There is something about creative people that draws me to them. Whether it’s the delicious treats or foods they make, the jewellery I can buy and know is original, or just their love for life and ability to bring people together, I don’t know. But in the past 5 or 6 years I have met and become friends with some incredibly talented people and it got me thinking that maybe you’d like to meet them too!
One of the best places to meet local artists and craft workers is at the many fairs that are held around our little country, and my personal favourite is the North Down Craft Collective fair which is held in Holywood Old School on the second Saturday of each month.
Run by Debbie McCann of Wee Yarn Designs and William Clendinning of The Local, it is a showcase of some of the best local talent around and I’ve found it nigh on impossible to leave without making at least one purchase! From homemade fudge, preserves and cupcakes to lino prints, pit-fired ceramics and hand-crafted jewellery, it’s an absolute treat from the moment you enter the building.
But it’s not just the people I love. It’s the feeling I get when I buy something that I know someone has made from literally nothing. A lump of clay that has been transformed into a mug that brings me joy every time I drink my tea from it. A pair of earrings that started out as molten silver that make me feel just a little bit special when I wear them. A dollop of chutney passionately made from local ingredients that elevates my crackers and cheese from the ordinary to the sublime. It’s hard to put a price on the feeling of enjoying the fruits of someone’s heartfelt labour.
Debbie and William also own and run The Craft Room Comber, which is a one stop heaven of the goods you’ll find in the monthly markets, and a studio where some of the artists and crafters teach workshops which allow you to also create something beautiful from nothing. I’ve been to several, including needle felting, lino cut and nature printing on linen. Some people will get their buzz from watching Love Island or I’m a Celebrity, but give me a handful of materials and tools and a teacher whose passion literally oozes out of them and I’m all in!
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the creatives who are part of the North Down Craft Collective, and over the next few months I’m going to introduce you to some of them and give them a chance to share a little of what they do, where their inspiration comes from and some ideas for helping you take a few creative steps yourself.
I’d love to know of any local makers and crafters you love - do share in the comments. And if you’re an artist or creative and would like to know more about working with me I would love to hear from you!