CREATIVE links have been forged between St Columb’s Cathedral and members of the Camphill Community which will result in a myriad of imaginative and colourful craft exhibitions at the historic church during 2013.
The collaboration between the first Post-Reformation Cathedral in Europe and the international community came about through a growing friendship between the Dean of Derry, the Very Rev Dr William Morton and writer and former newspaper editor Alf McCreary, who has been a regular visitor to the Cathedral over the years, and who is, according to the Dean, enchanted by the ambience of the historic church building.
“He loves the building and the whole atmosphere and ambience of the place and the last time he was here, in November he spoke about his connections with the Camphill Community in Clamabogan, near Omagh and spoke about some of the work that the residents were doing. Alf invited me down to see the community and to meet some of the people and I have to say I was very impressed with the warmth of the welcome I received and the residents made me tea and I was introduced to people around the room. It was a warm, friendly, welcoming environment with a great homeliness to it,” he said of his visit.
Dr Morton went on to reveal that he learned about how various forms of creativity were used to help residents with self-expression, and these were used to help fund the community. Among the crafts which caught the Dean’s eye were wood carvings and garden ornaments.
“They were doing very intricate work, hollowing out the insides of trees and turning them into lamps which lit up inside.
“I was brought around the whole outfit and we even went down to see where all this wonderful woodwork was done. I was very impressive,” the Dean said, continuing: “Alf’s point in doing this was to highlight how people in these communities were gifted with skills, be it oil painting, playing guitar, wood carving, and he wondered if we could do an exhibition of their work in the Cathedral, and I am very keen that their craft work is showcased. He also made the point that very little of what he came across for the UK City of Culture in 2013 related to contributions from non-able-bodied people. So, during the Culture Year we are delighted that the Cathedral will be helping to showcase all this wonderful work.”
As a first step towards staging the first of the showcases, a delegation from the Camphill Community visited the Cathedral on Friday.
Among them was group leader Martin Sturm, who said: “A delegation of seven wood craft artists who live and work in the Community at Clanabogan, some of whom have a learning disability, travelled to Londonderry to view the Cathedral and to learn about its 400 year history. The possibility of exhibiting in the Cathedral during this year of culture was explored and should commence after Easter.”