Secret garden transformation in Derry

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Workshops will begin tomorrow (Saturday) to create ‘Secret Garden’, a magical exhibition that will transform Derry’s Craft Village from the end of May into the Summer.

Supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Craft Development Programme - funded by Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund - and the Inner City Trust, there will be a number of workshops and opening day events which people can get involved in alongside experienced local crafters and artists to make the garden bloom.

The first of the workshops takes place on Saturday 25th April with others following throughout the month of May covering, for example, decorative wire techniques, felting, embroidery and zip flowers. The workshops are free but spaces are limited and booking is therefore essential. Drop-in workshops will also be held as part of an opening event for the exhibition on 30 May 2015.

Deirdre Harte, Craft Development Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “These workshops are a great opportunity for people from all backgrounds to contribute to the blooming of the Secret Garden exhibition. Help to create flowers, butterflies, spiders or trees that will make up the garden using a range of craft disciplines and techniques in workshops delivered by experienced crafters.

“The exhibition is an imaginative approach to bringing to life the skills and creativity of our local craft sector and this is your opportunity to be part of it”.

Suzanne Woods, who is hosting all-day workshops on Saturday April 25 and May 9 for people with felting experience, will create an installation of large felt flowers that are suspended from various locations in the Craft Village.

She said: “The Secret Garden will be a delight for the senses. A Secret Garden is a space where you find the unexpected: in this case, beautiful silk lanterns, an amazing Wish Tree, a flock of cranes flying overhead, butterflies and non-scary spiders, and really big felt flowers that light up at night.

“Finding amazing things in unexpected places is one idea behind the Secret Garden exhibition but another is to showcase large-scale installations by artists who usually create small-scale products. The challenge for the artist is to make something in keeping with their style but on a much bigger scale or, to use familiar techniques to create completely unique objects.”

Other artists taking the workshops include Karen O’Kane, who will make silk lanterns to light each of the arches going into the Craft Village. Kevin McGrellis, who typically makes framed wire and stone images, will make a wonderful wire tree and will invite people to make the tree come to life by creating leaves and flowers.

Naomi Fleury, who uses the origami technique to create jewellery and mobiles, will create a flock of origami cranes that will ‘fly’ through the Village square. Bernie Murphy, who designs fashion accessories, will use fabrics made in free-machine embroidery workshops to make butterflies and spiders.

Edel MacBride, a well-known knitwear designer, will create an installation and hold an Extreme Knitting Workshop as part of the opening event on 30 May 2015.

For further details of the workshops taking place between 25 April and 21 May and to book a place go to - www.facebook.com/SuzanneWoodsArrooDesigns to leave a message; email info@arroo.ie or ring Suzanne Woods on 07706 858244.