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Iron Ann gets her hammer out for her craft

ON October 4, RTÉ One television will broadcast the fourth episode of Craft Master, which will feature former Clare general election candidate Ann Cronin.

Ann Cronin (far left) along with other competitors in RTÉ One’s Craft Master, which will be screened on October 4People from a cross section of backgrounds battle it out for the title of Craft Master 2011 in the six-part TV series. Produced by Big Mountain Productions in collaboration with the Crafts Council of Ireland, the series brings 15 people from varying backgrounds and experience on a creative journey in ceramics, glass blowing, wood turning, textile weaving and metalwork. Each contestant had to opt to master a particular skill. Ann Cronin, who is from Ennis, chose metalwork and says that people have now started calling her Iron Ann.
“I had never done anything with metal before but I can paint and draw and I can turn my hand to just about anything,” Ann explained to The Clare Champion.
“I really wanted to learn because it seemed like a cool skill. So I went out for a day to a guy called Mark Wilson, who works in a 17th century forge in Mountshannon. He showed me the basics and then I went up to Sligo and kicked ass. I didn’t fancy any of the other crafts because the other skills didn’t excite me. We had two weeks in a forge in Sligo with a blacksmith above there. It was great craic and I got so much out of it,” she added.
“Craft Master has been a fantastic way to bring together true masters of their craft with enthusiastic novices to explore what is possible when creativity, education and passion mix together,” Brian McGee, head of Market Development at the Crafts Council of Ireland said.
Each week, a professional craftsperson will mentor three apprentices in a master class on their craft. The apprentices will produce a piece and the winner of that heat will secure a place in the final.
The winner of the series will be named Craft Master 2011 and will be given a stand at the Creative Island at Showcase in January 2012.
Ann couldn’t reveal exactly what she made but said she was happy enough with how it turned out.
“I made a huge thing that everyone said I couldn’t do,” she laughed.
Having graduated recently with a psychology degree, Ann is now joining hundreds of thousands of others looking for a job.
“I’m chronically unemployed,” she said adding that she is not certain if her blacksmith skills will persuade potential employers to offer her a job.
The episode featuring Ann Cronin will be broadcast at 7pm on RTÉ One television on Tuesday, October 4.


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