Ballymena and Antrim are all set to celebrate August Craft Month with activities aplenty.
There are more than 150 craft-related events taking place in venues throughout Northern Ireland during August including festivals, exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations and opportunities to buy high quality craft directly from makers.
Locally, you’ll have the chance from August 22-23 to take part in a Beginners Week in Blacksmithing at Hot Milk Forge Blacksmithing School in Ballymena.
Participants will be introduced to the seven basic skills of blacksmithing under the guidance of established artist/Blacksmith, Eamonn Higgins (www.hotmilkforge.com 07740 510008)
If accommodation is required, Ballyeamon Barn Hostel has offered a special rate for the event with a free Traditional Music and Story Telling session on the Saturday night, August 22, with internationally renowned story teller Liz Weir.
Meanwhile, Antrim highlights include...
Silver Earring and Necklace Making at Clotworthy House from August 8-9. This two-day jewellery making course with Diane Lyness will give you the chance to make your own silver necklace and matching earrings.
On August 11: Selling Craft: Showcasing Craft Merchandise with Shalina Alabaksh will take place at the Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim. At this event, Craft NI will present a retail masterclass with Shalina Alabaksh offering professional tips and tricks of the trade to craft retailers on how they can visually merchandise craft in a dynamic and exciting way.
On August 15, Pogues Entry Historical Cottage will be the venue for 3D Paper Quilling with Bill McBride from whom you can learn basic quilling techniques and make an item which can be given as a gift or kept as reminder of an enjoyable day.
On August 29, there will be a Willow Traditional Flower Basket workshop with Clive Lyttle at Clotworthy House.
August Craft Month is in celebratory mood this year as Craft NI marks its 10th anniversary with a special retrospective exhibition featuring the work of Northern Ireland’s leading makers.
Two new exhibitions celebrating the creativity and diversity of Ireland’s designer makers officially launched this year’s August Craft Month at the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown on July 30.
The first is ‘Ontogeny’, a solo exhibition by acclaimed ceramic artist, Sara Flynn and the second is ‘Making It: 10’, a celebration of 10 years of Craft NI’s successful business development programme, which has launched the careers of more than 30 makers.
With Craft NI itself celebrating its 10th anniversary, Chief Executive Alan Kane said the contemporary craft sector in Northern Ireland has become increasingly more influential over the years.
He said: “We are continuing to work with partners such as Invest NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to promote and grow the craft industry in Northern Ireland. This year we are looking at how designer makers can interact with local retailers to showcase the best of Northern Ireland craft.
“August Craft Month would not be possible without the creative input, talent and ingenuity of our craft community.
“These are exciting times in the craft industry in Northern Ireland and this is highlighted by the numbers of makers coming here to be part of its evolution and success,” Alan added.
Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “This month-long craft festival beautifully showcases the talent of our makers many of whom incorporate cultural references and indigenous materials into their work. With 130 exhibitions, events and workshops happening in many towns and cities across Northern Ireland, there’s something for everyone so go along, get involved and be inspired by the wonderful work on display.”
And, Grainne McVeigh, Invest NI’s Director of Consumer Products, said: “Invest NI is delighted to celebrate 10 years of partnership with Craft NI and its “Making It” programme. We welcome the exhibition, “Making It 10” as a creative inspiration to launch August Craft Month 2015,”
For full details of all August Craft Month events, visit the Craft NI website: www.craftni.org and click on the August Craft Month section.