‘Side by Side’ An exhibition of work from PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2015 - 2016

Posted 27.03.15

National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny
27th March – 28th April 2015

Official Opening: Friday 27th March at 7pm
“The creative journey is often driven by obsession but other times, it derives from necessity” – Christina Jansen, Side by Side curator

Side by Side, which opens at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny on Friday, 27th March 2015, is a curated exhibition of contemporary work from the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s publication, PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2015-2016. It features 22 Irish makers who have been selected for achieving excellence in craftsmanship, design quality and technical skill by comparative international standards.

Curated by Christina Jansen, Director of The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, Side by Side includes elegant work by acclaimed Cork-based furniture designer Joseph Walsh whose international reputation has been increasing in the world of fine art, Sara Flynn’s ceramic vessels which were top sellers at the 2015 London Art Fair, individually crafted bespoke couture pieces from Dublin-based fashion designer Helen Cody and exquisitely woven willow baskets from Joe Hogan who grows and harvests his own willow on the shores of Loch na Fooey in Co. Galway.

Speaking about Side by Side, curator Christina Jansen says the title acknowledges that, in this exhibition, a number of complex disciplines complement one another; craft and design sit side by side. “Change and innovation can sit beautifully together alongside heritage and history, as one informs the other. Contemporary work cannot exist without the long line of history running behind (even when it seeks to deny it) and in our world of reductive, digital technology, traditional craft reminds us of our roots and that vital human touch,” she said.

The work featured in the exhibition is drawn from PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2015 - 2016, a publication being launched by DCCoI at the opening of Side by Side. This biennial publication presents the highest standards of contemporary design and craft in Ireland as selected by an international panel and features 22 makers in the latest edition.

PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection, as a publication and series
 of exhibitions, exists in order to promote each of the makers as well as the high standard of contemporary design and craft that exists in Ireland,” said Ciara Garvey, Development Manager, Collector and Tourism Programmes. “It is a biennial marker of excellence and serves as a platform for showcasing the makers nationally and internationally. Irish contemporary design and craft at this level is certainly prominent on the world stage.”

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland added: “The PORTFOLIO programme aims to further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a world class source of contemporary craft.  It presents the outstanding skill and beauty inherent in the work of talented Irish designer makers to national and international collectors and commissioning bodies and acts as a valuable reference for curators, galleries and museums.  The programme has been instrumental in establishing and furthering relationships with key cultural institutions and galleries around the world and we look forward to seeing work from PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection tour internationally.” 

The makers included in Side by Side are:

·       Angela O’Kelly JEWELLERY

·       Cara Murphy SILVER

·       Cillian Ó Súilleabháin FURNITURE

·       Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill METALS

·       Edmond Byrne GLASS

·       Eoin M Lyons JEWELLERY

·       Helen O’Connell STONE

·       Helen Cody FASHION

·       Jack Doherty CERAMICS

·       Joe Hogan BASKETRY

·       Joseph Walsh FURNITURE

·       Karl Harron GLASS

·       Liam Flynn WOOD

·       Michael McCrory METALS

·       Nuala Jamison JEWELLERY

·       Pierce Healy JEWELLERY

·       Roger Bennett WOOD

·       Sara Flynn CERAMICS

·       Simon Doyle FURNITURE

·       Stuart Cairns METALS

·       Úna Burke LEATHER WORK

·       Zelouf + Bell FURNITURE

Side by Side forms part of the programme for Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), the government-backed initiative exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally. Following its run in Kilkenny, the exhibition will tour to the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris from 12th June to 12th July 2015 and to the ID2015 Design Hub at the Coach House in Dublin Castle in November 2015. 

Side by Side continues at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny until Tuesday, 28th April 2015. 


For further press information please contact: Aoife Smith, Sorcha Furlong or Tara Walsh at Elevate PR on 01-6625652 or aoife@elevate.ie / sorcha@elevate.ie / tara@elevate.ie 
Download the Press Release here.

Notes to Editors:

Side by Side Exhibition Events & Engagements

CURATOR’S TALK & LAUNCH - Fri 27 March, 7pm

Christina Jansen in conversation with guests.


FAMILY DAY: INSPIRED CERAMICS - Sat 11 April, 10.30am & 12 noon

Design a unique clay creation inspired by the ceramics in Side by Side.



Surface design workshop in fabric manipulation inspired by Helen Cody’s bespoke couture pieces.



Talk, walk and workshop exploring drawing as a tool for design with silversmith Stuart Cairns.


LATE DATE: MEET THE MAKERS - Thurs 23 April, 6.30pm

Simon Doyle talks honesty in construction, building bespoke furniture.


SCHOOLS - Tuesday – Friday, 10am & 12 noon

Focus on Furniture Design, activities for primary school students.



Drop-in self guided activities for families during gallery hours.



Visitors of all ages can design, draw, build and create with self-guided activities. Drop in and get creative!

To book, contact National Craft Gallery at 056 7796151 or email events@nationalcraftgallery.ie


The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s PORTFOLIO programme actively works to grow the reputations and potential of designer makers across all major disciplines of contemporary craft.  Featured makers are those producing innovative objects, either one-off pieces or limited editions and working to the highest standards of design quality and technical skill. Selected by an international expert panel, the programme currently features over 120 of Ireland's most renowned makers in disciplines including Ceramics, Glass, Metals, Paper, Textiles, Fashion, Calligraphy, Furniture, Woodturning, Stone and Basketry. PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection, which is part of the broader PORTFOLIO programme, is a biennial publication of the best of Irish contemporary design and craft in a world-class context.  The publication aims to increase awareness and understanding of leading Irish makers and their current work.  www.dccoi.ie/portfolio  

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 Curator
Christina Jansen has been the Director of The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh since 2004. The gallery is one of the oldest privately owned galleries in the UK. As well as being a fine art gallery, it is also home to the best of contemporary objects specialising in national and international ceramics, glass, jewellery, metalwork and sculpture. www.scottish-gallery.co.uk

About Irish Design 2015
Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) is a year-long initiative backed by the Irish government exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, is Patron of Irish Design 2015 and the initiative has been included in the Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. ID2015 is being convened by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), in collaboration with partner organisations, on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland. ID2015 partners include Founding Partners - MCO Projects; Accommodation Partners - The Doyle Collection; Venue Partners - OPW; Exhibition Partners – DAA; Technology Partners - IBM and Media Partners – The Irish Times.  To learn more, visit www.irishdesign2015.ie

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