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Posted 23.01.2024

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2024: Today, Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) presented Eric Phillips with the David Shaw Smith Legacy Award 2023. This award was developed by DCCI to honour the legacy of David Shaw Smith, the legendary Irish filmmaker. It has been created to recognise that Irish craft is driven by heritage and creativity. It will support and acknowledge the achievements of key master craftspeople in the creative development of their craft each year. The award has a value of €5,000 and each recipient is awarded an engraved glass cylindrical, created by Jerpoint Glass. Rosemary Steen, CEO of Design & Crafts Council Ireland; Peter Hynes, Chair, Design & Crafts Council Ireland, and Daniel Shaw Smith, David’s son presented the award to Eric Philips in a ceremony held in the RDS.  


The David Shaw Smith Legacy Award was developed in response to a callout at Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s AGM in 2022 by master craftsman and previous DCCI bursary winner, Joe Hogan. David Shaw Smith, with his wife Sally, produced and directed the acclaimed documentary series, Hands, and made over 138 television documentaries during his career.  


The David Shaw Smith Legacy Award recipient 2023 is master craftsman, Eric Philips. Eric is from Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny, where he leads a design and build workshop that merges contemporary designs with traditional craftsmanship. Specialising in crafting high-quality interiors and furniture for both residential and commercial spaces, Eric’s creations are a testament to his dedication to his craft. His preferred medium is wood, which he often combines with elements such as steel, glass, and lighting to produce stunning and functional pieces. Not only does he possess an artistic flair, but he is also committed to sustainability by sourcing wood from FSC certified suppliers and local wood providers, ensuring that his work is as environmentally conscious as it is beautiful. 


Presenting the David Shaw Smith Legacy Award, Rosemary Steen, CEO of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, said, “We are delighted to present The David Shaw Smith Legacy Award today to Eric Philips. We take great pride in championing the master craftspeople of Ireland and showcasing their work to a wide audience. The award aims to recognise the achievements of master craftspeople and support the growth of their craft. It’s an honour to present Eric with the first David Shaw Smith Legacy Award, alongside his son Daniel Shaw Smith.“  


Eric Philips, David Shaw Smith Legacy Award recipient 2024, added:  

“The world of Irish craft owes immense gratitude to David Shaw-Smith. His documentary work, along with his wife Sally, generated interest and pride in the traditions and excellence of craft practiced here in Ireland. His legacy as both film maker and long-standing member on the board of the Craft Council of Ireland, is the continued interest in Irish craft across the world, which has allowed makers to sustain their practices and traditions. It is with much honour I receive this award. As a maker working in rural Co. Kilkenny, recognition of my work by a panel of international level means a great deal to me. The award granted will allow me to continue to develop and experiment with new designs, combining traditional techniques of joinery with contemporary technology. I am very grateful to the Design and Craft Council of Ireland for their support.” 


Daniel Shaw-Smith said: “As David’s son and representative for David’s wife Sally Shaw-Smith, I am thankful and appreciate the opportunity to present this award for excellence in Irish design and craft which honours my father’s legacy. As a filmmaker, David knew great talent in the crafts when he saw it and was aware that it should be acknowledged and celebrated.  


I know David would have been honoured to have such an award in his name which will help highlight great talents in design and crafts, subjects which were very close to his heart. He would also be grateful to the basket maker Joe Hogan for suggesting that an award might be set up to champion the achievements of the masterclass craftspeople who are passionate about crafts and design in Ireland.  


As a family, the Shaw-Smith’s are delighted that the Design & Crafts Council Ireland has developed the award in David’s honour and chosen to name their recently renovated library at the DCCI’s headquarters in the Castle Yard, Kilkenny after him. We hope that this award will support many artists and craftspeople who are driven by Irish heritage and creativity.  


It is very important that the rising talents in design and crafts in Ireland are recognised, and this award is a wonderful way to support them.” 



For more information, please contact Eimear Harding, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, DCCI, 083 023 8743 or email [email protected]  


For further press information please contact Emma Kelly, Emily Duignan, Sorcha Delaney or Miriam Alsalihi at Elevate PR, 01 662 5652 or email [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected]   


About Design & Crafts Council Ireland 

Design & Crafts Council Ireland is the national agency for craft and design in Ireland, we support designers and makers to develop their businesses in a sustainable way, and advocate for the societal benefits of craft and design. DCCI’s activities are funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via Enterprise Ireland. DCCI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,500 registered clients. / @dccireland