RDS Craft Awards Exhibition

From left: Remembering the Magdalenes by Ann Fleeton; Mourning the bees by Vivienne Molloy; Monday Blues by Orlagh Milligan.

The excellence of Irish craft was on show again this year from August 2-13 at the RDS Craft Awards Exhibition.

There were 336 entries across ten categories on display and for judging and while they may have been somewhat overshadowed by the hubbub of the Horse Show, which took place at the same time and in the same venue, this year’s crop of talent was definitely hard to ignore.

Chairman of the RDS Committee of Arts, Joseph Lynch said “This annual competition provides an open platform for Irish craftspeople to have their work assessed by an independent, professional judging panel of Irish and international craft experts. Prizes are awarded in recognition of excellence, and our judges assess each entry across four different areas: craftsmanship, design, creativity and presentation.”

One of the more striking art works displayed was by Ann Fleeton, an established maker, entitled ‘Remembering the Magdalenes.’ The textile wall hanging was made using recycled household linens and featured printed photos of the women who worked in the laundries and official documents listing their names and assigned roles. A stark reminder of what the institutionalised women went through.
The exhibition then took the visitor from contemplating past histories to admiring distinctly modern-looking jewelry created through the act of play. Emerging maker Orlagh Milligan made a necklace entirely out of things you would find on your desk, such as colourful paper clips, thumb tacks and elastic bands. The aim of the piece was to engage the onlooker by transforming overlooked everyday objects.

The visitor could then finish off their visit to the exhibition by watching a live demonstration of emerging maker Alan Meredith at work. Alan was the woodturning category winner and received the Irish Woodturners’ Guild Award and he demonstrated his skill in using a woodturning lathe.
by Jessica Ellis