Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Craft project hailed as UK first

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said the Economusee will encourage visitors to go beyond the Giant's Causeway
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said the Economusee will encourage visitors to go beyond the Giant's Causeway

The UK's first project showcasing the skills of local craftsmen to tourists has been launched in Ballymena.

Visitors to Galgorm-based Marion Woodburn Jewellery will watch artisans at the workshop and learn more about the history of the trade.

The centre is the UK's first Economusee, a Quebec-inspired tourism project.

Ms Woodburn uses precious metals to make jewellery on the premises. Much of her work is inspired by the landscape of the Antrim coast and glens.

She said: "This initiative fits perfectly with our business as we use traditional skills to create our contemporary designs.

"Economusee will enhance local tourism and raise public awareness of craft with an understanding of the time and skill involved.

"Over the coming months I hope to create further employment and I look forward to welcoming additional visitors as our business continues to grow."

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster visited the workshop.

"The establishment of the UK's first Economusee in Ballymena is a welcome step, as it will encourage visitors to go beyond the Giant's Causeway and explore other areas along the Causeway coastal route," she said.

"It will also give tourists another tangible reason to stop and spend money in the area."

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