A Portrush based basket maker has firmly stamped her mark on the national crafts scene this year with an invitation to exhibit at Northern Ireland’s largest countryside event at the end of this month.
Louise McLean’s invitation to attend the Northern Ireland Countryside Festival, being held over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27 in Moira Demesne was not altogether unexpected as her work now widely sought by collectors and artisans throughout Ireland.
An award winning basket maker, Louise has forged a very fulfilling career for herself and has discovered that her on-going work has taken her to levels shat she could only have dreamed about reaching a decade ago.
Since completing a Traditional Heritage Craft Skills & Creative Arts course, Louise has been continually developing her craft skills, working with top Irish and German basket makers and has just recently been accepted as a member of The Irish Basketmakers’ Association.
The skill of basketry is little practised today, which is a marked contrast to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when it was a craft skill practised by many. According to Louise, every basket then had a specific use and was designed with that in mind.
“I was intrigued by the history of basket making after learning the basics of Irish basketry” explains Louise. “I have now branched out into different shapes and designs for my bespoke baskets, a selection of which I will have at the N.I. Countryside Festival in Moira.”