Launchpad Programme | Makers Announced

We are delighted to present the selected makers for Craft NI's Launchpad program.

Four emerging craft makers are currently on Craft NI’s new Professional Development Programme, Launchpad, which started in January. Supporting people who started their craft businesses within the last 5 years, the programme selects enterprising makers and aims to equip them with the necessary skills to develop a sustainable, creative craft business/practice in Northern Ireland.

This year’s group is made up of jewellers Claire Mooney and Claire Skelton, alongside ceramicists Anna Smyth and Anne Butler. The Craft NI programme is providing business development support alongside creative projects each maker is developed with funding from the Arts Council Northern Ireland SIAP programme.


Craft NI CEO Katherine McDonald commented: “The makers have shown great determination to work around changes to their plans and continue to develop their work and ideas under Lockdown”.

Examples of their current ranges can be seen in the Craft NI Gallery in Royal Avenue Belfast, and the new work they are creating this year will be showcased in a dedicated exhibition in spring 2021.


Each of the makers will be featured on Craft NI's social media platforms as part of August Craft Month 2020


Presenting Anna Smyth | Ceramics 

Image by Nathanael Smyth


My current work, made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, explores the huge and challenging theme of ' life within..'

By combining expressive hand thrown, porcelain forms with the spontaneous, magical outcomes of crystalline glazing, I use the resulting work as a means to express what is often beyond words.

Much of the work so far has been completed during lockdown and in the subsequent days 'unlocking'; it is no surprise that the outcomes resonate with human emotions and responses to such a time.

Click here for Anna's website-AnnaSmythCeramics & Instagram



Presenting Anne Butler | Ceramics 



Anne’s work is intrinsically connected to the act of making and substantial experimentation with the changing state of Parian porcelain; both in its raw and fired state. Her wide palette of techniques, which include casting, hand-building and printing, are continuously being challenged and developed. Multiple firings accentuates the porcelain’s satin, marble-like quality when solid and the delicacy and translucency when thin.

Click here for Anne's website-AnneButlerCeramics , Instagram & Facebook


Presenting Claire Mooney | Silversmith 



Living alongside the Mourne Mountains, County Down is central to my making.

Since graduating from Ulster University BA Ceramics, Silversmithing and Jewellery in 2018 I have completed an MA in Heritage and Museum Studies and have established a workshop at home. I continue to develop my traditional metalsmithing techniques including chasing and spinning to create objects that reflect upon our landscapes and perceived ideas of value.

Producing heirloom objects which reflect our landscapes, traditions and last a lifetime is important to my practice. I explore our history to shed light on aspects of our cultural craft processes in my work. Recent collections examine dry stone walls which can be seen across Ireland, particularly in the Mournes. I aim to celebrate home and reframe overlooked elements of our valuable landscapes.

Click here for Claire's website-ClaireMooneySilver , Instagram , Facebook & Twitter


Presenting Claire Skelton | Jewellery


Claire trained in silversmithing and jewellery in Belfast and Finland and now makes jewellery from her hometown outside Belfast. Her designs are drawn from her artwork that explores the value of the sentimental jewellery of the past, transforming it into contemporary pieces for the future. Her products are hand-made with Eco-friendly materials and care is taken to select packaging which is renewable.

In the past few months, Claire has developed her Sphere collection and will soon be able to offer the designs in gold. She is developing stone setting within her bespoke practice and continuing to expand her portfolio of unique work that focus on repurposing sentimental family jewellery into contemporary pieces.

Click here for Claire's , Instagram , Facebook & Twitter



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