Archive film footage of Northern Ireland’s rich tradition of making has inspired an exhibition of contemporary work that has launched August Craft Month 2017.
Film Makers presents new pieces from six makers responding to heritage footage from Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive. The exhibition opened at Mid Antrim Museum, The Braid on 27 July.
Featuring functional and conceptual pieces by Sharon Adams, Sheena Devitt, Nicola Gates, Alison Fitzgerald, Ronan Lowery and Peter Surginor, it shows how their encounter with the archive has inspired new ideas and developments in each of the makers’ work.
A range of activities from dry-stone walling to drum-making, butter sculpting to creel weaving captured the group’s imagination and fed into the new work in ceramic, stone, basketry, furniture, textiles and silver. These works are seen alongside edited footage that shows the heritage inspiration in parallel with new films of the contemporary making process. Objects from the Mid Antrim Museum’s collection will be used as samples of materials and techniques seen in the archive.
Sharon Adams, one of the makers featured and the exhibition project manager, said: “Film Makers is a great example of makers interacting with archive material and seeing it in new ways. It highlights connections between materials and making, both past and present.”
This is one of more than 200 craft events taking place across 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.
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 said 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 resurgence 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.”
- 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 success 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 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 there is an 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 his 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 and supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added: “Craft NI is back with another impressive programme of craft events taking place across Northern Ireland. August Craft Month has been steadily growing each year with more and more people taking part and trying something new. The Arts Council is delighted to support this terrific celebration of craft, which offers an important platform to showcase the talent of our local craft makers and bring great art within the reach of everyone.”
For full details of all August Craft Month events visit: augustcraftmonth.com. 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 to see, make or buy craft near you.