Doris’s art show is 103 years in the making

A 103-year-old from Dunmurry who has a zest for life is exhibiting some of her ceramic work at the Crescent Arts Centre this weekend.

Doris McCleery who was born in 1910 - the same year that Mother Teresa was born, George V became King of England and the year that Mark Twain died - attended the ‘RIPE’ exhibition at the arts centre, to see some of her pieces on display.

Doris, originally from London, has been showing her ‘small boat’ and ‘celtic design’ work at the exhibition which is due to end on Saturday.

Doris, a former minister’s wife lived in Dunmurry for many years. Born in London she moved to Northern Ireland in 1935, and married Rev John McCleery of the Non Subscribing Church in Dunmurry and had two daughters.

She spent much of her working life teaching in Belfast and only recently moved into Kingsway private nursing home in Dunmurry.

She took up woodcarving a few years ago and only took up ceramic classes just six months ago.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Arts Care launched the crafts exhibition as part of the Here and Now festival.

“I hope this inspires other older people to take part in the arts,” said Doris.

“You are never too old to dabble. All you need are some lumps of clay and an idea.

“It is something ordinary people can do and it can open many doors for them.

“You do not even have to be a very experienced artist or clever just have a little bit of patience.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this class.”

Doris was happy to see her work on display. “There’s no harm done with a box of paints and a bottle of water,” she said.

“I think it’s something that lots of older people could manage to do and get pleasure from it. My hands had not been doing so well but I took to clay well. The teacher told us how to roll it out and work with it.”

Doris, who is 104 later this year would like to carry on with her art. She became interested in art as a child, but ‘didn’t get much of a chance of doing much until I retired, which was quite a few years ago.’

“My life is never stressful and I might have been overworked and underpaid but it was never boring or dull,” said Doris.

“I’m very happy to be alive in this age. I just take things as they come and the people as they come.”