Brooch making workshop

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Dromara textile artist Naomi Whan, is encouraging people to make handmade gifts as a way to combat the economic crunch this Christmas.

With a highly successful brooch making workshop on 26 November, the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio has had to schedule a further date for Saturday 10 December.

Speaking about the popularirty of the workshop, Dr Riann Coulter, Curator of the McWilliam Gallery said: “These classes are always popular, we had people on a waiting list, so we decided to schedule another class. Textile workshops are popular with people who think they can’t paint or draw, so they see this as another creative option.”

A fine and applied art graduate from the University of Ulster, Naomi is excited about her workshops and returning to Banbridge after showcasing her work in 2009 at the gallerys ‘Designers and Makers Exhibition’.She said, “The gallery is fantastic with a big studio and lovely cafe, it is an ideal environment to work in as an artist.”

Naomi is also encouraging people to get invloved in the class because it is a perfect social event and allows everybody to share creative ideas.

“We bring books and magazines along to the classes to compare sewing techniques, and it also allows everybody the chance to get to know one another from the area.” She said.

Whan normally sells her brooches at craft fairs and has also commissioned a piece of art for the Down Maternity Unit, so this is an ideal opportunity to be able to make your own brooch and give it to someone for Christmas.

“If you give a brooch to a loved one they will appreciate it so much more because you have taken the time out to make it and they will value it.” She said

Dr Coulter agreed with Naomi that the brooches are an ideal present, she said: “People are looking for a more homemade gift and can emerge with something they have created and bring home to a certain person in mind.”Naomi’s brooches are bright and textured with lots of different fabrics, buttons and beads, she describes them as easy to make and also cost effective.

She said, “The gallery does not charge much for the class, so it is a cheap and cheerful day out for everyone.” Naomi adds that the class is made up of all ages and people from various backgrounds, she said: “I get retirees, teachers who want ideas for classes and even G.C.S.E art students.” Naomi is a woman in demand, with classes at Lisburn’s Island Art Centre and forthcoming workshops in Down Arts Centre, she also takes a variety of felt making and quilt seminars.Speaking about her plans for the future, Naomi said, “I want to keep working with my classes and take onboard as many art centres as possible, also keep making my own art work as well.”

If you miss Naomi at this years brooch making workshop, there is also the opportunity to catch her at the McWilliam Gallery in the New Year for a textile jewellery making workshop on 14 January.