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RDS Branchardière Lace Bursary 2022 Winners Announced

Posted 14.07.2022
Press Releases

RDS collaborates with Design & Crafts Council Ireland to celebrate innovation and work inspired by Ireland’s rich history of lacemaking

The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is delighted to announce Camilla Hanney and Róisín de Buitléar as the joint recipients of this year’s RDS Branchardière Lace Bursary 2022.  The bursary, part of an innovative collaboration funded by the RDS, was launched in 2021 to mark DCCI’s 50th anniversary. Valued at €3,000 this year, the purpose of the award is to provide funds to support contemporary Irish lacemakers and DCCI member organisations. The tradition of lacemaking remains very much alive in Ireland, and knitting, crochet and needlework has undergone a revival in recent years.

Passionate about Ireland’s culture and traditions, Róisín de Buitléar plans to use the bursary to create a large-scale artwork for construction and installation at the National Museum of Country Life in Mayo. The artwork is intended to be made onsite in an exploration of craft techniques that include the wider community, which encourages the contribution of skills and knowledge sharing. Camilla Hanney will use the bursary to develop a new series of work comprising of a combination of hand built ceramic wall works, draped, folded, and imprinted with traditional Irish lace patterns, alongside physical swatches, doilies, and handkerchiefs of fabric dipped in porcelain slip and fired to create delicate, white ceramic fragments.

Speaking about the bursary, recipient Roisin De Builtear said: “Lace is an international language of craft, a line of history shared by people throughout the world. I aim to study lace history and practice in private and museum collections. I wish to research the configuration of lace themes in contemporary practice to examine the use, production, and placement of lace fabric in a historical and contemporary context.”

Camilla Hanney said: “Lace often enters my work as a central motif within the physical work I make, while also quietly informing a lot of the research behind my practice. I am interested in the conflicting properties between a material that is so often associated with innocence and virtue but was originally created by women of the Magdalene laundries who were considered by the Catholic church as ‘immoral’ or ‘impure’”.

The bursary is named after Eleonore Riego de la Branchardière, whose 72 books on needlework revolutionised the world of lace and had a major influence on fashion in the Victorian era. Eleanore’s mother was Irish, her father was French, and the influence of these two cultures helped her fit easily into Victorian society. She became a needlework star, and her patterns were used by Irish women to create the in-demand fashion for English ladies. Lacemaking proved a reliable source of income for many Irish families during the Great Famine and paid the cost of passage to the United States for many single women.

DCCI CEO Rosemary Steen said: “Design & Crafts Council Ireland is delighted to collaborate with the RDS on the Branchardière Lace Bursary again this year. This award supports both emerging and practicing lacemakers. Lacemaking is an important heritage craft in Ireland. DCCI is proud to support these two craft-makers to develop their techniques leaning into Ireland’s rich lace making heritage to ensure the practice lives on.”

RDS CEO Geraldine Ruane said: “Our relationship with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland is very 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, the RDS Irish Craft Bursary and the RDS Branchardière Lace Bursary – all of which involve partnerships with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland. Sincere congratulations to Róisín De Buitléar and Camilla Hanney, who are creators of exceptional and innovative work inspired by Ireland’s rich tradition of lacemaking.”


For further information, please contact [email protected]