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Project Showcase

Browse past projects below to get ideas, inspiration and learn more about the great work being done across the country by the Design & Crafts Council Ireland's Education Panel as part of the CRAFTed programme.

2018 is the European Year of Culture Heritage and we are delighted that many of our projects have chosen to respond to this under the theme 'Making Places: Sharing Heritage'.

CRAFTed European Year of Cultural Heritage Project

The Norman

School: Scoil Mhuire, 3rd Class

Maker: Marika Miklosi Manning

Partner Education Centre: Kilkenny

Curriculum strands explored - SESE, History and Visual Arts, Fabric & Fiber, Print, Colour and Construction

Marika Manning Gowan NS 2018 POF.JPG11_edited
Marika Manning Gowan NS 2018 POF.JPG13_edited
Marika Manning Gowan NS 2018 POF.JPG12_edited

The title of the project in Scoil Mhuire was “the Norman”. The teacher was in the process of covering the Normans in the class as part of the SESE Curriculum. Our aim was to look at that period in history from the point of view of techniques and materials and so give the children a better understanding of that period and the historic remains surrounding them.


For a first ‘ice breaker’ project the teacher, Maire, and I decided on a printing project. Floor tiles were an integral part of Norman buildings, so I thought it fitting to introduce the children to the principle of floor tile printing. I started with a short presentation on medieval Norman floor tiles, the imagery used, materials and where to find them. The children designed a square tile and two panels with a design that they associated with the Norman period in Ireland. The children inscribed the images using a pencil on to a polystyrene printing block which was then printed four times. The prints were cut and assembled into a repeated tile pattern.


Weaving was a very popular craft in the Norman period and so we thought it fitting to construct simple looms with the class with each pupil producing a small piece of woven fabric using a selection of wool and fibres.


Felting was our technique and material of choice for the last two lesson blocks. With the principles of fulling dating back to that period and earlier, it seemed a good choice. I started with a short presentation on felting and showing them different types of wool and fibres that could be used. The class brainstormed designs relating to the Normans in Ireland. Each child created their own felt picture.


For our last lesson block we took Norman tapestries as an inspiration. Dividing the class into four groups, each group set about creating a panel for our felted ‘tapestry’ depicting parts of the Norman conquest of Ireland. Maire had been looking at tapestries with the class and they had begun their designs; condensing the history in four major images. Before the felting work began I thought it beneficial to look as group at the children’s felted work from the previous week and discuss what we could learn from it and how we could use this learning in the creation of the new felt panels. The designs that the class had worked on during the week were rethought and then laid out in wool fibres by each group. Once the design was created in wool fibres the work was sprayed with soapy water, rolled up, and fulled by each team, washed out and hung to dry.


The children’s understanding of the historical events and way of living was our greatest concern. Through these creative activities we hoped to foster an interest in this Norman era. As this area has historic remains that are still visible today. A visit to St Marys Church in Gowran is scheduled once it opens for the season and the children will be able to relate to what they see there from the experience of having used the images, shapes and forms in thier hands on workshops.

CRAFTed European Year of Cultural Heritage Project

Textiles through time

School: Canalway ETNS, 4th, 5th & 6th Class

Maker: Rose Mary Cullen

Partner Education Centre: Blackrock

Curriculum strands explored - SESE, History, Literacy, Visual Art, Drawing, Fabric & Fibre

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The aim of the project was to undertake a mapping exercise of the local area through the medium of textiles. The project began with an initial exploration of textiles, including their historical significance, sources and ways to identify textiles. This was followed by sessions of hands on making with different textile techniques such as weaving, hand-stitch and incorporation of recycled materials. These were combined to create a textile map.


In parallel with the making the class researched the area's historical textile industry. They did this using the 1911 census online, looking at primary documents and exploring what family occupations revealed about the importance of textiles in the area. The class had discussions about the size of families, addresses that no longer exist in the area, literacy levels during this period and looked at place names.


We also arranged a meeting with Dublin South Central historian, Cathy Scuffil, who spoke to the class about the significance of the textile industry to life in the area in the 1900s. They also visited a commercial weaving company, Botany Weaving Mill, which is located in the area close to the school. During this visit they saw industrial weaving machines in action and learned about the processes of textile manufacture.


The variety of processes engaged in during the project maintained the interest of the group

and allowed individuals to use their specific skills in the group learning. The project encouraged the students to make connections with textiles as a craft through the process of making and by engaging with the current and historical textile industry within the school area.


CRAFTed European Year of Cultural Heritage Project

Bere Island Shipwecked Weaving

School: Scoil Mhichil Naofa, Bere Island, West Cork, Whole Schools Project

Maker: Liz Flatman

Partner Education Centre: West Cork Education Centre

Community Funding: The Bere Island Community Conservation Plan

Curriculum strands explored - SESE, History,  Geography, Literacy, Visual Art, Drawing, Fabric & Fibre.

Liz Flatman-Scoil Mhichil Naofa CRAFTed
Liz Flatman-Scoil Mhichil Naofa CRAFTed
Liz Flatman-Scoil Mhichil Naofa CRAFTed
Liz Flatman-Scoil Mhichil Naofa CRAFTed
Liz Flatman-Scoil Mhichil Naofa CRAFTed
Liz Flatman-Scoil Mhichil Naofa CRAFTed

The Bere Island CRAFTed project due to its geographical location was devised as part of a week long community residency project and received extra funding from the local community. This facilitated the maker Liz Flatman to stay and work on the island for a week and in addition to the school CRAFTed project, also hold evening workshops with local community groups.


Liz, the craftsperson, and Deirdre, the designated teacher for CRAFTed met before the project for a planning session. As the format of this project was going to be more condensed and intense than the usual CRAFTed projects, they decided it was important to have a one day ‘taster’ session a few weeks before the main project started. This would give Liz a feel for how an island school works and check on facilities on the island so she would be able to plan what to take with her.


The aim was to explore weaving techniques, using the landscape and the Bere Island colour palette (a Bere Island project by artist Paula Barrett 2017) as their starting point. Liz introduced weaving skills first with papers and them different types of fibres. The students also experimented with weaving onto natural, found objects. 


The initial aims were to improve knowledge and skills with textiles. Exploring the question: “where do textiles come from and how are they created?” Other objectives were to work collaboratively, to enable the pupils to lead the project when making design based decisions and to actively involve all members of the school.


Based on a real event which they can see from their classroom window the students chose the theme of shipwreck and collaboratively designed a picture for the piece based on their charcoal drawings.


The students then worked together to build the table loom, and planned the palette for the piece. They then worked intensively in small groups to weave their Shipwreck Tapestry. One the final day of the project as the students were putting the finishing touches to their weaving, Bere Island was visited by a German cruise ship. When the captain of the ship visited the school the students got an opportunity to share elements of their design and making process with him – he was very impressed.

CRAFTed European Year of Cultural Heritage Project

The Famine

School: Corfin NS, 3rd & 4th Class

Maker: Jackie Maurer

Partner Education Centre: Clare

Curriculum strands explored - SESE, History, Literacy, Visual Art, Drawing, Print, Clay, Construction

The aim of the project was to research famine history including famine workhouses. The school is located beside an old famine workhouse. We began our first session with sketch book making, brainstorming and having discussion around the topic. This work gave the class ownership to develop and design their own ideas in their sketch books, and meant they had a good starting point to continue to develop their ideas further. From that the kids were asked to write their own stories based on the information they learned and this became the basis for the rest of the project.

We took characters, places and settings from their stories and we made foam prints. These were then printed on to large sheet to make a collective visual story. Throughout all the sessions we spoke a lot about the facts of the famine and Under the hawthorn tree was read in class. Immigration became very relevant in our discussions, the coffin ship and institutions in Ireland. The refuge crisis was discussed and the kids were just thriving on all the knowledge that they were gaining.

Before the third day it was decided that we would each make a clay ship and in that ship they would place the people from their stories. The clay boats took a lot of work but it was very rewarding for everyone in the end. A tune was played by the children on their tin whistles to celebrate all the hard work that was done.

Having spoken about such a sad topic all the way through we I really felt it was important to find some positive stories and bring some lightness to the whole project. After doing some research we came across the Choctaw tribe, they had kindly sent money over to help the famine people. We then learnt that in Cork we have a sculpture that commemorates their kindness. Our boats came to life when the class painted their boats in bright tribal colors inspired by the Choctaw cultural traditions.

This was a fantastic project and to see the kids respond so enthusiastically to the topic was just amazing. Participating in CRAFTed takes me out of my practice and my head which sometimes can be mundane and isolating. I go back to the studio feeling lighter and energised, which definitely is a positive for my practice.

CRAFTed engages children in a creative exploration of all strands of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to research ideas and materials, work individually as well as collectively, learn and explore hands-on making techniques using a diverse variety of tools and materials, problem solve, discuss and reflect on the creative process. 

Interested in taking part in CRAFTed 2019? TAKE PART
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