to look afresh at their work in a bid to develop new products or re-design some of their existing products to make them more contemporary and commercial.

Alan Kane, Chief Executive of Craft NI, said: “The Innovation Boost programme has enabled local designer-makers to take a step back and look at their work with the help of their mentors. The exhibition is an exciting opportunity to see how this process has encouraged innovation, fresh thinking and new directions.

“In some cases the makers have been developing new work, and in others it has been more of a business exercise, improving their brand and presence on social media.”

Lorraine McDowell, Director of Operations, Arts Council of Northern Ireland: “The Arts Council of Northern applauds Craft NI on the development of this innovative initiative which offers Designers Makers the opportunity for mentorship and professional development.

At the Arts Council we seek to put our support firmly behind local artists and designers helping them develop their creative ideas into commercial success and we wish all involved every success with the Innovation Boost Programme.”

The Craft NI Innovation Boost Exhibition runs from March 7-13 at North Down Museum.

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