The Derry Journal Gift and Craft Fair will be held on Sunday November 18. Over 40 exhibitors will bring their produce, wares and handicrafts for perusal and purchase to the Everglades Hotel on the day. Admission is free and all are welcome.
One exhibitor who will attend is Elish O’Kane with her sewing and homemade handicrafts. Elish has been making those handicrafts for the best part of a lifetime. When she retired from teaching she had more time to invest in her artworks.
“I was not in good health for a long time and had to come out of my job. I now sew when I get a chance. Sometimes it’s only for a few minutes, sometimes it’s for days at a time. It depends on my notion, as they say. It is very much something to keep my mind active.”
Having organised several Craft Fairs for charities such as Serenity House, The Samaritans and The Foyle Hospice, Elish has “a bank of crafters, who I can call on when needed. Like me they all think of their craft work as a past time and a labour of love. It certainly is no money maker as you could spend hours creating something which will sell for only a few pounds. That is why people love coming to the fairs.”
Elish’s design background shines through the complete array of her items. “Everything is taken from recycled material. These labels were taken from curtain thread - stripped, washed, ironed and rethreaded they look great! These aprons were taken from a second hand skirt because I wanted an apron with a bit of a kick to it.
“Everything is made from reclaimed material, nothing goes to waste. My husband Paul is always tripping over piles of material at home,” laughed the enthusiastic seamstress.
“I have twenty years experience at craft fairs and was always making things before that. My sewing machine is my salvation,” explained the former St. Joseph’s Secondary School teacher. “Even though I might rip something out four or five times I love doing it.
“Things have to be perfect before you sell them to anyone.”
It is clear that sewing and craft work is a real passion for Mrs. O’Kane.
“I give everything I make 110%. I was sewing before I could read or write. Everytime I see something I wonder how it was made.”
Which is exactly what those who visit Elish’s stand at the Derry Journal Gift and Craft Fair will wonder come Friday November 18.
A limited number of tables are still available, to book your place at the event please contact Geraldine Gallagher on 02871 272267. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org