Craft Month fun at Flowerfield

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FLOWERFIELD Arts Centre is quickly developing a reputation as a centre of excellence in crafts – and the centre is joining with Craft Northern Ireland in a celebration of the sector by offering a series of exciting events for Craft Month.

The Portstewart arts centre is offering two four-day ceramics workshops with Adam Frew, one of the rising stars of Northern Ireland crafts. One of them is already full, but there are places left on the second, which runs from Tuesday, August 23 to Friday, August 26 from 10am to 5pm each day and costs £110.

And glass artist Catherine Keenan – who has just become another of Flowerfield’s artists in residence – is offering two workshops in Glass Bead Making for Jewellery. Again, the first of the workshops is already full, but the second, which runs on September 6-7, has some places available.

The course runs from 10am to 4pm each day, with a one hour lunch break at 12.30pm. On the first day, students learn the basics - Turning the torch on, familiarisation with tools and work space, health and safety, making a round bead, and ways of pattern application and experimenting with form. On the second day, participants get to refine their technique and work towards a completed jewellery piece, ie. necklace, earrings, bracelet.

The centre is also hosting ‘Thirty’, a major craft showcase exhibition, featuring an array of crafts from some of the leading contemporary craft makers in Northern Ireland. The exhibition opens on the evening of August 11th and runs throughout the month.

As part of the exhibition, participating artist Alison Lowry is offering a special Pate de Verre Glassmaking class on Wednesday, August 17 from 7pm to 9pm (materials will be supplied). Fee is £25.

Pate de Verre involves making a paste of glass that is applied to the surface of a mould, then fired. The big advantage to pate de verre is that it allows for precise placement of particular glass colors in the mould. Other ways of filling the mould often result in some shifting of glass from where it has been placed prior to firing, but the Pate de Verre process helps to control this shifting.

The workshop will last for two hours on the first night, and will follow up with a second day - to be arranged - for divesting and collection of finished pieces. There are only ten places available on the class, to get in touch quickly to be sure of getting a place! Materials will be supplied and though some experience is useful it is not necessary for this workshop.

Please get in touch with the reception staff at Flowerfield on (028) 7083 1400 for more details and to book places on any of the classes.

An additional event being laid on for Craft Month is a discussion evening, under the title ‘Landscapes of the Interior’, organized by Craft NI on Thursday, August 18 at 7.30pm. The talk is one of a series of performances and discussions around the concept of sense of place, connections with the landscape and the art of storytelling.

Taking part will be singer/songwriter Martin Donnelly and ceramicist Deirdre Hawthorne, who will lead discussions with local artists, makers and craft enthusiasts in a series of intimate gatherings across Northern Ireland.

Craft NI asks those attending to make a donation of £5 to cover the costs of the event. Participants and audience members are asked to contact Craft NI to book your place, either by e-mail at or by calling (028) 9032 3059.