Irish makers exhibiting at Révélations International Fine Craft & Creation Biennial

Posted 22.05.19

Irish makers exhibiting at Révélations International Fine Craft & Creation Biennial

Three makers have been selected to represent Ireland at Révélations at the Grand Palais, Paris in May: furniture designer Stephen O'Briain, artist and jeweller Pierce Healy and leather worker Úna Burke. To mark the 40th anniversary of World Crafts Council - Europe (WCCE) in 2019, organisers Ateliers d'Art de France invited WCCE to exhibit at the fine craft and creation biennial which runs from 23rd to 26th May. The three Irish participants were selected following a call-out issued by WCCE for submissions from makers and craftspeople throughout Europe whose work is of exceptional quality to be considered for participation.

The resulting exhibition, ‘Crafting Europe’, showcases the work of 24 craftspeople from 18 countries with Ireland providing one of the largest contingents of makers. It is located at the Agora entrance to the Grand Palais, where 40,000 visitors to the fair are to be welcomed under the WCCE banner. In tandem with the exhibition, a ‘Crafting Europe’ symposium, hosted jointly by Atelier d’Art de France and WCC-Europe, will explore opportunities and challenges for the sector under themes of society, economy, territory, skills and policy.

Initiated by Ateliers d'Art de France in 2013, Révélations is run every two years. This 4th edition will see 33 countries represented by 450 creators, artists of matter, artwork manufactures, galleries, houses of excellence, foundations and institution at the fine craft fair.

About the Irish participants:

Stephen O'Briain (furniture designer)
Sensuous hand-planed curves, simplified lines and a meticulously detailed joints are some of the features that distinguish Stephen O'Briain's furniture. Working almost exclusively in solid timber, both native and imported, Stephen’s work over the last few years has taken on an increasingly organic quality. In the design of a piece of furniture, his instinct is to find a balance between the function of that piece and its sculptural form. Underlying the strikingly beautiful simplicity of all Stephen's work is a mastery of the complexities of good design and a genuine love of his materials. Trained as a fine art painter, Stephen first became interested in the possibilities of furniture design after seeing the work of Russian Master craftsman, James Krenov. What started as a hobby soon became a full time profession. The transition from paint to wood made all the easier by a tradition of woodworking in the family that stretches back three generations. Stephen’s work may have evolved stylistically from those early years but Krenoves influence lives on in his love of working with hand-tools and his search for simple but elegant design solutions.

Pierce Healy (artist and jeweller)
Pierce Healy creates subversive objects and jewellery, often layered with intricate engravings. He refers to himself as a human Swiss army knife; not in an Edward Scissorshands way but in the way he toils in an array of materials and disciplines in addition to the numerous skills he has acquired throughout his life so far. Pierce Healy sculpts and hand-engraves slabs of silver and gold into his dark raw jewellery. He is fascinated by the capacity of jewellery to embody our stories and to facilitate storytelling. He believes jewels are portable altars, vessels for our most intimate secrets and stories to be protected, cherished and adored. Within his practice there is no “master plan”, each piece is an experiment driven by curiosity; a study that informs the next piece in perpetuity. He is interested in the idea that jewellery is our second skin, everyday armour that when worn becomes something bigger, something other worldly as it takes on the scratches, dings and stories of the wearers’ adventures.

Úna Burke (leather worker)
Úna Burke creates wearable leather objects that are visually captivating and technically challenging. Her pieces resist categorisation by conventional standards, not defined as specific garments but as body accessories to be interpreted freely by the individual wearer. Her work includes sculptural belts, corsets, jewellery, handbags and abstract body pieces. Úna makes both seasonal fashion collections and sculptural art pieces using vegetable-tanned bovine leather and brass fittings, bringing together traditional leatherworking techniques and contemporary aesthetics in her distinctly complex constructions. The accessories collections are concept based and have human stories at their core, since influence is taken from psychological, military and medical sources. The Art pieces are also figurative in form and have the same inspiration. Úna Burke leather accessories are timeless, elegant, considered and sculptural. They are designed for the discerning customer who appreciates quality and creativity. Through the production of evocative and conceptual pieces, Burke aims to promote an appreciation for the cross-disciplinary possibilities of leather craftsmanship.

- ENDS –

For further press information on Révélations 2019, please contact

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation, championing design thinking and informing Government policy. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has over 60 member organisations and more than 3,000 registered clients.

About World Crafts Council - Europe (WCCE)
The World Crafts Council (WCC) is a non-profit membership organisation set up to promote an international interest in crafts and encourage contact between craftspeople of different countries. The WCC – Europe is a broad network representing more than 29 national, regional and professional craft organisations across the EU. Louise Allen, DCCoI Head of Innovation & Development Programmes, is President of the WCC – Europe until 2020.

Work by Stephen O'Briain, Pierce Healy and Úna Burke at Révélations 2019

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