Gobbins Crafts Jewellery Studio becomes 11th NI Tourism Business to be granted Économusée Status

Gobbin’s Crafts, a jewellery studio in Islandmagee is the 11th business in Northern Ireland to be granted Économusée status.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 5:00 pm
Heather McFadden in her workshop at Gobbin's Crafts

Gobbin’s Crafts, a jewellery studio in Islandmagee is the 11th business in Northern Ireland to be granted Économusée status.

Owned by goldsmith and designer Heather McFadden, the workshop offers jewellery-making classes, bespoke workshops and courses.

Heather now joins the elite network of food and craft artisans who open their doors to visitors and tourists to share the story of their journey and acquire knowledge, skill, and passion.

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To mark the launch of Gobbins Crafts’ workshops into the Économusée programme, Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust recntly invited guests to an online event.

Graham Thompson, Chief Executive of Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, who are a lead partner of the Économusée Artisan at Work project in Northern Ireland said: “In a difficult year when many businesses have struggled to survive, it is encouraging to see the network grow and Heather’s workshop brings yet another diverse and unique authenticity to this network of Économusée businesses.

“We are delighted to welcome Gobbins Crafts to the Économusée network in Northern Ireland.”

Guest speakers at the launch included Carl-Éric Guertin, Director of the Économusée Network Society in Quebec, Martin Graham, Tourism NI, Ciaran Doherty, Tourism Ireland, Cllr Peter Johnston Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council as well as CCGHT CEO Graham Thompson.

Praising the programme, Tiérna Mullan, CCGHT project officer continued: “By visiting Économusée workshops, visitors will gain an enhanced experience; learn about the history of the craft and the business; the enthusiasm of the artisan along with the added opportunity of meeting the artisans face to face and discovering the beauty and authenticity of the products made and sold onsite.

“We are thankful to our partners in Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and Tourism NI who have continued to support and enable us to expand the Économusée network in the area.”

Économusée Artisans at Work is a concept that was developed in Québec and involves partners from Canada, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Haiti, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

After graduating from Art College in the 1980s, Heather specialised in goldsmithing to combine her love of sculpture and working with metals.

She started out designing and creating commissions, wedding, and engagement rings, crafting beautiful pieces for clients who wanted something unique and different.

Speaking of the achievement, Heather said: “Whilst the current restrictions prevented me from accommodating people today in person at my workshop.

“I hope for a brighter future when you can visit my studio to see me at work and hear my story.

“I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has made me feel so welcome into the network and I look forward to growing with you and sharing my skills and knowledge.

“As part of my commitment to the Économusée network I will offer visitors pre-booked jewellery making classes and tours of the workshop where they will see the storyboards which tell the history of the area and my personal journey.”

Within Northern Ireland the other 10 Économusée workshops are; Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil in Limavady, Scullion Hurls in Loughgiel, Steenson’s Jewellers in Glenarm, Hillstown Brewery in Ahoghill, Hot Milk Forge in Martinstown and Ursa Minor Bakehouse, Broughgammon Farm, North Coast Smokehouse in Ballycastle, Audrey Kyle Arts in Islandmagee and the Creamery Can in Glarryford.

Each workshop is situated on or close by the famous Causeway Coastal Route making it an ideal craft trail for visitors.

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