19 July 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Cork Craft & Design, Ireland’s largest social enterprise for craftspeople, has launched its 2021 programme for Cork Craft Month this August. Showcasing the best of contemporary Irish craft, a stellar line-up of over 70 exceptional workshops, masterclasses, artist talks, trails and demonstrations is taking place throughout the month. Featuring both physical and online events, along with free family-friendly activities, the packed calendar will present endless opportunities for people to explore the best of local artisan crafts. The full programme is available at corkcraftanddesign.com.
Reflecting on the past year, Cork Craft Month’s 2021 showcase exhibition will share craftwork inspired by the lockdown, with Baile/Home opening in Working Artist Studios in Ballydehob on 31 July. Cork Craft Month will also look to repeat the success of last year’s virtual festival, with an online shop opening this Friday where people can see and purchase local craftwork direct from corkcraftanddesign.com.
Throughout August, Cork Craft & Design’s shop at St Patrick’s Mills in Douglas will host two Made in Cork craft and food markets (8 August and 29 August) while Douglas Village Shopping Centre will be the setting for the collaborative exhibition of furniture makers, ceramicists and potters, From The Earth.
The Gallery @ No.46 on Grand Parade will host Emerge, a showcase for up-and-coming Cork crafters. This exhibition will include graduating students from CIT Crawford College, Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, St John’s Central College, Kinsale College and Skibbereen College of Commerce.
Speaking on the 2021 Cork Craft Month programme launch, Carol Walsh, Operations Manager at Cork Craft & Design, said: “The pandemic has been a challenging time for crafters, but the lockdowns of the last year have also created opportunities that we never could have imagined before. Being at home allowed space to focus, to be creative, and to try new things. Finding the positives of the past 16 months, our 110-strong membership have built online communities through social media, took the time to hone their skills, and responded to a changing world through their art.
“The energy and vision of our members was so instrumental to the success of last year’s festival as we pivoted online with them, and we are eager to build on that this year through our online exhibition and digital workshops. We are also excited about our physical events. Following Government guidelines, we welcome the public to our workshops, exhibitions, artist talks and demonstrations where they can connect directly with local crafters, see the fruits of the creativity of the last year, and even learn some new skills themselves.”
To coincide with Heritage Week, three workshops will be held in the Chapel Hill School of Art, Macroom on August 21 to spotlight traditional heritage crafts and their importance to Irish culture. Rosemary Kavanagh of Wild Rose Basketry will deliver a basket weaving workshop, Helle Helsner will demonstrate Bronze Age casting and mould making, and stone sculptor James Horan will deliver a Sketching in Stone workshop.
Kilcoe Studios in West Cork will also run a series of heritage events to celebrate traditional straw craft, An Tionscadl Túí (The Straw Project), a family-friendly, multigenerational straw craft workshop, suitable for children over the age of nine, along with a unique online straw plaiting workshop.
Greywood Arts, based in a historic Georgian house in the centre of Killeagh, East Cork, will host a series of weekly workshops on Fridays during Cork Craft Month. On August 6, Martha Cashman will run a Drawing with Clay workshop and demonstration. Two jewellery making workshops will take place in the weeks after, with Jaki Coffey on August 13 and Barbara Hall on August 20. Woodturner John O’Shea will host the final workshop on August 27.
Cork Craft Month will be running through the Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s inaugural National Craft Month.
Carol added “We are delighted to see our local success replicated at a national level with the first ever National Craft Month. We are immensely proud that the craft community in Cork were able to provide a model for this nationwide programme of events and look forward to seeing the whole of the country embrace their local crafts just like the people of Cork do every August.”