12-Jan-2014 in Business & the Economy

Craft NI, sector lead body for Northern Irish contemporary craft, was pleased to present a range of high quality, handmade work by a delegation of NI’s finest designer-makers to professional buyers and collectors at CRAFT 2014: Redefining Handmade, Earl’s Court, London on the 12-14th January.

The work of the five selected designer-makers showcased not only the vision, incredible skill in making and signature of the individuals, but also gave a window on the unique perspective offered by designer-makers whose work has a feel of Northern Ireland – landscape, people, materials – at its heart.

Alan Kane, Chief Executive, Craft NI said: “Craft NI have also identified a hunger among international buyers for original, incredibly crafted handmade products and we are excited to work with Handmade in Britain and Clarion Events to bring a flavour of the current strength of the Northern Irish contemporary craft sector to the attention of commercial buyers beyond the home market.”

Textile artist Jude Cassidy said: “I am delighted to have been selected to showcase my new linen range of cushions at Craft 2014. It is a great platform to meet new buyers, as this new collection will deliver my bespoke brand to a wider audience.”

The five selected designer-makers are all at different stages of their career and offer a lively and innovative take on craft across disciplines including glass, textiles, jewellery and ceramics.

Catherine Keenan: glass,
Preoccupied by colour and pattern, Catherin Keenan explores and expresses this fascination in blown glass by experimenting with various techniques, and observing the subtle possibilities offered by each choice in the making process. Keenan strives for her pieces to be bold in their simplicity, to belie the complexity of their construction.

Jude Cassidy: textiles (homewares),
Jude Cassidy has worked behind the scenes with the elite interior designers over the past few years. Reflecting back on her rich heritage of hand weaving, linen is at the heart of her collection. Luxurious linen combined with a glowing palette of soft oysters, soothing tones of soft whites and cool greys with glistening flecks of metallic.

Katie Brown: textiles (silk scarves),
Katie Brown's signature prints and patterns are inspired by the industrial, urban landscape. Using imagery that most would deem ugly, Katie Brown transforms these hard-edged sources through intricate pattern, stunning colour palettes and soft, draping silks to create a beautiful piece of fabric.

Sarah McAleer: jewellery,

Sarah McAleer's philosophy is to constantly challenge pre-conceived notions of jewellery. She strives to combine traditional with non-traditional concepts, materials and techniques, and she embraces the use of conventional practices with innovative technologies.

Victoria Bentham: ceramics,
Victoria Bentham's current ceramic work is inspired by the places where she grew up in Northern Ireland including the fields, woodlands and countryside. She is also inspired by old tiles, Islamic architecture and the patterns they contain.

These designer-makers have been supported to attend through Craft NI's Export Development fund, funded by Invest NI. This fund has, to date, supported a wide range of designer-makers to attend trade fairs and export-focused events.

Further information about these and more NI designer-makers can be found at

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