Book Tickets

Meet the Makers

Meet the incredible range of makers who will be demonstrating their crafts at the Making Festival - appearing on both 17th & 18th August at the Ulster Folk Museum!

Making Festival at the Folk Museum

Meet the Makers

Taste delicious freshly baked bread cooked over an open hearth fire at Tea Lane in the Town area (no. 3 on map) 

Claire O’Flaherty is a bespoke shoemaker based in Belfast. She has been making shoes for over 35 years. Following a 2 year footwear manufacture course at Cordwainer’s College in London Claire completed an apprenticeship with John Lobb Ltd and has continued to make shoes for them ever since. In 1990 Claire was an inaugural recipient of a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship which enabled her to develop her skills with shoemakers throughout the UK. Claire taught bespoke shoemaking at Cordwainer’s College for several years and has previously demonstrated shoemaking at UFTM and other NI venues.

Claire will be demonstrating a range of the skills involved in shoemaking. These will include preparation of leather components, lasting (pulling a leather upper over a last), threadmaking and time permitting welt sewing.

Meet the Shoemaker, Clare O'Flaherty, at Magills Shoe Makers in the Town area (no. 3 on map) 

Tara Campbell is a Goldsmith based in Craigavon in County Armagh. She has been running her small jewellery business 'Made by Tara' since 2020. Tara designs and makes inspired contemporary jewellery collections, creates commissioned pieces for clients and creates one off experimental pieces for exhibitions as well as offering repair and remodelling services for precious metal jewellery.

Tara will be demonstrating the process of melting down and casting 9ct gold using the delft sand casting technique. Watch Tara take raw precious gold and transform it into a wearable piece of fine jewellery.

Meet the Goldsmith, Tara Campbell, at the Makers Marquee in the Town area (no. 15 on map)

Johana Muñeton is a traditional signwriter, gilder and calligrapher, better known in the industry as Joha Muñe. Originally from Colombia, Joha has travelled across the world learning her trade from expert craftspeople in Porto, London and Amsterdam. She has made her home in Northern Ireland where she undertakes signwriting, gilding, murals and calligraphy commissions and delivers courses in traditional signwriting.

Meet Signwriter and Gilder, Joha Muñe, at the Makers Marquee in the Town area (no. 15 on map)

Claire Mooney is a silversmith from the Mournes who specialises in the endangered craft of silver spinning.  Spun forms are taken from the lathe and then developed into unique objects and centre pieces for the home using other silversmithing techniques including chasing and repousse which Claire will be demonstrating.

Claire will have a selection of tools and materials on display to explain processes of spinning and raising metal. Claire will have a workbench setup to give you a brief insight into a silversmithing workshop. On the day Claire will have a work in progress demonstration piece to show the process of chasing and repousse. Members of the audience will have an opportunity to try their hand at chasing on a copper piece.

Meet Silversmith, Claire Mooney, at the Makers Marquee in the Town area (no. 15 on map)

Colette Langan is a stained glass artist who trained in the UK conserving medieval stained glass, and is proud of the role she had in the conservation of glass from Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and many other gems of Britain’s heritage.  

In her own right she has restored and designed stained glass for places of worship, businesses and private residences all over Ireland with work installed in England, Australia and the United States.

Meet Stained Glass Maker, Colette Langan, at the Makers Marquee in the Town area (no. 15 on map)

The Ulster Folk Museum is home to some of Northern Ireland’s important textile guilds who keep many of our textile heritage skills alive. The relationship between the five textiles guilds that meet monthly at the Ulster Folk Museum is unique to any UK museum with the first guild being established by the museum over 40 years ago. Since then, the link between the guilds and the museum has gone from strength to strength and is a mutually beneficial one. Guild members are some of the most loyal ambassadors for the work of the museum, providing volunteers for behind the scenes work in the textiles section and offering training to visitor guides in needlework techniques.  

Guild members represent a wide age range from late teens to early 80s, and includes beginners, enthusiastic amateurs, professional textile artists, and academics.  All of the guilds maintain long standing relationships with equivalent groups across the UK and Europe.

For the Making Festival four of the guilds will be demonstrating their skills and telling the public more about what they do - Patchwork Guild; Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild; Lace Guild and the Embroidery Guild.

Meet the Craft Guilds who work with lace, embroidery, patchwork plus spinners, weavers and dyers at the Makers Marquee in the Town area (no. 15 on map)

Ivor Kilpatrick is an experienced thatcher from Raphoe, County Donegal. Thatching has been in his family for generations and has a passion for passing on his skills and knowledge of the craft. He also produces organically grown rye and flax for thatching. 

Watch Thatching in action by Ivor Kilpatrick at the Diamond in the Town area (no. 15 on map). 

DAME (Dollshouse and Miniature Enthusiasts) have operated for 35 years and there are still original members within the club, proving just how popular this craft is. Working to incredible scales the original scale was 1/12 meaning one inch represents one foot in the real world. However many members now work on 1/24 or even smaller 1/48. The DAME club will be showcasing their creations and demonstrating how they achieve them. 

See miniature making at the Northern Bank in the Town area (no. 12 on map). 

Operating a traditional Columbian Press dating from 1845, our three printers at the Ulster Folk Museum have over 50 years of experience between them. From compositing to the final printed product, all prints are produced by hand and using traditional techniques. Our printers are passionate about demonstrating the various aspects of this craft.

Meet the Printer in the Baird's Print Shop in the Town area (no. 16 on map)

Bob Johnston has been creating traditional and contemporary willow baskets, sculptures and structures since 2000.

Initially trained as a textile weaver, Bob has since studied with master basket makers in Armagh, Galway and Villaines les Rochers, France. Bob is currently a craft demonstrator at the Ulster Folk Museum

Meet Basket Maker, Bob Johnston, in the Weaving Shed in the Town area ( (no. 21 on map) 

Johnny Drummond is a self-taught blacksmith and decorative metalworker who recently completed the All Ireland Heritage Skills Course with the Kings Foundation. This was in conjunction with the Historic Environmental Division and the Heritage Council which qualifies him to carry out restoration and conservation work. Brought up on the Ards Penninsula and now based in Mid-Ulster, Johnny has over 30 years of experience and specialises in work on smaller heritage domestic and industrial items. He also takes on occasional commissioned work. He runs a small forge where he teaches students, provides experiences and promotes the history of the ancient craft. 

Watch blacksmithing in the Pound Forge in the Town area (no. 24 on map)

The smell of turf and the taste of freshly made soda bread baked on the griddle are synonymous with many people’s fondest memories of the Ulster Folk Museum. Our talented visitor guides produce soda bread that is very hard to beat!

Watch baking in action at the Rectory in the Town area (no. 25 on map)

Peter Sloan is the resident Heritage Carpenter and craft demonstrator at Ulster Folk Museum. You can find Peter working in Gillespie's Carpenters, where he demonstrates the work of a traditional carpenter from the early 1900's. Here he focuses on carving and making pieces of vernacular furniture. 

A former site joiner from Lisburn, Peter qualified as a Heritage Carpenter following completion of a Heritage Lottery Bursary award in 2015. Employed as maintenance carpenter at the Ulster Folk Museum in 2019, Peter then changed roles to Visitor Services in 2023 to work in Gillespie's Carpenters.

Meet the Carpenter, Peter Sloan, at Gillespies in the Town area (no. 6 on map)

Joanne Glassett is a maker working in traditional textile crafts. She demonstrates hand weaving on a 19th century loom in the Ballycultra weaving shed at Ulster Folk Museum. 

Meet the Wool Weaver at the Weaving Shed in the Town area (no. 31 on map)

See Musical Instrument Making by An Droichead at Drumcree Church. An Droichead is an Irish language organisation that preserves and promotes the development of Irish language and culture through education, arts, family & community services, and outreach work. An Droichead are at the centre of the growing traditional music community in Belfast 

Watch Musical Instrument Making by An Droichead at Drumcree Church in the Town area (no. 38 on map)

Gerald Monaghan is a Blacksmith at the Ulster Folk Museum. Having qualified as a Journeyman Blacksmith in 2014 Gerald’s role is to promote the craft of traditional blacksmithing. Based in Lisrace Forge Gerald’s role includes public demonstrations, restoration work and the creation of products for sale at the Ulster Folk Museum 

Meet the Blacksmith at Lisrace in the Field area (no. 54 on map) 

Did you know that we have a working farm at the Ulster Folk Museum? All of our animals which includes donkeys, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, cows and goats are heritage breeds native to Northern Ireland. Our Farm team will be on hand to showcase heritage practices in grooming and harness cleaning. 

Watch Farm demonstrations at Drumnahunsin Barn in the Field area (no. 51 on the map)

The Irish Saddler, Qualified Saddler and Harness maker of the Society of Master Saddlers, Lucy Cushley has been creating saddlery and leatherwork since 2016. 

Using traditional hand skills, she runs a repairs service to bring back leather items to their former glory. Lucy also uses this heritage craft to create new and exciting bespoke items from homewares and fashion accessories to feature films. 

Meet Leatherworker, Lucy Cushley, at Drumnahunsin Barn in the Field area (no. 51 on the map)

The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland (DSWAI) is an all-Ireland non-profit organisation which seeks to promote the maintenance and construction of vernacular dry stone walls and structures that are seen in the rural landscape throughout Ireland. The organisation comprises a community of members, both professional stonemasons and those with an interest or background in the area.  They actively promote the traditional craft of Irish dry stone masonry and its many distinctive regional styles through workshops, demonstrations and events, to advance education of the public and professionals in the knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the craft of building and repairing traditional dry stone walls in lreland.

See Dry Stone Walling in action performed by the Dry Stone Wall Association at Ballydown School in the Field area (no. 53 on the map)

John Weir is one of the youngest horse ploughmen in the North of Ireland and is a collector of traditional horse harnesses. Originally from Ballyclare, John has a passion for carriage driving and regularly takes part in agricultural shows throughout Northern Ireland. 

Watch Ploughing at Coshkib in the Wood area (no. 43 on map) 

Hannah is a local artist and visitor guide at the Ulster Folk Museum who has been making rag rugs for the past ten years. This simple craft produces the small rugs that can be spotted in many of our exhibition buildings.  Rag rugs were an opportunity to get additional use from old textiles and a chance for creative expression. 

Hannah’s pieces continue the spirit of sustainability by reusing the museum Costume Department’s scrap fabrics and thoroughly well-worn clothing.

Watch Rag Rugging in action at Coshkib in the Wood area (no. 43 on map) 

Sarah Diver Lang is a designer/maker originally from Bellaghy in Co Derry. Recently Sarah has been using foraged clay in her ceramic pieces. The clay is dug from the banks of the River Bann near Bellaghy and then refined and used to make ceramic pieces and as slip. 

She will be demonstrating this process of collecting, slaking and wedging clay during the Making Festival, showing the processing and application of locally dug clay to make pots and vessels.  

Watch Ceramicist, Sarah Diver Lang, at Spade Mill in the Wood area (no. 44 on map) 

The experienced and skilled craftspeople from Historic Environment Division Moira Works Depot are responsible for maintaining and repairing Northern Ireland’s historic state care monuments. The Historic Environment Division within the Department for Communities are the government lead on the historic environment of Northern Ireland. 

Discover Stone Masonry with the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division at Coradreenan in the Wood area (no. 45 on map) 
 

Just like Stone Masonry, the experienced and skilled craftspeople from Historic Environment Division Moira Works Depot are responsible for maintaining and repairing Northern Ireland’s historic state care monuments. It's the Historic Environment Division within the Department for Communities that takes the government lead on the historic environment of Northern Ireland. 

Watch Lime pointing with Department for Communities Historic Environment Division  at Meenagarrgh Cottiers in the Wood area (no. 47 on map) 

 

Willie John Anderson lives in the townland of Ballycultra here at the Folk Museum. He has a farming background and has a love of rural life and traditional craft. Willie John has been demonstrating straw rope making for visitors for over 30 years. 

See Straw Rope Making at Cruckaclady in the Wood area (no. 46 on map) 

Malin Hemphill, a Visitor Guide at the Ulster Folk Museum, was taught how to make cordage out of stinging nettles by his Dad. Since the Iron Age, nettles have been produced into cordage for basket weaving, fishing lines, and jewellery and even woven into garments. 

Today this ancient skill is not as commonplace as it once was, but is still very useful for making strong cordage out of entirely natural sources.

Watch Nettle Cordage at Cruckaclady in the Wood area (no. 46 on map) 

Nigel Barnes and his wife, Pepie O'Sullivan specialise in antique and country chair restoration and in making traditional Irish and other regional country chairs.  He and Pepie run their furniture business from their home in County Clare, where they also offer courses in restoration and upholstery, clock repair and chair making. Part of their skillset includes cane, sugán, laid cord and rush seats, which they will be demonstrating at the Making Festival.

Watch Traditional Chair Making in the Makers Marquee in the Town area (no. 15 on map)

  • Dylan McGuirk is based in Wexford, and specialises in conservation and repair of mud wall buildings using traditional skills and materials. He works with wood, lime, mud and stone, but is particularly passionate about mud as it is both versatile and sustainable. You can find Dylan's work on Instagram and Facebook.

Watch Mud Walling at the Diamond (no. 15 on map)