Autumnal Arts at FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio


 As autumn draws in the FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio, Banbridge will make sure the leaves on the trees are not the only thing bursting with colour as they announce a host of wonderful workshops and artistic activities for October and November.


On Wednesday 11 October Romaine Hodgen from Flowerworks will facilitate a floristry workshop which will be inspired by the current exhibition, Margaret Clarke, An Independent Spirit.  This two hour workshop will take place from 7pm – 9pm and costs £20 and will bring participants from start to completion of a bespoke autumn arrangement.  Participants should bring a pair of secateurs; all other materials will be provided. 


Fionna Barber, a Reader in Art History in the Manchester School of Art, originally from Belfast, will be giving an exhibition talk on Thursday 12 October at 7.30pm. Fionna’s research interests are contemporary and twentieth century Irish visual culture, issues of nation, memory and identity and gender performativity in twentieth century modernism.  During this lecture Fionna will discuss her latest research on Margaret Clarke.  The talk costs £5 or £3 for Friends of McWilliam members on presentation of a Friend’s card.


On Saturday 14 October Naomi Whan makes a welcome return to the gallery with a Needle Felt workshop.  Using basic needle felting techniques participants will get the chance to experiment with colour and texture and learn about the tools and materials needed for this craft to produce a colourful character, brooch or beautiful picture. The workshop runs from 10am – 4pm and costs £25 including all materials. The workshop will be repeated on Saturday 18 November.


In conjunction with the current exhibition, artist Leanne Mullen will be delivering a five week drawing class each Wednesday from 18 October until 15 November, 7 – 9pm.  Participants will explore techniques of drawing, focusing on still life, figure drawing and portraiture.  The workshop costs £50, own materials must be provided.


Local artist Jane Mathers will be leading a three week ‘Framed Textile Illustrations’ workshop beginning on Thursday 19 October until Thursday 2 November from 7pm – 9pm.  Participants will explore the creative use of both machine and hand embroidery techniques to create decorative textile illustrations of Northern Ireland’s famous landmarks. The workshop costs £30 and is suitable for both beginners and the more experienced. 

As a new initiative the gallery will be introducing Baby Sensory Art on Tuesday 3 October and Tuesday 7 November from 11am – 11.30am.  This colourful creative workshop designed for babies aged 0-2 years will explore painting, colour, pattern and a variety of different textures to help develop little imaginations.  The workshop is free however numbers are limited so booking is essential.


The ever-popular Toddler Tuesday continues on Tuesday 24 October & Tuesday 14 November with artist Deborah Malcomson leading an imaginative arts masterclass aimed at children aged 2 - 5 years. Taking inspiration from the current exhibition this fun and friendly workshop is guaranteed to bring out the little artists’ creative flare. This free event will take place from 2pm – 3pm and numbers are limited so booking is essential.


On Tuesday 7 November the Friends of the Gallery will host ‘Colin Davidson in Conversation’.  Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist, living and working near Belfast, who is renowned for his grand scale portraits which have won widespread recognition and many international awards. His numerous sitters range from Liam Neeson to Angela Merkel and most recently he painted an official portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which was unveiled in November 2016.  The talk costs £5 or £3 for Friends of McWilliam members on presentation of a Friend’s card.


The current exhibition, Margaret Clarke, An Independent Spirit, continues until 18 November. The exhibition is open to the public Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, however for a more in-depth insight to the artist and her work guided tours are available on Saturday 21 and Wednesday 25 October and Saturday 11 November and Wednesday 15 November at 11am. Booking is not required.


For further information or to book a place on any of the events contact F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio on T: 028 4062 3322 Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm or E: Details on all activities and exhibitions can be found at or



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