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August Craft Month launches with top Northern Ireland artistic talent

Monday 6th August 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Craft , Visual Arts

Suzanne Lyle (Head of Visual Arts at Arts Council NI) with local artists Sandra Turley, Damian Magee and Jill Phillips and Jan Irwin (Craft NI) at the launch of August Craft Month Image: Suzanne Lyle (Head of Visual Arts at Arts Council NI) with local artists Sandra Turley, Damian Magee and Jill Phillips and Jan Irwin (Craft NI) at the launch of August Craft Month

Northern Ireland is celebrating the wealth of exceptional craft talent on its doorstep during August Craft Month, which officially launched on Friday evening at the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown.

Northern Ireland is at the forefront of the burgeoning craft movement across the globe. With internationally renowned makers, artisan craft start-ups and increasingly popular craft activity-led tourism, the vibrant craft sector is thriving. There is a blossoming interest in and commitment to products that are made as opposed to manufactured and that are made locally, and the talented artists, designers and makers in Northern Ireland are meeting the demand.

This year’s launch event coincided the opening of the stunning ‘LINEN’ exhibition, which will be hosted at the Millennium Court Arts Centre until Wednesday 29th August. The enlightening exhibition is a celebration of Europe’s oldest textile and features work from local artists Damien Magee, Jill Phillips and Sandra Turley as well as international talent Mylene Boisvert and Christine Mauersberger.
The month-long celebration, enabled by CRAFT NI and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through the National Lottery, showcases the excellence and diversity of craft in Northern Ireland and provides a fantastic opportunity for everyone to make, see, learn about and buy craft.

Jan Irwin of CRAFT NI said,

“We are thrilled to be co-ordinating the 12th annual August Craft Month and what a fantastic start we have had at the Millennium Court Arts Centre. The events are a wonderful opportunity to highlight the remarkable quality of our artists, designers and makers in Northern Ireland. The public and our visitors are encouraged to engage with our makers, to enjoy the experiences and to learn more from some of our top talent. The dedicated August Craft Month website holds all the information regarding when and where these exceptional events will take place.”

Across all pockets of Northern Ireland there will be over 100 hands-on and intimate events including workshops, exhibitions featuring world-class artists, fun festivals, studio grand openings and insightful talks. August Craft Month boasts a host of new offerings for 2018 including workshops that vary in focus from wellbeing to genealogy tracing, and glass bead design to dress making.

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said,

“CRAFT NI is back with another impressive programme of events and workshops taking place across Northern Ireland.  Now in its 12th year, 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 helps to bring great art to everyone.”

August Craft Month provides a network for makers and the public to create, share and meet, and the immersive nature of a wide range of events ensures that August Craft Month offers such variety to suit a multitude of interests.

Highlights of August Craft Month 2018 include:

  • Artists at the Mill in Conway Mill, West Belfast, is a collaborative exhibition in the old Drying Room of the former flax spinning site. The exhibiting artists have drawn upon the linen history of the mill as inspiration for their work.
  • At Top Floor Art Gallery in Saintfield, the Family Tree Textile Panel Workshop invites participants to explore their genealogy and delve into their family history, before artist Emma Whitehead assists in creating a beautiful textile family tree from the findings.
  • ‘Contained’ exhibition takes place in a former cow-milking stone byre in Cloughmills. The unique location complements the individuality of each exhibiting artist, exploring the theme of how hand-made objects contain the time, skill and inspiration behind their creation.
  • Benefield Spencer Glass are inviting the public to witness their glassblowing demonstrations, opening their studio to the public for the second time during August Craft Month. This will provide an opportunity to witness the process behind the works and to purchase art directly from the makers.
  • Adam Frew’s new ceramics studio was part-funded by a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign. The grand opening will take place on 18th August.

For more information on the events across Northern Ireland, visit


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