All I want for Christmas…Great ideas for locally sourced gifts
Still struggling with the Christmas shopping? From books and original art, to tickets for a great play or concert, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland picks out some perfect presents to warm the heart on Christmas morning…
- Browse for gifts from local artists including Chloe Dougan, Eimear O'Caoilte, Michael Reid and Debbie Young at the brand new Shop at The Duncairn. With a range of textile, fashion, print, jewellery, ceramics and wood craft on offer, gifts are priced from as little as £8 for a child's hand-knit hat, up to £80 for framed lino-cut, limited edition prints. Gift vouchers are available and can also be used for workshops and gigs at the centre.
- For those hungry for new year treats, the annual Out to Lunch Festival returns on January 4th and runs until 27th January. Now in its 14th year, the festival features the best in comedy, theatre, literature and music to brighten up those often dreary post-Christmas days. This year’s line-up includes, Bronagh Gallaher, Scott Matthews, The Allergies, and poems and music by Frank Ormsby and Anthony Toner. For more information visit: www.cqaf.com
- Space CRAFT NI has some beautiful gifts in store from local makers, including Christmas decorations, hand-made jewellery and textiles. Browse their store in the Fountain Centre for unique presents. Pictured, brooch by Jill Graham Jewellery from her Bloom Collection, featuring moving ‘blooms' of silver and rich 22ct gold on a textured sterling silver convex sphere, priced £200 (photography by Sharon Duffin Photography).
- Tickets please! The MAC, Lyric Theatre, Millennium Forum, Playhouse, Waterside Theatre, all have fantastic shows coming up in 2019, including musicals, comedy, family favourites and opera. One highlight is certain to be the National Theatre’s production of Macbeth, which runs from 5th-9th March the Grand Opera House Belfast. Tickets available from www.goh.co.uk, prices start at £14.50.
- If you are looking for a present that is hot off the press, Seacourt Print Workshop in Bangor has just launched its Annual Members’ Exhibition, with a huge range of limited edition original prints by Northern Ireland printmakers on show including RUA member Margaret Arthur, Catherine Thompson, Deirdre McCrory, Penny Brewill and Mervyn Jones to name a few. The exhibition runs until Friday 21st December and is open weekdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm. For more information go to seacourt-ni.org.uk. Pictured, Lung Full of Joy, Mervyn Jones linoprint, £45 unframed
- Own Art is an interest free loan scheme, supported by the Arts Council, which makes buying a piece of art easier and more affordable by spreading the cost over 10 months. Spoil your loved one and choose from jewellery, ceramics, paintings, original prints and objet d’art. Participating galleries include Gormleys, ArtisAnn Gallery and Steensons. For more information visit www.ownart.org.uk. Pictured, platinum ring with .050ct oval diamond and two brilliant cut diamonds 0.03ct, £2635
- Making music can be a costly business, so whether you want to encourage someone who is just starting out or support a professional musician, Take it Away could be the perfect gift idea. Similar to Own Art, the Take It Away scheme offers the opportunity to purchase a musical instrument, equipment and software and pay the costs off over 10 months, with the Arts Council covering the cost of interest on your loan. See www.artscouncil-ni.org for more information on participating stores.
- And for the book lovers….
Northern Ireland has an abundance of home grown literary talent and this year has been a bumper year for awards and accolades, not least for Man Booker Prize winner Anna Burns’s Milkman (Faber & Faber, £8.99). A fantastic and distinctive novel set in an unnamed city, where being interesting is dangerous.
Oliver Jeffers’s Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth (HarperCollins, £14.99) and its very first translation into Irish as Anseo Atá Muid (Futa Fata, £15.00) by the NI Children’s Writing Fellow Myra Zepf, is a stunning children’s book. Dedicated to Jeffers young son, this beautifully illustrated book traverses the continents, people and planets with humour and awe.
Field of Dreams is the frank and engaging story of how Bob and Rosemary Salisbury’s desire to develop a seventeen-acre piece of land in Tyrone into a home and garden fuelled a passion for wildlife and nature. With no animal or birdlife and a limited budget this is a funny and inspiring tale of optimisim in the face of adversity (Blackstaff Press, £9.99).
Former recipient of the Arts Council’s Major Artist Award, Ian Sansom has just released a new collection of short stories. A celebration and antidote to all things seasonal and festive, December Stories I is published by No Alibis Press in Belfast and priced at £9.99.