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Conjuring Form Exhibition Opens At The National Design & Craft Gallery

Posted 08.08.2022
Press Releases



Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) welcomed Minister Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform to open the Conjuring Form exhibition at its National Design & Craft Gallery. DCCI also unveiled its new publication celebrating 50 years of Irish craft, Irish Craft Heroes, as well as announcing the 2022 RDS Irish Craft Bursary recipient, glass-artist, Laura Quinn.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, said: ‘It was a pleasure to be at the National Design & Craft Gallery today to open the Conjuring Form exhibition and see the work of the 38 artists and makers. The Irish Craft Heroes book, which also launched today, is an important catalogue and documentation of the Irish craft and design sector over the past fifty years. It highlights the great impact Irish craft and design has here and internationally.’

Adding to this, CEO of DCCI Rosemary Steen, said: ‘Today DCCI has highlighted the importance and heritage of Irish art, not only celebrating the incredible artists featured in the exhibition and in the Irish Craft Heroes publication, but by supporting future makers through the RDS Irish Craft Bursary. It demonstrates the strong legacy of this sector and encourages future talent to grow their skills. There is an abundance of talent in the Irish craft and design industry and DCCI is proud to continue showcasing and supporting it.”

Conjuring Form  

Opened today at the National Design & Craft Gallery, Conjuring Form is an exhibition of work from 38 makers in Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s PORTFOLIO Critical Selection 2021/22. The exhibition is curated by Alice Stori Liechtenstein, founder of Schloss Hollenegg for Design.

PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection is a biennial publication of leading Irish contemporary design and craft with makers selected by an international expert panel for achieving excellence by comparative world-wide standards. These makers are an example of leading Irish contemporary design and craft, as they illustrate a deep understanding of their respective techniques, materials and mastery used to conjure form. Each has reached their highest standard of practice through years of refinement.


Conjuring Form is now open at the National Design & Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny until Saturday, from October 15th to October 29th. The exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm.


Irish Craft Heroes Publication 

The Irish Craft Heroes initiative marks DCCI’s 50th anniversary supporting and celebrating makers since 1971. It includes an outdoor touring exhibition trail and a beautifully produced hardback publication, entitled Irish Craft Heroes, which also launched at the National Design & Craft Gallery. Irish Craft Heroes celebrates 50 Heroes, 50 Champions and 10 Future Lights who have significantly contributed to the evolution of Irish craft over the last 50 years. The hardback publication includes stunning images of work, and a timeline of key developments, as well as essays written by five of Ireland’s leading craft writers and historians, who were commissioned to examine the history of the period through different lenses.

As Design & Crafts Council Ireland looks forward to its second half century, the Irish Craft Heroes book is a rich and insightful compilation of Irish craft in all its forms, and of the many innovative people who have contributed to the ongoing evolution of Ireland’s cherished traditions of craft and enterprise.

Published by Third Age Books, an imprint of Liberties Press, the Irish Craft Heroes publication was designed by We Make Visual and printed in Ireland by Colorman, Dublin. The Irish Craft Heroes book is available to purchase from today, Friday, 5th August priced at €35 from Design & Crafts Council Ireland and the National Design & Craft Gallery.

Irish Craft Heroes outdoor exhibition trail is currently in situ at the Botanic gardens, Belfast until the 7th of November 2022.

RDS Irish Craft Bursary 

At the Conjuring Form exhibition opening, Niamh De Loughry, Deputy Chief Executive RDS Foundation, presented the €10,000 2022 RDS Irish Craft Bursary to Mayo native Laura Quinn. DCCI partners with the RDS to select the annual RDS Irish Craft Bursary, which is open to all makers in the PORTFOLIO programme.

Glass artist Laura Quinn impressed bursary judges Alice Stori Liechtenstein, Gregory Parsons, and Jennifer Goff with her ambitious proposal of undertaking a yearlong project to develop and publicly document a new series of work. The project, set to begin in late autumn 2022, will involve the development of a new series of hand blown and lampworked structural glass pieces that explore her research into audience interactive glass art.

On receiving the bursary, Laura Quinn said “I couldn’t believe when I was told I was this year’s recipient of the RDS Bursary. The bursary will help me considerably at a pivotal point in my career. Juggling a full-time job as an educator and my glass career means that time is the biggest challenge I face. The RDS Bursary will allow me to take time out from my role as an educator to focus on the creation of a new body of work, including attending a glass masterclass in America to continue to hone my skills. Receiving the bursary is recognition of the years I have dedicated to my craft, but it is also a huge boost of confidence that tells me I am going in the right direction.”


RDS CEO Geraldine Ruane said: ‘Our relationship with Design & Crafts Council Ireland is important to us in the RDS. While our programmes may have changed and developed over the years, both organisations share core ideals and the ambition to celebrate and support Ireland’s outstanding craft makers. The RDS current craft programme includes three different components: the RDS Craft Awards, RDS Branchardière Lace Bursary and the RDS Irish Craft Bursary – all of which involve partnerships with Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. Sincere congratulations to Laura Quinn the 2022 winner of the RDS Irish Craft Bursary, who will use the money to make a new body of work and attend a master class in the USA’.

Previous winners have created projects that explore and experiment with forms and require investment in tools, materials, and time to complete, including silversmith Cara Murphy (2021), jewellery designer Seliena Coyle (2019) and contemporary glass artist Edmond Byrne (2018).


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