I can’t believe we’re already halfway through August Craft Month – the biggest one ever in fact, with Craft NI curating over 150 events celebrating Northern Ireland craftmanship. I attended the launch of CraftBomb in the Ulster Hall last Tuesday, an exhibition showcasing the best of the handmade decorations that adorned the streets of Northern Ireland during Voluntary Arts Week in May.
For those who may not know, a craftbomb (sometimes known as a yarnbomb, or yarnbombing) is essentially guerilla crafting. A crack team of undercover needleworkers take to the streets, usually under cover of darkness, to transform outdoor spaces by draping trees, fences, walls and street furniture in their own brightly coloured woolly creations.
At the launch, I was immediately greeted by the very lovely Margaret of Keep Her Knit who walked and talked me through the exhibition. Margaret organised the Derry~Londonderry craftbomb in May and these wonderful hula-hoop creations were a big part of it:
Here are some wonderful pieces by Emma Robinson and dog lover Andrea O’Donnell (see if you can guess which are hers!) These were part of the Derry craftbomb.
Doreen Armstrong of Let’s Knit Together in Ballymena created this amazing piece – from a thrift shop wedding dress, I believe. The group also made some amazing old-fashioned toys – as a child I had a little basket-carrying doll just like the one below!
Creative embroidery piece from Emma Whiteside of Top Floor Art in Saintfield.
The CraftBomb exhibition is on until 30 August and I really recommend popping in. The Ulster Hall opening hours are 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, but it’s worth checking the website or giving them a call (028 9033 4400) if you’re planning to call in. It’s a working building, so they do warn that at times the galleries may be closed.
My personal recommendations from the programme would be Craft Fest at Castle Ward this weekend, upcycled art extravaganza REclaim/REpurpose in Derry, the provocative Hidden Agenda exhibition at the Naughton Gallery and Top Floor Art’s Textile Activities (I’m booked on to their knitting class on 23rd – so excited!).
Support local makers and make sure to get in touch to let me know your highlights of Craft Month!