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President Higgins joins DCCI to celebrate 50 years of Ireland’s Makers

Posted 14.10.2021
Press Releases

Lifetime Achievement Award made to renowned basket maker Joe Hogan at opening of Irish Craft Heroes Exhibition at Dublin Castle

World Crafts Council Europe comes to Dublin

14th October 2021: Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) today marks its 50th anniversary, celebrating Ireland’s designers and makers. To commemorate the occasion a series of events is taking place in Dublin Castle. The celebrations will culminate in a special event this evening where DCCI will be joined by guest of honour President Michael D. Higgins. The President and attendees will mark the positive impact of craft and design in Ireland as well as the diversity of creativity and artisanal skills in the sector.

As part of the 50th-anniversary celebrations, DCCI hosted the World Crafts Council Europe (WCCE) General Assembly earlier today in Dublin Castle. The World Craft Council held its 4th General Assembly in Ireland in October 1970. The legacy of this event led to the foundation of the establishment of the DCCI in October 1971.

To coincide with the 50-year celebrations, ‘Irish Craft Heroes’, opens in Dublin today at Dublin Castle, in partnership with the Office of Public Works. This outdoor touring exhibition pays homage to the many makers whose work has contributed to the rich tapestry of craft and design practice in Ireland. Renowned makers featured include sculptor Nuala O’Donovan, glass artist Alison Lowry and jeweller Kevin O ’Dwyer.

As part of Irish Craft Heroes, 50 Makers x 50 Years exhibition, Design & Crafts Council Ireland sought nominations for iconic makers “whose work has significant legacy, has heralded new approaches or changed the way we look at the world”. At this evening’s event, the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to renowned basket maker and champion of Irish craft, Joe Hogan. Joe has dedicated his life to mastery of his craft, honing skills in traditional techniques while continually innovating. He has inspired and educated generations of basket weavers.

President Michael D. Higgins, said: “As President of Ireland, it is a great honour to join Design & Craft Council Ireland in commemorating 50 years of Ireland’s greatest Irish designers, makers and innovators. It is greatly inspiring to witness how this vibrant industry is so deeply influenced by the skills once handed down from generation to generation, but also powerfully reflects the world we inhabit today. It is my honour this evening to speak at the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Joe Hogan, a renowned and highly regarded maker who embodies the rich identity of Irish craft and who has contributed so much to it. I would like to wish Irish designers every success as they continue to imagine and shape and craft beautiful objects, reflecting, not just our rich Irish heritage and our active engagement in a contemporary and global society, but also their own imaginative powers and instincts.”

Andrew Bradley, Chair, Design & Crafts Council Ireland stated: “Today we marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, but more than that, we marked half a century of incredible skills, talent and professionalism in the sector. It’s my honour to welcome and thank our colleagues in the World Crafts Council Europe, and our members of the Guilds, Associations, Networks and Societies of Irish craft and design, who have come together in Dublin Castle. The incredible contribution of all of these organisations is why we have a prospering design and craft sector in Ireland today.”

Elisa Guidi, Head of World Crafts Council Europe said: “It’s an honour to be here today with President Higgins to mark fifty years of Design & Crafts Council Ireland. Part of our remit at the World Craft Council Europe is to elevate awareness and appreciation of crafts as an integral part of societies cultural, social and economic wellbeing. Since the foundation of DCCI the sector has grown significantly, becoming increasingly professionalised. The skills and expertise of our makers and designers continue to advance ensuring the success of this sector for a long time to come.”

Since its establishment in 1971, DCCI has promoted and stimulated the creative and commercial potential of Irish design and craft. To enable the growth of the sector DCCI has collaborated with key strategic partners both locally and internationally. Ireland has a wealth of talent which has been nourished and grown over the years. The contribution of Irish makers across our society and economy illustrates the impact and contribution of the design and craft sector.”

The opening of ‘What Colour is Metal?’, an exhibition that brings together innovative master metalworkers from across the world, is also open today in the State Apartments at Dublin Castle. It considers the relationship between metal and colour in contemporary silversmithing and jewellery. ‘Irish Craft Heroes’ and ‘What Colour is Metal?’ are presented in partnership with the Office of Public Works.

A commemorative dinner will also take place at the RDS on Thursday evening. The RDS was a key support in the establishment of DCCI and continues to be a much valued and close partner today. The two organisations have links across multiple aspects of their activity, from craft bursaries and Future Makers to the renowned annual Showcase Expo to which the RDS venue has been synonymous

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 3,000 registered clients. The craft and design sector contributes €500m annually to the Irish economy.
Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn: @DCCIreland

About World Crafts Council Europe
DCCI is hosting the World Crafts Council Europe (WCC-E) this week for the network’s annual General Assembly. WCC-Europe’s General Assembly is held annually, and each year is hosted by one of its National Entity members. This year the event takes place on Thursday, 15th of October at Dublin Castle and gathers 25 delegates from 14 countries around Europe. The President, Board and all members assemble for this important opportunity to update on the organisation’s activity and to meet and network with fellow members.

WCC-E is a network of 32 member organisations from over 40 countries. WCC-E promotes the design-led crafts and applied arts in Europe and plays an active role in the WCC International, profiling European craft in WCC International activities. WCC-E works with its members to develop the ‘Craft Cities’ and ‘European Artistic Craft Days’ initiative. Kilkenny has been designated a World Crafts Council Craft City and Region this year.

About Irish Craft Heroes outdoor exhibition
Irish Craft Heroes is an outdoor, touring exhibition, charting the evolution of the craft and design sector in Ireland over the last 50 years. The exhibition pays homage to the many makers whose work has contributed to the rich tapestry of craft and design practice in Ireland.

Through a public open call, Design & Crafts Council Ireland invited its members; Guilds Associations, Networks and Societies; partners; and the wider craft and design sector to nominate their #IrishCraftHero: ‘to celebrate makers whose work has significant legacy, has heralded new approaches or changed the way we look at the world.’ An Expert Committee selected 50 iconic makers and the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from over 600 nominations.

About What Colour is Metal? exhibition
What Colour is Metal? is an ambitious exhibition that will bring audiences on a journey of process, experimentation and mastery through the practices of 25 contemporary metalsmiths. Produced by Design & Crafts Council Ireland with support from the Office of Public Works, the exhibition will be launched on 14 October in the State Apartments, Dublin Castle by President Higgins and will continue to 6 February 2022. It will then continue to National Design & Craft Gallery in Kilkenny from 12 February – 30 April 2022.

About Office of Public Works
The OPW is a service organisation. Our ethos is to be client focused, to ensure timely delivery of services and to provide value for money. Our remit covers two main areas: Estate Portfolio Management, including Heritage Services, and Flood Risk Management. The mission of the OPW is to use our experience and expertise in our mandated areas of operation to provide innovative, effective and sustainable shared services to the public and our clients.

About RDS:
The RDS mission is to see Ireland thrive culturally and economically. The Arts are an important way in which it realises this mission. Craft is one of three areas in the Arts in which the Society’s mission finds voice. For generations the RDS has supported Irish craft sector. Fifty years ago the RDS helped establish the DCCoI. Today’s Award is a continuation of this support for the sector.
RDS | @RDSDublin |


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