One of the interesting things about visual art is that every material has its own niche of creators and specialists —  just like music where you would not lump everyone together.

The different strands and influences make the cultural offering more interesting. As society evolves, some art forms lose their skill base while new ones pop up. There is a niche group of glass artists locally but a new exhibition of 1845 glass potatoes called ‘Memento Mori’ made by Seattle-based Paula Stokes has managed to transcend continents.  

The stunning exhibition opens at the Ulster American Folk Park on Friday 27 August, Paula, originally from County Meath, moved to Seattle 30 years ago to develop her practice. She is reported to have made the pieces over a period of a year. The process has helped her keep a connection to Ireland.

The installation at the Ulster Amercian Folk Park is part of a two year tour of Ireland with each location taking about three days to set up. Omagh’s unique setting of a single room cabin dating from the late 1700s to early 1800s has been chosen to host the work. This will be the only opportunity to see the work in the North of Ireland and it will be in situ until 7 Nov. This project has been generously supported by the Thomas Dammann Junior Memorial Trust and is displayed in partnership with Craft NI for August Craft Month. 

Staying with glass, artist Alison Lowry’s exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery called ‘The Bystander Effect’ examines the role that we as a society had in allowing an ‘architecture of containment ‘ to develop in Northern Ireland. "Within the exhibition, the term ‘architecture of containment’ describes the physical infrastructure and systems used to incarcerate women and children in eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland, including Industrial Schools, Children’s Homes, Mother and Baby Institutions and Magdalene Laundries," says the gallery.

Alison’s call out for women to come forward in the North brought fewer results than it did in the South.   At the opening of the exhibition while listening to a sound piece of a baby’s heart beat alongside a mother's words to her unborn child, an elderly, spritely women tried to catch my attention. I was reading a back story on the wall of a young women adopted herself who found herself pregnant at 13. "That was me," the woman said. She has set up a support network of women like herself and for children who were adopted in similar circumstances. Finding out about Alison’s work, she produced a poem she had written at the time of her pregnancy fifty seven years ago, it plays an authentic voice into contemporary Belfast. 

The work, instead of focusing on the institutions involved, asks how we as a society allowed it to happen. The glass wombs hover, one containing a performance video of Jayne Cherry clasping and aching  as if holding onto a mothers pain. 

The exhibition continues at the Golden Thread Gallery, 84-94 Great Patrick Street, until 9 September, open Tuesday to Friday 11-5pm, Saturday 11- 4pm.

The Glass Society of Ireland has made a map where you can discover glass makers dotted all over Ireland which is available on their website.   

I loved the Potters' Market and hope this becomes at least a biannual event. Culture night has been announced for the weekend 11-19 September with Neil Beattie, Gawain Morrison and Dylan McCaughtry taking over Writers' Square for a monumental free Ogham Grove audio visual experience.

R Space Gallery Lisburn has been celebrating its tenth birthday. In that time it has given a leg-up to many local artists and brought many other artists to our shores. The gallery is currently hosting an exhibition called ‘Pinned on Linen’ with selected works by contemporary jewellers open until 3 September.