August Craft Month 2014

The nationwide celebration of indigenous crafts embraces new venues and state-of-the-art technologies

Craft Northern Ireland's August Craft Month is a month-long, nationwide celebration of indigenous crafts and the many and varied practitioners who make a living from designing beautiful, functional, eye-catching pieces of art using a plethora of materials and methods.

Often derived from centuries old techniques, Northern Irish arts and crafts have historically evoked clichéd images of craftsmen and women weaving, smelting, chiseling and knitting on dirt floors, or solitary in hidden urban workshops, hammering away until the sun goes down. But there is much more to Northern Irish arts and crafts than that.

We have our world beaters, such as Belleek Pottery Ltd, coveted by a global consumer base; our costume designers, jewellers and weapons specialists providing HBO with a wealth of iconic props, gowns and crowns for the award-winning Game of Thrones television fantasy series; and our cutting edge techies bringing Northern Irish crafts firmly into the 21st century at the Fab Lab in Derry~Londonderry's Nerve Centre and elsewhere.

Craft NI chief executive, Alan Kane, knows them all. In post for the past two years, the former business owner (he opened Northern Ireland's first Harley Davidson franchise some years ago) knows what it is to attempt to carve a niche, survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive market place. 

Kane sees August Craft Month as a vital and invaluable umbrella event to assist craft makers in all six counties to sell their products and encourage others to indulge their inner craftsperson. 'Now we want to get the word out and get people involved,' he says. 'And to that end we have programmes in art venues across the country, and available on our website.'

In the video above, Kane gives a flavour of the types of events taking place from Derry to the County Down coast, with the keystone event an exhibition in the Naughton Gallery at Queen's University featuring a ceramics piece by Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry, among others.

August Craft Month runs from August 1 – 31, and Craft NI are encouraging the public to take part and share images, tips and tricks via Twitter using the handle #augcraft14. Visit the Craft NI website for full August Craft Month listings, to access a comprehensive Craft Map and more.