Made in Ireland exhibition opens in the National Design & Craft Gallery
An exhibition celebrating the skill and vitality of Ireland’s craft makers
The Made in Ireland exhibition has gathered together the largest visual and sensory feast of fresh ideas and craftsmanship that has been seen in Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s National Design & Craft Gallery in Kilkenny and offers an insight into current activity in skilled making on a national scale. It is not only reflective of the skills of our community of makers, but it also celebrates work by different generations of the same family, and by collaborative groups and partnerships – it demonstrates the importance of passing on skills, of cross-pollination and innovation. It is a true and enriching representation of the fabric of the Irish craft and design sector, incorporating the work of over 100 makers from all regions of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The exhibition which launched on 5th November, was borne out of a proposal made by the project team to the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) biennial call for exhibitions. Their aim was to bring together a snapshot of what is happening in skilled making in Ireland, to create an exhibition that is ‘big and eclectic but also surprising, joyful, and inspirational’. The open callout attracted over 420 applicants to the juried process.
CEO of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, Rosemary Steen said: “The past twenty months of closures have been a difficult time for our makers, and opportunities to show craft have been reduced, which makes Made in Ireland all the more timely. During this time the public have engaged more with the sustainability and authenticity of craft. Guilds, Associations, Networks and Societies (GANS) are at the heart of Design & Crafts Council Ireland and we look forward to continuing to support the development of technical and business skills, creating opportunities and promoting craft in Ireland through the work of our dedicated team.”
Project team of Made in Ireland, Mary Gallagher, Hilary Morley and Stephen O’Connell said: “It is our hope that Made in Ireland will engage with diverse audiences and build understanding of craft, design and material culture. In a desert of digital and mass manufacture, we find this oasis of making – a tangible link to the materials and traditions of this island, to its colour, its landscape and its people.”
Exhibitors include makers of international renown as well as young, emerging artists and those who have practised quietly in areas of the country such as Clare Island, West Cork and the North Antrim Coast. Some are members of Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s Portfolio Critical Selection, while others are highly skilled makers who practise away from the spotlight and national competition.
A full list of exhibitors can be viewed on www.ndcg.ie/exhibitions/made-in-ireland and includes:
TEXTILES – Beth Moran, Contemporary Tapestry Artists, Anne Kiely & Carmel Creaner, Studio Donegal
GLASS – Jerpoint Glass Studio, Scott Benefield, Peadar Lamb
JEWELLERY – Inga Reed, Janice Byrne, Garvan Traynor
WILLOW – Ciarán Hogan, Hanna Van Aelst, David Purcell
CLAY – Grainne Watts, Cora Cummins, John McKeag
WOOD – Roger Bennett, Matt Jones, David Cousley
METAL – Jane Murtagh, Cecilia Moore, Seamus Gill
FURNITURE – Paul O’Brien, Joshua Gabriel, Mark Hanvey
The exhibition will run at the National Design & Craft Gallery, Kilkenny until 30 January 2022. From there, it will tour to Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park, Dublin: 1 July - 28 August 2022; and to FE McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge, Northern Ireland in Autumn 2022.
For further information please contact: Ciara Gannon, Communications Officer, Design & Crafts Council Ireland [email protected] | 083 010 6293
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 66 member organisations and over 3,500 registered clients. The craft and design sector contributes €500m annually to the Irish economy.
The National Design & Craft Gallery is part of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, based in Castle Yard, Kilkenny.
About the Project Team
Mary Gallagher owns the Blue Egg Gallery in Wexford where she shows contemporary craft work by Irish and international makers. The annual programme includes many exhibitions as well as demonstrations and talks. Prior to opening the gallery Mary curated craft exhibitions in Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford and in Wexford Arts Centre.
Hilary Morley is a curator, specialising in multidisciplinary exhibitions. Her experiences range from retail, commissioning and education to editing an online journal called MAKING.ie. Exhibitions include Galway Arts Festival cross-disciplinary exhibitions along with independent fine art, ceramics and mixed media presentations.
Stephen O’Connell is a freelance curator specialising in contemporary craft and design. He previously worked as a specialist with Christie’s auctioneers in London and furnished historic properties for The Landmark Trust. He is interested in the economics and sustainability of craft practices and advises on the commissioning and collecting of craft. Recent exhibition projects include collaborations with the Lavit Gallery, South Tipperary Arts Centre and the Blue Egg Gallery.