August Craft Month

Craft NI launch their annual celebration of British and Irish crafts. Click Play Video for a Silver Sounds online exhibition from the Naughton Gallery at Queen's

August Craft Month is a celebration of craft showcasing the work of craftmakers from across the UK, Ireland and Europe. 

Craftspeople working individually or alongside other arts organisations, Mela Craft Villagepresent a diverse range of craft activities in venues in Belfast and beyond. Through exhibitions, workshops, talks and seminars, craftspeople come together to support, promote and value their art. 

From tie-dye workshops in Catalyst Arts and Woodfest in the Ulster American Folk Park, to the Indian Mela Craft Village in Belfast's Botanic Gardens, the programme showcases a myrciad of methods and mediums.

One of the stand-out features of the itinerary is Silver Sounds: Reinterpreting The Queen's University Silver Collection, an on-going exhibition currently showing at the Naughton Gallery at Queen's. New technology allows visitors to hear the university’s silver collection as well as see it.

Silver Sounds has been developed through a creative partnership between the gallery, the university’s Sonic Arts Research Centre, design collective Fällt and silversmith Cara Murphy.

Ten internationally renowned sound artists were commissioned to create sound pieces to accompany 22 of the silver objects retrieved and restored from the university's silver collection, exploring their origins and the reasons for their creation and use.

Clare LeemanAmong the items on display are the majestic Hart Silver, the Silver Mace, the Gibson Mace and a new silver table centrepiece specially commissioned by Cara Murphy.

Clare Leeman is education and outreach officer at the Naughton Gallery.

'Silver Sounds is an interactive exhibition that brings together some of the most interesting and important silver pieces at Queen's. For many years they have been stored in the vault, away from the public eye. But we were keen to install museum-standard cases and have the silver on display.

'There are two different routes visitors can go down. By using one of our hand-held PDA computers, visitors can read about the silver whilst listening to the individual soundscapes that have been written for them. Or, they can listen to the sounds without headphones. By doing the latter, visitors can mix the ten different soundscapes together.'

For the 2008 August Craft Month, Craft NI have joined forces with the Northern Ireland Tourism Board to maximise tourist opportunities for craftspeople throughout the country. Joe Kelly, director of Craft NI, sees a bright future for craftspeople in the years to come. 

'Increasingly, craft businesses, galleries, studios and shops have a leading role to play in supporting Joe Kellyour economy and in making Northern Ireland an attractive place in which to holiday, live and do business,'  

'We are delighted, therefore, that in this, our second year, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board is our lead sponsor. Together with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, they continue to provide valuable support as Craft NI’s main funder. This partnership represents a new and exciting collaboration between the arts, culture and tourism in Northern Ireland. 

'Craft NI is already aware of the potential for craft in attracting visitors to Northern Ireland and we are committed to building on this potential. Over the next 3 years, we will be looking to strengthen this partnership with August Craft Month becoming a major festival in Northern Ireland’s events calendar.'

Silver Sounds is set to show at Queen's University, Belfast, either in the Naughton Gallery or elsewhere, for the next three years. 

For more information on other events taking place as part of Craft NI's August Craft Month, download the August Craft Month programme.