Craft bombing in the heart of Londonderry

Craft bomb attack.
Craft bomb attack.

Dyed in the wool knitters have been craft bombing the commercial heart of Londonderry as part of the former UK City of Culture’s Legenderry August Craft Month.

Northern Ireland’s second city has seen an explosion of creativity boosted by Derry City Council’s Craft Development Programme which is part-funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for NI.

Margaret Crabtree, one of the organisers of the Craft Bomb which targeted Shipquay Street for a yarn-good blast of colour, believes crafters are playing a key role in Derry’s transformation from its troubled past.

Margaret runs the ‘Keep Her Knit’ group which brings women from across the divide together for weekly classes.

She said: “I believe crafters are knitting the city together.”

Award-winning Irish knitwear designer Edel MacBride assisted with the Craft Bomb along with women involved in Londonderry’s new fashion hub and other crafty volunteers.

Margaret facilitated three classes at the city’s library to stitch together a plan and around 20 women were involved in the operation.

Shipquay Street was targeted because it is so central and “always full of tourists,” explained Margaret.

Street furniture, lamp-posts, and a handrail on a disabled ramp were festooned with knitted and crocheted installations.

Margaret said: “The tourists were all stopping and taking pictures. It was quite a colourful sight and as the light faded it looked really eye-catching.

“A French couple I was speaking to said they would always remember Derry for the crafting.”

Deirdre Harte, Derry City Council’s Craft Development Officer, said: “There has been a revival of crafts such as knitting, crocheting and embroidery in the city.

“The Craft Bomb has been a fantastic way of showcasing this local talent and creativity and is being really well received by both residents and visitors.

“It fits very well with the aims of the Craft Development Programme which is seeking to both grow and showcase the craft sector in the Derry City Council area.”

A four-week creative programme of events and workshops is currently in full swing for August Craft Month that is taking place across Northern Ireland.