Crafters look forward to big year after confidence boosting 2014

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A Londonderry development officer says the local craft ‘Oscars’ next month will contribute to the continued development and growth of the sector.

Deirdre Harte, Derry City Council’s Craft Development Officer, said: “Events such as August Craft Month last summer and the Guildhall Craft Fair in November played a key role in showcasing Derry’s craft sector to a wide audience, and gives us great confidence for the continued development and growth of the sector on our own shores and through our wider export programme.”

Londonderry’s dynamic local craft sector will be in full celebration mode next month at the special Craft Awards ceremony, which will be hosted by Derry City Council.

The Craft Awards will be the Oscars of Derry City Council’s Craft Development Programme which aims to support the development and growth of the craft sector in the Council area. The programme is part-funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, and will run until June 30, 2015.

The Craft Awards ceremony and a showcase exhibition will be delivered as part of Enterprise Week and take place on the evening of Friday, February 27 in the Guildhall.

The initiative will include two key elements - an awards ceremony to recognise, celebrate and raise the profile of the craft sector and individual makers, and a showcase of the short-listed entries in the lead-up to the event.

Applications for entries to the craft awards and a competition to design the award trophies opened last week, with entries to be assessed at the end of January.

Ms Harte said the awards will be made in a number of categories including Ceramics, Jewellery, Textiles, Mixed Media/other craft forms, Most Innovative Product, Best Newcomer, Student Award, as well as a special ‘People’s Choice’ winner to be decided by public vote.

She said the Craft Awards would celebrate the diverse talent and skills of local makers and their ongoing commitment in helping to raise the profile of the city’s vibrant craft sector locally, nationally and internationally.

Applications are welcome from any crafters living or working in the Derry City Council or Strabane District Council areas and the deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday, January 26, 2015 – this includes both entries for the awards and for the competition to design the award trophies. A Knitwear Fashion Showcase will also be held at the Guildhall event on February 27 to provide a platform to profile and showcase contemporary knitwear design – to build on the momentum and legacy of Fashion Fest 2014.

Enterprise Week is a week-long programme of events organised by Derry City Council’s Business Opportunities Programme and is aimed at promoting business development and entrepreneurial spirit, stimulating business growth, new business creation and driving economic prosperity within the region.

The city’s third annual Enterprise Week will take place from Monday 23rd to Friday 27th February 2015 and will include a combination of workshops, masterclasses and other events. The Craft Awards and Fashion Show event will mark the end of Enterprise Week.

You can download a copy of the application forms for both award entries and the competition to design trophies at or contact Hazel Best by email to or phone 02871 365151 Ext. 6917.