20 of Ireland’s most exciting designer-makers to exhibit new work in Shape the Future

Posted 09.11.16

Twenty of Ireland’s most exciting and creative designer-makers to exhibit new work in Shape the Future at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny

Freeze Thaw, Kate Murtagh Sheridan | Embellished Tulle Dress with Slip, Natalie B Coleman | Jewellery Delivery System, Pierce Healy

New works by 20 of Ireland’s most dynamic emerging creatives will be displayed in Shape the Future, a new exhibition exploring how craft and design shape our cultural identity. Each of the featured designers and makers has been awarded prizes or development funding in recent years through the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) Future Makers Awards & Supports programme. Future Makers is one of the biggest award programmes in Europe for students and emerging makers and has supported 162 makers since its launch in 2009.

Curated by Angela O’Kelly, the exhibition will be officially opened at the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny on Friday, 18 November at 7pm by Professor Willie Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology, with a curator’s talk at 6pm. Running until 5 February 2017, the exhibition has been organised as part of the marking of the centenary of the 1916 Rising under the Cultural Expression strand and has been supported by Kilkenny County Council as part of The Kilkenny 2016 Centenary Plan.

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “The Future Makers Awards & Supports programme is one of a number of DCCoI initiatives nurturing and empowering the wealth of emerging creative talent in Ireland. We are committed to investing in the development of this new generation of innovators to enhance their profiles and build their confidence so they may reach their potential in their chosen fields, paving the way to a more productive and dynamic design and craft sector in Ireland. Shape the Future is an opportunity for this selected group to showcase their skills and creativity, and will be a platform on which they can establish their reputations further, both in Ireland and abroad.”

In a year when Ireland’s sense of cultural identity and the importance of it are heightened, Shape the Future seeks to explore the relationship between craft, design and culture, and how they relate to and shape each other. The designers were invited to create new pieces inspired by their cultural surroundings, and the featured works push boundaries of artifact construction and material manipulation. They cover a wide range of disciplines and approaches across fashion, jewellery, accessories, textiles, furniture, product, glass, ceramics and leather.

Angela O’Kelly, exhibition curator, said: “Irish designer-makers are growing with confidence, adapting traditional techniques and combining them with new materials and processes to create unique works. Key themes to have emerged in this exhibition include the influence and respect of the Irish environment, the relationship between nature and the modern world, the emotion of heritage, and craft as a means of communication. I would like to thank all of the designers for their contribution to the collection – their deep engagement with materials and processes, creativity and generosity.”

Since receiving support as either a student or practitioner through the Future Makers programme, many of the designers and makers have attracted international attention for their innovative designs and craftsmanship. The 20 designers and makers participating in the exhibition are: Cillian Ó Súilleabháin; Gail F. Mahon; Jackie Maurer; Jaki Coffey; Jennifer Slattery; Karen Donnellan; Kate Murtagh Sheridan; Kate O'Kelly; Lisa Ryder; Lorna Boyle; Natalie B Coleman; Owen Quinlan; Pierce Healy; Print Block; Sam Hamilton; Siofra Caherty; Snug; Superfolk; Suzanne Rogers; and Úna Burke.

A series of events, including a Masterclass, a Late Date, Family Days and school visits, will take place throughout the exhibition’s run at the National Craft Gallery.


Gallery Talk Friday 18 November, 6pm with curator Angela O’Kelly and designer makers; exhibition launch at 7pm with Professor Willie Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology

Family Day Saturday 19 November, 10.30am, 12noon
Funky Textile Accessories (B), with accessories designer Síofra Caherty

School Gallery Visits Tuesday 22 November – Friday 16 December
Our gallery educators guide your class in an exploration of craft and design (B)

Junk Couture Workshops for Transition Years (B)
 Thursday 24 November & Thursday 1 December, 1.30pm – 3.30pm with fashion designer Joan Brennan

Family Day Saturday 10 December, 10.30am, 12noon, 1.30pm
Hand-Print Christmas Cards (B), with print and textiles designer Caroline Ryan

Late Date Thursday 15 December, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Festive Making – Wild Wreaths & Print Pattern Linens (B)*
(Festive table linens, with textile designer Maeve Hunter, and hand-made wreaths with master florist Lamber de Bie)

Family Day Saturday 21 January, 10.30am, 12noon
Making Metal Badges (B), with metals and jewellery designer Suzanne Rogers

Masterclass Thursday 2 February, 2pm – 5.30pm
Expanding your Reach (B)*. For details see www.nationalcraftgallery.ie/learn/seminars

(B) Booking required. *A small charge applies for this workshop. Email events@nationalcraftgallery.ie or call 056 779 6151 for details.

- Ends -

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About the designer-makers

Cillian Ó Súilleabháin is a designer and furniture-maker based in Dublin. He set up his own studio, Cillian Ó Súilleabháin Furniture, in 2011, and in 2015 he was named the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Maker of the Year and chosen for their Portfolio: Critical Selection 2015-2016. His work has featured at a variety of galleries and shows in Ireland and the UK, including the Hunt Museum, the National Craft Gallery, Maison et Objet and TENT London. Ó Súilleabháin has also featured in publications such as Wallpaper*, AD Architectural Digest and Elle Decoration.

Gail Mahon works predominantly in ceramics and connects interdisciplinary areas of material culture in her practice. Having previously shown work in Ireland, UK and China, Mahon has recently completed her Masters at the Royal College of Art in London. She works collaboratively across various projects and develops exhibitions within the Belfast-based arts group, MAK9. Recent shows include Two Hundred Acres, Pumphouse Gallery, London; the British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent; and the Lucanio Benetton ‘Imago Mundi’ Collection, Italy.

Jackie Maurer is a ceramicist and educator who lives and works in the Burren, Co. Clare. She has been educating and practicing in the field of ceramics for over 15 years. Maurer has a first-class honours degree and, in her early days, trained at the Thomastown Pottery Skills Course in Co. Kilkenny. In 2012, Maurer became a Student Future Maker recipient and has exhibited both internationally and nationally throughout the years.

Jaki Coffey is a Dublin-based designer-maker specialising in jewellery and metalwork. She holds an MFA in Design and a first-class BA (Hons) in Craft Design: Jewellery and Metals, both from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

Jennifer Slattery trained as a graphic designer before working in a Dublin design studio for several years. She returned to college to study embroidered textiles at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and now creates textile products for the home from her studio in Dublin. The traditional is infused with the contemporary through the medium of print and embroidery in her pieces, and she believes that age brings character and with that an inherent beauty. Slattery’s work is a celebration of the everyday heirloom.

Karen Donnellan is Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Glass and Co-Director of the National Casting Centre at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, New York. She earned a B.Des in Glass from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, and an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY. Donnellan was the recipient of the Saxe Emerging Artist Lecture at the 2014 Glass Art Society conference in Chicago, IL. She has participated in residencies, including the Pilchuck Glass School Emerging Artist Residency, WA; the Toledo Museum of Art, OH; and the Cill Rialaig Artist Retreat, Co. Kerry. Donnellan’s work has been shown at venues internationally, including the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin; Tushanwan Museum, Shanghai; and the Burchfield Penney Art Centre, NY. She is a past recipient of the Langley Kenzie Endowment Award and five-time recipient of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers Grant.

Kate Murtagh Sheridan is a freelance visual artist, craftsperson and teacher. Since graduating from National College of Art and Design, Dublin in Education Art and Design she has completed a two-year Ceramics Skills and Design course run by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, and a Masters in Ceramics in Cardiff. Murtagh Sheridan undertook a one-year pottery apprenticeship and also completed the year-long Design Residency at NCAD. She won second prize at the RDS National Crafts Competition and the Future Makers Innovation Prize given by DCCoI. Murtagh Sheridan has exhibited in Ireland, Wales and Seattle.

Kate O’Kelly is an Irish maker working primarily with ceramics, slip casting and model-making. In 2013, O’Kelly completed a Masters through Research in Design, specialising in Ceramics at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. In June 2013, she was awarded a Leonardo Da Vinci Grant for a residency/internship with the British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent. Awards include a Future Maker Innovation Award, Future Maker Practitioner Award 2014, the Golden Fleece Merit prize in 2015 and selection onto the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Portfolio. In 2015, O’Kelly was invited onto the Designer in Residence Programme at NCAD Dublin, working between the Ceramics and Product Design departments. She also completed a residency at Limerick School of Art and Design which concluded in September 2016.

Lisa Ryder is an award-winning print and graphic designer. She graduated from the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology with BA (Hons) degree in Textiles before completing her MA Design at the Glasgow School of Art. Ryder has two years’ experience working for international designers and has spent five years at the helm of her eponymous label. Ryder has won many awards since setting up her label, including the Showcase Ireland New Product Award 2011-2012, Future Makers Exhibition Grant Award for Innovation 2012, Future Makers Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Product Development and Marketing 2013, and the Irish Fashion Innovation Award for Accessory Designer of the Year 2013-2014. Ryder has showcased her collections in Ireland’s leading retail store, Brown Thomas, as part of Irish Designers Create in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Lorna Boyle is an Irish designer and maker based in London, UK. Her work questions traditional ideas of value and preciousness, unpicking and critiquing social norms and cultural identity, often in a humorous way. Boyle’s pieces are predominantly created using electroforming and casting. She graduated from Goldsmiths University in 2015 with an MA in Design Critical Practice. Prior to this she completed a degree in Craft Design: Jewellery and Metals at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, receiving first-class honours for her thesis and jewellery collection as well as a Future Makers Student Innovation Award.

Natalie B Coleman graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fashion & Design from Limerick School of Art & Design in 2006. In 2007, she started her MA in Fashion in Womenswear at Central Saint Martins, and in 2011 she set up a studio and launched her eponymous label. In 2011, Coleman published An Archive with renowned graphic designer Paul Bailey which was bought by London College of Fashion as part of their permanent library. In 2013, she became the first Irish designer ambassador to Microsoft Ireland. Coleman has won The Image Magazine Women in Business Creative Category 2013; Golden Egg Innovation Award for Designer of the Year 2012; Kerry Fashion Awards Irish Designer of the Year 2012; and Future Makers Award 2012. Her collections have been featured in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Self, Grazia, Marie Claire, Dutch Vogue and Cosmos, while fans of the label include Laura Whitmore, Angela Scanlon, Suki Waterhouse, Lily Collins, and Mary J Blige. Coleman presents her collections at London and Paris Fashion Weeks. She is also a fashion lecturer at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin.

Owen Quinlan is a Galway-based artist working in the medium of ceramics. He is a graduate of the Centre for Creative Arts & Media, GMIT Galway, Cardiff School of Art & Design, and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramic Design & Skills Course. Major exhibitions of his work include a solo exhibition at the National Centre for Craft & Design, UK in 2012. In 2014, he represented Ireland at European Ceramic Context in Denmark and in 2015, he exhibited at Tulca Festival of Visual Arts in Galway. Past awards for Quinlan’s work include the Axisweb MAstar award in 2011, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers Award 2013 and, more recently, the Peter Brennan Pioneering Award 2015. Quinlan currently lectures on the BA (Hons) Design, Ceramics Programme at Limerick School of Art & Design.

Award-winning designer-maker Pierce Healy creates subversive objects and jewellery often layered with intricate engravings. A skilled draughtsman like his grand-uncle, stained glass artist Michael Healy (1873-1941), Healy has been making and exhibiting his work internationally since 1997. He studied jewellery and engraving in Dublin, London, Stockholm and San Francisco. In between his studio work and attending artist residencies, he teaches engraving and jewellery workshops. Within his practice he harnesses various materials and mark making, reflecting both natural landscapes and the landscape of the everyday.

Print Block, represented here by Caroline Ryan, Aoife Challis, Johanna Olofsson, and Graciana Parga, was established in 2010. Its mission is to provide affordable access to a fully equipped professional textile printing facility in Ireland. It aims to develop the Irish textile industry through education, workshops and masterclasses while fostering professional networks between designers and trade.

Jewellery designer Sam Hamilton graduated from the National College of Art & Design, Dublin in 2010 and Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School, Florence in 2012. Hamilton worked as an assistant goldsmith to Tuula Harrington at Designworks Studio in Cork, Ireland and interned with Idsardi Design in Delft, the Netherlands. For the duration of 2013, Hamilton worked as an assistant to internationally acclaimed art jeweller Ruudt Peters in Amsterdam. She was awarded a full scholarship at the Creative Academy (Richemont Group) in Milan, where she undertook an MA in Luxury Product Design. Hamilton then took up a position at Alfred Dunhill Ltd. in London and spent two years working as Assistant Hard Products Designer. Hamilton hopes to launch her own jewellery brand, SAMHAM Jewellery in 2017. 

Both a fashion and product designer, Siofra Caherty’s brand Jump The Hedges reflects a dual identity. Caherty began her career working in luxury fashion with ThreeAsFour in New York before progressing on to pattern-making with Levi’s in San Francisco. She has designed wearable technology with Slendertone in Galway and performance clothing for Adidas in Germany. Most recently, alongside developing her business, Caherty has been working as a Costume Breakdown Artist with HBO production, Game of Thrones. Her creative identity has evolved due to a constant pursuit of innovative design and a desire to solve problems. Having recently completed an MFA in Multidisciplinary Design at Belfast School of Art, Caherty continues to develop and evolve her practice demonstrating her design identity via Jump The Hedges.

Located in Co. Wicklow, Snug was founded by Conor Kelly and Nell Roddy in 2014. Passionate about design and colour, Roddy joined forces with Kelly who is a trained cabinet-maker with over 15 years’ experience crafting furniture in Ireland, Kenya and New Zealand. Celebrating design that is joyful, functional and well-crafted, Snug demonstrates Kelly and Roddy's commonly held belief that good design can transform everyday living. The structural simplicity of the Snug range is the outcome of a considered process of sketches, prototypes and wood/colour changes which lead to the realisation of the final product. Snug's aim is to achieve a harmonious balance between simplicity, function and beauty. 

Superfolk is a design-and-make studio led by partners Gearoid Muldowney and Jo Anne Butler. Muldowney and Butler met at art school in Dublin in 2005; Muldowney is a designer and craft-maker and Butler is an architect. Together they design and make home-wares “for people who love the wild outdoors.” They first collaborated professionally in 2008 and the following year, Superfolk was selected to exhibit at ‘Greenhouse’, an exhibition of emerging designers at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Superfolk products have been stocked in design and concept stores across Ireland and in Paris, Berlin, London, Zurich and Tokyo. Their contract market furniture can be found at Tom Aikens’ restaurants in Somerset House and Canary Wharf, London, as well as at Eatliano Restaurant, Hamburg. Superfolk work has been exhibited at the London Design Festival, Stockholm Furniture Fair, NYCxDesign, Maison et Objet Paris, DesignWeek Tokyo and DesignMarch Reykjavik.

Suzanne Rogers is an Irish designer-maker from Dublin. Working predominantly with metal, Rogers creates pieces of art jewellery and small sculpture that are influenced by the rugged, rural landscape in Ireland. She received her MA in Design (Metals) from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2012. Rogers has exhibited in Ireland, America and Europe, including shows such as London Design Festival, UK and Inhorgenta Munich in Germany. Her work has received many awards, including the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Maker Award and the Royal Dublin Society National Craft Award. In July 2016, Rogers undertook a residency programme in Maquoketa Art Experience, Iowa where she gave workshops on contemporary Irish metal-craft. Rogers teaches Metals and Art in Inchicore College of Further Education, Dublin.

Úna Burke is a London-based multi-award-winning luxury leatherworker from Co. Roscommon. Using traditional leather-working techniques in her distinctly complex constructions, Burke makes both seasonal fashion collections and figurative art pieces. Her work shows at fashion weeks and art exhibitions across Europe, US, Asia and  Middle East, and in top publications such as Vogue, Collezioni, Numero, i-D and W. Burke’s art pieces have been commissioned by New York designer Phillip Lim, Seoul's Simone Handbag Museum and the National Museum of Ireland. Fashion clients include Daphne Guinness, Rihanna, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Cindy Crawford, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and Ellen Pompeo. She has also produced work for cosmetic companies L'Oréal, Nars and Goldwell.

About Angela O’Kelly
Angela O’Kelly has worked as a curator of contemporary design and craft since 2004 and has also worked as a consultant, educator, facilitator and practitioner. She most recently curated Fresh Talent and co-curated Liminal which toured as part of the Irish Design 2015 exhibitions programme. Her creative work can be seen in many private collections and the public collections of the National Museum of Ireland; the British Crafts Council, London; the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; the Museum of Art and Design, New York; the Cleveland Arts Centre International Jewellery Collection, UK; and the Office of Public Works, Dublin. She is currently the head of Design for Body and Environment at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

About Future Makers
The Future Makers Awards & Supports programme was launched by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) 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. DCCoI 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 the National Craft Gallery
Established by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in 2000, the National Craft Gallery is Ireland’s leading centre for contemporary craft and design. It exhibits Irish and international designers, artists and makers who push boundaries in their engagement with the making process. Its mission is to inspire appreciation, creativity and innovation and it plays a critical role in building understanding of craft and material culture in Ireland. www.nationalcraftgallery.ie

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,200 registered clients. www.dccoi.ie 

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