A large, handmade wall loom will be the main attraction when skilled textile designer Judith Cassidy takes to the streets to re-introduce the public to the traditional craft of hand-weaving.
Judith is setting up in St Anne’s Square, Belfast on August 17 for Street Weave, a free drop-in workshop where people can learn to weave on a conventional table loom, a mini handheld loom and the five foot by five foot wall loom which will be used to make an interactive public artwork.
The event is being organised by Craft NI as part of August Craft Month in conjunction with the MAC and its Get MACtive campaign.
From 1-3pm the public will be given the opportunity to learn a new skill and weave personalised yarns using strips of plastic and recycled fabrics.
Judith said: “People can write a personal message on their work which will be woven into a wall hanging. For example, they can write what they think about Belfast, about the new MAC building or whatever they are feeling.”
She is hoping that when the artwork is finished it will be displayed in the MAC when it is opened next year.
“We want to show that weaving can be fun and enjoyable. It used to be such a big industry in Northern Ireland and now it’s all gone to places like China, so very few young people study weaving. This event is aimed at getting people interested again in a traditional craft,” she added.
The theme of this year’s August Craft Month is “Craft Chat” and its aim is to get people thinking about the quality and relevance of craft through discussion, storytelling, poetry and online blogging as well as directly through the objects themselves.
The Director of Craft NI, Joe Kelly said that Street Weave fitted in well with the aims of August Craft Month, which showcases the quality of craft in Northern Ireland and shows how traditional crafts, such as weaving, are relevant to contemporary craft practice.
“Craft Chat is all about enabling people to discover craft for themselves – cultural, personal, social and intellectual. It is about sharing information on making and encouraging people to discover the wonderful work that is being fashioned by designer makers throughout Northern Ireland,” he added.
The principal sponsor of August Craft Month is R-Space Gallery and the programme is supported by the National Lottery Fund through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Invest NI, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. It is delivered in partnership with arts and cultural venues and organisations across Northern Ireland.
For more information about the events taking place during August Craft Month visit www.craftni.org