August Craft Month Gets Chatty

Online, off-line, punk-stitch and pottery, there's something for everyone to talk about

The 2011 August Craft Month, the annual celebration of all things arts and crafts, is at a blogosphere near you. Under the theme of ‘Craft Chat’ the organisers, Craft NI, are encouraging makers and audience members to talk – online and off – about craft and what it means to them.

‘One of the things we want to do this year is get people talking about craft at many different levels,’ says Craft NI Director, Joe Kelly. ‘Craft is a very contemporary art form and it contains many different types of conversations, many subversive and dynamic. These are types of chats we want to get going.’

And with 60 craft exhibitions, workshops and talks taking place at over 40 venues throughout Northern Ireland, there should be plenty to talk, and type, about.

Normal Flora by Anna Dumitriu, for instance, is a fascinating interplay of art and science. For this exhibition Dumitriu is focusing on linen and the microbiology associated with it, with slides of startlingly beautiful cultures on the walls and a bacteria infested gown. Normal Flora is the inaugural exhibition in the R-Space @ The Linen Rooms in Lisburn and runs from July 30 to September 17

The cosiest of anarchists return to Northern Ireland with Street Weave and Yarn-Bomb Belfast. Weaver Judith Cassidy brings urban weaving to St Anne’s Square as part of 'Get MACtive!', running a drop-in workshop where you can use plastic bag yarn on a giant wall loom.

Meanwhile, Yarn-Bomb Belfast and Stich-an-B*t*h Lisburn are having a ‘knit-off’ to see who can claim the most woolly territory with their tags. If you can knit-one and purl-two with the best of them, and fancy being an ‘environmental guerrilla for the day’, you can join up and get patterns on facebook.

The Creative Peninsula is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, and over 80 makers from a variety of disciplines are taking part. There is Craft in the Square at Conway Square, Newtownards on August 5, the Elements Exhibition, a collaboration between a ceramicist and a poet, at The Loft Gallery in Portaferry between August 6-28 and more.

There is also the Piece Work exhibition by Stacia Blake at the ADF Gallery and an Art Deco Walking Tour in Belfast; Poetry in Glass with master glass painter, David Else in Donegore; Handbags at Dawn and Hand-me-Down Landscapes at Enniskillen Castle; and the Thirty exhibition at the Flowerfield Arts Centre.

‘We just want to get people talking about craft and what contemporary craft means,’ Kelly says, shrugging. ‘And whatever you chose to do, we really hope you enjoy it.’

If you want to join the ‘Craft Chat’ online here are the blogs to bookmark:

Craft Chat - http://augustcraftchat.blogspot.com/
Anna Dumitriu – Normal Flora, http://www.normalflora.co.uk/
Thirty Exhibition, http://thirtyexhibition.blogspot.com/
Landscapes of the Interior (Wordscape NI), http://www.wordscapeni.com/
Hannah Casey – Treasure Archive, http://hannahcasey.blogspot.com/
Zoe Phenix – Eco Bags, http://zoephenix.squarespace.com/

And you can always add your tweet’s worth at #augcraft and #craftchat.

A full Listings Guide is available at tourist information centres, libraries, arts centres and galleries across Northern Ireland, in which can be found events that showcase the work of the top craft makers in Northern Ireland and from across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

Visit Craft NI's new online guide at www.craftnidirectory.org for information on many of their finest craft makers, where to buy craft and up-to-date details on news and events.