Local Crafts To Be Showcased At HomePlace

September 09, 2016

Seamus Heaney HomePlace is to showcase the work of eight local craft makers.

The makers, who will be creating ceramics, jewellery, textiles and pens, were selected after Craft NI in partnership with Mid Ulster District Council held an open competition for makers from across Norther Ireland, inviting them to submit proposals for bespoke ranges for the HomePlace gift shop.

All eight craft workers have been influenced by the local landscape, reflecting a key source of inspiration for Seamus Heaney himself.

Among the bespoke work to be on offer, is Bogland Ware from ceramicist, Patricia Millar, who fires her work in pits fuelled by organic materials such as oak and turf, to leave traces of colour, echoing the life found in the bog, with items not only capturing the essence of a place, but being made from it too.

Alan McCluney, also a ceramicist, credits Seamus Heaney with being one of the reasons he is pursuing his work as stoneware potter. His products for HomePlace will include a glaze finish which speaks of ‘old rusted shafts on turf spades and the oily iridescence seen in the pools of water when turning the turf for drying, and the soft browns of the wet peat’.

Press-moulding glacier porcelain is the technique used by the third ceramicist, Claire Newell, whose work is also inspired by the landscape and hand-decorated with intricate patterns and colours found in the natural world.
Two jewellery makers also feature.

Caroline Stokesberry-Lee uses raw and uncut gemstones as the centre pieces for her silversmithing work inspired by the ‘mythical undertones of the countryside’, while Nuala Lynch of Nua Jewellery will be supplying a collection inspired by ‘earthy tones evocative of the rich bog-land and heather’.

Textiles are also represented by two makers.

Donna Lynch of ArtyBird is a native of Lagan’s Road, described so vividly in Seamus Heaney’s poem as his route for walking to school to Anahorish, where Donna was also a pupil.

She will be incorporating the places described in Heaney’s poetry, which are so familiar to her, along with her own childhood memories, to create unique, hand-felted pictures using the traditional techniques of wet felting and needles punching.

The ‘B’ by Bricolage range from Sinead Black consists of linen homewares, using linen handwoven in Dungiven, bringing together purely local materials with the contemporary colour combinations derived from native plant dyes, connecting with the earth and flax of which Heaney wrote.

Handcrafted pens complete the crafts to be showcased, with Signature Woodcraft taking inspiration from Heaney’s poem The Conway Stewart, to design and make a range of fountain pens.

Each pen will be produced using genuine Conway Stewart acrylics, obtained before the manufacturer ceased trading, and will be accompanied by a little bag of shavings to highlight its authenticity.

Alan Kane, Chief Executive, Craft NI, said:

“Craft NI are delighted to have had the opportunity to advise on the selection of makers for this prestigious project. The work of the makers selected is of exceptional quality, is clearly influenced by the works of Seamus Heaney and is very sympathetic to the ethos of the centre”

Look out for the gift range at Seamus Heaney HomePlace when the centre opens on Friday 30 September.