Making Changes: Contemporary Craft in Northern Ireland, September – October 2007
“It is a mark of the quality of contemporary Northern Irish craft that this exhibition is showing in both Belfast and Washington. Craft in Northern Ireland is undergoing a renaissance - craftsmanship, design and innovation are of truly international quality.” Joe Kelly, Director of Craft NI
MCAC is proud to present the exhibition ‘Making Changes: Contemporary Craft in Northern Ireland’. The exhibition, was first launched in July 2007 entitled ‘Made in Northern Ireland: A Dynamic of Change’, as part of the ‘Rediscover Northern Ireland’ programme at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC Washington, USA and was visited by over 44,000 people. It has since been more recently shown at Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast and has now come to Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown.
Represented in the exhibition are over 30 craft makers from across Northern Ireland while the exhibits feature examples of cutting-edge textile design, silverware, ceramics and jewellery.
Among them are the internationally-acclaimed County Down silversmiths, father and daughter, Michael McCrory and Cara Murphy. Michael and Cara’s work is highly innovative in its design and uses both traditional techniques and state-of-the-art technology. Their successful careers illustrate the wealth of talented craftspeople who are leading the way in Northern Ireland’s craft sector.
The exhibition is representative of three important areas of contemporary craft currently created in Northern Ireland – from signature practice to innovative and ground-breaking research in the Applied Arts.
The first of these areas is entitled Method in the Making: presents work from nine of the finest individual designer-makers in Northern Ireland reflecting different mediums of contemporary practice. The second, Re-inventing Linen examines and explores new definitions of our ideas of this traditional Irish fabric through time. Finally, Contemporary Souvenir presents new academic research as a series of working models and manifestations that challenge the viewer’s notions of souvenir and Irish kitsch.
The exhibition aims to unearth and celebrate challenging artistic practices as well as examine new technology and processes in design and craft currently being employed by designer-makers. Key notions explored in the show include the creation of authored and non-authored work; ideas of memory, history and identity; the role of concept, process and production; and work that is hand-made versus machine-made. The purpose is to demonstrate those aspects of the sector that reflect high-quality, creative, innovative and challenging individual craft practice at a national and international level.
Making Changes: Contemporary Craft in Northern Ireland is curated by Megan Johnston, Karen Fleming and Trish Bedford. Both shows are made possible by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure and the University of Ulster.