Traditional skills and crafts associated with Limerick down through the centuries will be showcased as part of this year’s Elemental Arts & Culture Festival, which gets underway on Thursday and continues through Sunday.
‘Forgotten Skills’ will see a range of master crafts men and women take over the Hunt Museum on Saturday 13th September when they will host interactive workshops and live demonstrations relating to a range of techniques, including leather making, sculpting, ceramics, lace making, spinning wool and traditional hurley making
“Elemental is very much an arts and culture festival, with the Forgotten Skills element of the programme really encapsulating the ‘culture’ component,” explained Jennifer Allen of Elemental.
Ms. Allen continued: “This has been a key feature of Elemental from the start and is an event which means a lot to us. We feel very lucky to have such skilled craftspeople taking part but also people with a lot of integrity and an admirable work ethic. It’s a joy to watch them doing what they do and to have the opportunity to talk to them about their chosen craft.”
There will be a diverse array of skills on show at Forgotten Skills, from Nelli Siebert spinning wool created from the fleece of her own sheep, which she then turns into beautiful knitted handcrafts.
Doon-based leather maker Tony Berkery will be taking part too, making sliotars which is becoming a dying art with many of the sliotars used hurling and camogie today being imported to keep costs down. You can’t have a sliotar without a hurley and Willie Bullfin, along with sons Shane and Cathal, make hurleys in Camass, Bruff, following a craftsmanship which has been running through their veins for five generations.
Eileen Browne, one of just a few skilled Limerick lace makers, will also be taking part while master blacksmith, Eric O’Neill of Killuragh Kraftworks will be showcasing his skills, turning raw materials into beautifully sculpted artistic works.
Ms Allen continues: “It is wonderful to see these skills get the recognition they deserve. This is about showcasing skills which have the potential to be brought to the fore again, through carefully planned restoration works, for example.”
Dr. Dominique Bouchard, curator of Education and Outreach at the Hunt Museum commented: “Intangible heritage is an important part of the cultural heritage of Ireland. Festivals likes Elemental Arts & Culture Festival, which provide an opportunity to engage with ‘Forgotten Skills’, are not only critical for encouraging people to connect with the past, but they also loads of fun.”
‘Forgotten Skills’ will be held at The Hunt Museum, Rutland Street, Limerick, from 10am to 3pm. The event is free and all are welcome. See www.elementalfestival.com, Facebook (ElementalArtsLimerick) or Twitter (@elementallmk) for more.