DCCI announces 28 winners and recipients of Future Makers Awards & Supports 2020

Posted 02.12.20

View Gallery

L-R: work by Overall Emerging Maker Winner Kathleen Walsh and Overall Student/Recent Graduate Winner Tom Langton

Future Makers fund of €25,000 recognises and supports students and emerging Irish designers and makers

Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) today announced the 28 students and emerging designers and craftspeople who have received awards and supports totalling €25,000 through the organisation’s Future Makers programme. The announcement took place at a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday, 2nd December, which was led by Toby Scott, design strategist and DCCI Board Member.

Future Makers Awards & Supports is one of the largest prize-funded award programmes in Europe for students and emerging makers. The programme, which was established in 2009, assists the next generation of Irish designers and makers at a pivotal stage in their professional development. Future Makers helps recipients to develop a career in the design and craft industry with exhibition supports, studio supports, materials supports, travel and training supports along with Future Makers of the Year Awards, design awards, and craft skills awards.

Future Makers is one of DCCI’s programmes which support and invest in a new generation of talent in the craft and design sector. Divided into student and emerging maker categories and covering a wide range of disciplines, Future Makers recognises and rewards vision, innovation and excellence in both making and the creative process.

Following a call-out for entries in March, Future Makers 2020 received the highest number of entries to date with 232 online applications submitted and assessed through a formal judging process. Entries for 2020 were evaluated by a panel of judges over two stages. The first round was judged by Frances McDonald, Contemporary Design and Craft Consultant and Paula McCoy, Homeware Buyer at Arnotts who selected a longlist. At the second round, judges Rachel Dickson, Dean of Academic Programmes at Central Saint Martins and Nigel Cheney, textile artist and designer selected a shortlist and from this chose 26 applicants to receive awards and supports and two makers as the overall winners.

The successful applicants demonstrated design thinking, innovation and creativity, traditional and contemporary techniques, as well as skillful execution. Those selected come from come from a broad range of disciplines; from fashion design to woodturning, embroidery to jewellery design, across the island of Ireland.

Rosemary Steen, CEO, Design & Crafts Council Ireland said: “The Future Makers Awards & Supports programme is one of many Design & Crafts Council Ireland initiatives established to support the design and craft sector; providing funding for developing skills, and forging careers within the creative industry. Through Future Makers our aim is to encourage design thinking and develop the sector as a whole, by investing in the next generation of Irish designers and makers.”

“We hope to work with these emerging makers and students in the years to come, supporting them through our programmes as registered DCCI client enterprises with the potential to grow and generate vital employment. We congratulate the recipients of Future Makers 20120 and wish them every success as they establish their careers” she continued.

Toby Scott, Board Member, Design & Crafts Council Ireland said: “The Future Makers awards spotlight the extraordinarily high level of contemporary design and traditional skills in Ireland. These emerging makers, recent graduates and students demonstrate real craft throughout their practice coupled with skilled execution. This programme recognises and rewards vision - investing in makers at key stages of their careers.”


Emerging Maker category (comments by judges in italics):

  • Overall Emerging Maker Winner 2020 (€3,500) was presented to Dublin-based woodturner Kathleen Walsh. Commenting on her work, the judges said: ‘There is a reverence to her materials that exploits the best qualities in each. It takes an extraordinary sensitivity to be able to combine the beautiful properties of the turned natural wooden vessels with the sharp, modern resin tops with their shock of pure translucent colour. The work was mesmerising and truly deserving of this prestigious award in a very competitive category.’
  • Glass Artist Laura Quinn, originally from Mayo and now based in the UK, received Exhibition Support of €1,000 with the judges commenting that ‘she is to be commended on her juried selection for the prestigious ‘Collect’ exhibition and submitted an exciting and ambitious proposal that will make the audience see glass in a new way. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to support that.’
  • Fashion designer Olwen Bourke received Exhibition Support of €1,000 for her contemporary couture bridal wear. The judges also commented that ‘Her proposal clearly demonstrated how Irish Design can compete on an International stage given the right support.’ Originally from Dublin, Olwen is now based in London.
  • Kristina Finlay, a fashion designer from Meath, was awarded Residencies & Training Support (€1,000) to further her career trajectory with postgraduate study in Menswear. The judges commented that 'the work she showed had a flair and creativity that will flourish within the focus of this specific area study.’
  • Jewellery Maker Lydia Clayton was awarded Residencies & Training Support (€1,000). The judges commented that Lydia’s ‘exquisite jewellery demonstrates a superb level of skill and mastery of materials. Her application for funding towards digital marketing mirrored the dilemma many of the applicants desire to find a way to expand their customer base in these challenging times. What singled out her proposal was how well researched and costed it was, allowing the judges to envisage just what this award would do for her.’ Originally from Roscommon, Lydia is currently based in Naas, Co. Kildare.
  • Rebecca Marsden, a fashion designer from Sligo, was awarded Residencies & Training Support (€1,000) for her truly innovative 3d knitwear approaches. ‘The contemporary styling had a life and energy that gave confidence that she knows her target market and how to stand out in a highly competitive field. Truly a breath of fresh air.’
  • Ceramicist Cathy Burke was awarded Studio Support (€1,000) for her ‘highly distinctive approach to her ceramic sculptures’ and the judges also commented that ‘it is reaffirming to see how her practice has grown in the last few years with the assistance of a previous future makers award from student to becoming an emerging maker.’ Cathy is based in Wicklow and originally from Kilkenny.
  • Egle Banyte, originally from Lithuania and currently based in Tyrone, was awarded Studio Support (€1,000) for the precision of her intricate jewellery. The judges remarked that ‘the costs of working with precious materials is a stumbling block that this award will go some way to allowing her to fulfil her ambition.’
  • Textile Maker Fiona Daly from Kildare who ‘produces sublime woven fabrics that grow from a practice embedded in sustainability’ was awarded Studio Support (€1,000). The judges noted that ‘this award will allow her to expand production onto a larger loom, making a hand crafted Irish supply chain model more viable.’
  • Genevieve Howard was awarded Studio Support (€1,000) for her works across innovative 3d printing and traditional goldsmith skills. The judges commented that ‘Her proposal had an honesty that just asked for a ‘breathing space’ to allow a financial buffer to her practice where she could invest in the precious raw materials to bring her knowledge and experience back home.’ Genevieve is from Howth, Co. Dublin and now based in Austria.
  • Furniture Maker Paul O’Brien, from Kildare and currently based in Kinsale, Co. Cork, was awarded Studio Support (€1,000). Paul ‘makes furniture that is as much a joy to use as it is to behold.’ The judges commented on the ‘high level of craftsmanship that is the hallmark of his brand’ and how ‘this award will allow him to step forward with digital technology as another creative element of his toolkit.’
  • Metal worker Sam Gleason, originally from the UK and currently based in Ennistymon, Co. Clare was awarded Studio Support of €1,000. The judges were impressed with his ‘extraordinary knives that span a diverse array of heritage blade smith skills.’ They also remarked that his knives ‘are future heirlooms as well as precision tools that embody a complex narrative that traces the sourcing of the wood alongside the specific combination of techniques with metal’.
  • Stephanie Sloan, a printmaker from Wicklow, was awarded Studio Support of €1,000. The judges appreciated her ‘bold simple images that embody a personal interpretation of Ireland’ and noted that ‘this award will assist in the purchase of a key piece of equipment to allow for professional production of these beautifully crafted artworks.’

Student & Recent Graduates category (comments by judges in italics):

  • A recent graduate of fashion design in National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Tom Langton from Dublin was awarded Overall Student/Recent Graduate Winner (€2,500) for his work which ‘shows a confidence and an individual design ‘handwriting’ that is incredibly refreshing. A subtlety in restraint alongside a wry humour and beautiful sense of materiality and proportions ensure that the work is stunning.’

    Material Support (€500) was awarded to each the following:
  • Ceramicist Antonio Julio López Castro from Ballyhea, Co. Cork and originally from Madrid, Spain is studying Ceramics Skills and Design at the DCCI Ceramics Skills & Design Course. He makes ‘enchanting ceramics that are perfectly resolved in form, surface and colour. The intimate scale of them is compelling and has an obvious appeal for the International Collector’s market.’
  • Eve Doyle, a recent graduate of DCCI’s Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design Course who is based in Co. Wicklow. She ‘makes beautiful jewellery that explores the kinetic nature of line and multiple elements. Her works explores pioneering techniques that are ready to be elevated into more precious materials.’
  • Fashion designer Gabrielle Malone’s collection ‘shows a determination to grow her business from the garden shed to a sustainable business. Her investment in product development means she is now at a point to move to final fabrics and this award will help establish her brand.’ Gabrielle graduated from NCAD and is currently based in Clane, Co. Kildare.
  • James McDonald’s ‘wonderful furniture expresses a desire to grow in collaboration with other materials and processes.’ James is a graduate of Furniture Design and Making from CSN College of Further Education, Cork and is originally from Waterford City.
  • Glass artist Katie Spiers submitted an application that was rich in merit. ‘Beyond her intricate and enchanting creations in glass there was a passion for conservation and a knowledge of how her work speaks to an audience over and above the craft collector or gallery market.’ The judges felt that it was is refreshing to see how invested she is in Irish wildlife and how her work speaks to so many people. Kate graduated from NCAD’s Glass and Ceramics course and is based in Dublin.
  • Textile designer Megan Maguire’s love of colour and dynamic approach to knitwear was apparent to the judges and they felt that ‘her ambition to become independent after college with her own equipment and am ambition for postgraduate study is to be commended.’ Megan is from Co. Westmeath and originally from Dublin, she graduated from NCAD in 2019.
  • Sophie Rouyer is a graduate of Ulster University, she is originally from Pau, France and currently based in Belfast. She displayed ‘a clear aesthetic achieved through an impressive mastery of technique’

    Professional Development Support (€500) was awarded to each of the following:
  • Ciara Allen from Lucan, Co. Dublin is a graduate fashion designer who ‘produces bold, colourful clothes unlimited by gender’. As with many fledgling businesses she recognises that all the creativity in the world is of little value without a sound business structure and ability to plan and grow her brand. This award will allow for training to enable her to create that growth and to underpin her future plans. Ciara graduated from NCAD in 2019.
  • Ceramicist Jennifer Alford from Dublin is currently studying on the DCCI Ceramics Skills & Design Course. She ‘makes wonderful ceramic tableware. Her proposal admits how frustrated she is with her own attempts to capture the beauty of this material and how without professional photography she is unable to progress to the next stage of her career.’
  • Glass artist Jenny Mulligan from Offaly is a graduate of The National School of Glass, Sweden and is currently based in Karlskrona, Sweden. She ‘makes truly beautiful forms in glass and has the innate love of her material and its qualities.’
  • Limerick School of Art & Design graduate Muireann O'Riordan is a ‘talented fashion designer whose passion and determination shout from her proposal’. She understands the importance of her portfolio to pursue her dreams and will use this money to collaborate with professionals to capture her collection through her unique vision and style. Muireann is based in Glanmire, Co. Cork.

    Travel and Training Support (€500) was awarded to each of the following:
  • Furniture Design and Manufacture student Maighréad Bussmann, who is from Sligo and based between Sligo and Letterfrack while she attends GMIT Letterfrack. The judges felt that Maighréad has ‘achieved admirable success with her commemorative pieces’ and noted her ‘clear love of her chosen material and clear proposal of how she can extend her design scope with the breadth of new processes she plans to undertake.
  • ‘A recent graduate of textiles in NCAD Megan Shelley from Clondalkin, Dublin ‘uses digital approaches to embroidery to produce quirky embellishments that elevate the mundane to become stitched jewels to adorn clothing.’ She impressed the judges with her ambition to expand these modern skills with more traditional processes which will place her more confidently in the couture market.
  • Ceramicist Zara McLaughlin, based in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, is a graduate ‘who displays a hunger, energy and passion for her craft. She produces ceramics that enjoy the techniques she has mastered to date’.

The 2020 winners of DCCI Future Makers Awards & Supports will be eligible to apply for the RDS Craft Awards in 2021. Five bursaries of €10,000 each for emerging makers will be awarded for the development of business and craft skills to those pursuing a professional career in the sector. The award can be spent on further education and training, research, development of new work, mentoring, purchase of equipment, studio improvements, website and residencies. See www.rds.ie/craft for further information.

- Ends -

For further press information, please contact Astrid at FleishmanHillard at astrid.brennan@fleishmaneurope.com


About Future Makers
The Future Makers Awards & Supports programme was launched by the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) in 2009. The programme aims to assist students and recent graduates of full-time craft- and design-based studies or training to pursue an exciting and rewarding career in the craft and design industry. DCCI takes a leading role in recognising and rewarding excellence in craftsmanship and design innovation. It aims to provide practical support and professional encouragement to students and practitioners at critical points in their training and careers. For further information, please visit www.futuremakers.ie

About Design & Crafts Council Ireland
Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation, championing design thinking and informing Government policy. DCCI's activities are funded by the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment via Enterprise Ireland. DCCI currently has 59-member organisations and over 3,000 registered clients. www.dcci.ie

< back