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Craft Fair favourite Maureen McGhee looks forward to exhibiting her ‘labour of love’

22 November 2022

Renowned Derry designer Maureen McGhee is looking forward to connecting with established and new customers when she returns to the Guildhall Craft Fair this weekend.

She will be exhibiting for a third time at the event which returns after a three year absence from Friday November 25th to Sunday November 27th.

Maureen has been crafting unique design pieces for the past four decades and uses silver and patinated metals to create distinctive pieces of jewellery and Linoprints produced locally as a member of Derry Print Workshop.

“I’ve always been creative and like any child my imagination was unlimited, I was very lucky to have that creativity nurtured and encouraged by my mother especially,” she explains.

“After leaving Thornhill I attended Grennan Mill Craft School in Thomastown, County Kilkenny and it was here I discovered my passion for working with metals through expert tuition from Peter Donovan - the Silversmith who created the impressive Tabernacle in St Eugene’s Cathedral here in Derry.

“I eventually graduated from Belfast Art College with a degree in 3D Design Specialising in Jewellery and sold my work through Germany, America and Ireland before eventually teaching Technology and Design for 20 years in St Cecilia’s College alongside exhibiting my artwork and jewellery work.”

Seven years ago Maureen decided to focus all her energies on her craft by becoming a full time artist and it is a decision she has never regretted.

“The people of Japan believe that everyone has an ‘Ikigai’ - quite simply put it’s a reason to jump out of bed each morning.

“I am doing what I love, what I am good at and creating things of beauty that people need and that I can earn a living from.”

This year’s Craft Fair will feature the cream of Derry and Strabane's local and regional craft produce under one roof.

The popular event marks the start of Derry City and Strabane District Council's Christmas programming and will feature close to 40 high end craft producers and exhibitors.

The Guildhall's Main Hall will provide an ornate backdrop for a wide range of contemporary and traditional craft stalls featuring craft design makers and artisan food producers from across Ireland.

“Anyone that knows me also knows that I love connecting with people and the Craft Fair especially is a great opportunity to meet my customers and fellow crafters,” Maureen continued.

“It’s a chance to meet my loyal followers from Social Media as well as those who hopefully discover my work for the first time and spot a little something that they love.

“After a three year postponement of this event I think people will be delighted with the sheer range of gifts, all handmade including my own work, in the majestic setting of Derry’s Guildhall and the backdrop of outstanding choirs and their festive music.

“I’m privileged to be part of the independent outlet Omagh Craft Collective and a co-operative of makers and designers in the heart of our City in Number 19 Craft and Design where the support of local customers continues to grow steadily thanks to Council’s #shoplocalderry campaign.

“At this time of year it’s a lovely thought that something that I’ve created will become a special gift for someone on Christmas morning.”

The Guildhall Craft Fair marks the start of a comprehensive Christmas programme in the City and District which includes the Christmas Lights Switch Ons in Strabane on Saturday November 26th and Derry on Sunday 27th.

Other highlights include the Mayor's Christmas Tea Dance, the Mayor's Magical Christmas Experience and the Christmas Winterland Market full details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information about the Craft Fair and the traders visit derrystrabane.com/craftfair.

Updates and scheduling of Council's festive programming are at derrystrabane.com/Christmas.

You can view Maureen’s collection at www.maureenmcghee.com