A celebration of what is ‘Made in Northern Ireland’ by craftspeople

Local author Claire Savage at the 'Meet the Makers' craft event in the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre with Jennifer Michael from the National Trust
Local author Claire Savage at the 'Meet the Makers' craft event in the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre with Jennifer Michael from the National Trust

The National Trust recently welcomed craftspeople from across Northern Ireland to the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre to showcase their skills.

The event saw the re-launch of the Made in Northern Ireland Craft Booklet, which showcases the local people whose products sold at the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede.

In addition to traditional crafts such as woodworking, pottery and painting, there were also local writers and chefs.

The event was launched by Assistant Director of Operations for the National Trust in Northern Ireland, Jonathan Clarke and Jan Irwin, Co-ordinator for CRAFT NI.

Bob Kane, Retail Manager at the Giant’s Causeway explained: “We are immensely proud of the talent and skills of our local crafters in Northern Ireland and this is an opportunity to bring them and have them show how their products are made and for visitors to meet the makers. 

“This booklet is incredibly popular with our visitors, regional and international and they love to see products that are made here and read a little about the people who make them. 

“These booklets are available free-of-charge for visitors to take home and we hope they will lead to future online sales for our local crafters.”

CRAFT NI praised the conservation charity for their dedication supporting local craftspeople in their practice. Jan Irwin said: ‘Thank you to the National Trust for inviting us to this wonderful event in this beautiful place today. CRAFT NI are the sector lead body and champion for craft, and we feel this really is a great time for craft in Northern Ireland with organisations such as the National Trust supporting our local crafters.

“Our vision at CRAFT NI is to design and make an integrated, innovative, vital and sustainable ecosystem for craft in Northern Ireland that is of international standing and that Northern Ireland is recognised nationally and internationally as a place that embraces and values the cultural, economic and social significance of craft, and the National Trust building partnerships with local makers and showcasing their work to an international audience is helping us to achieve this vision.

“Personalisation, authenticity, ethical consumption, the experience economy and new ways of signalling connoisseurship are currently influencing the market for craft.

“A fascination with the provenance is driving consumer desire for direct contact with the makers, and original objects with a local connection are increasingly being valued.

“CRAFT NI is delighted with this National Trust initiative that focuses on supporting makers and that helps them to sustain their business practice.

“ But this event is special as it helps to develop pride and a sense of belonging to this region and this place in particular, with many of the crafters making bespoke items for these special places.”