RDS Craft Awards

11223626_849091188478134_5343671936421012190_oThe RDS National Craft Awards, established in 1968, has recently become a two strand competition with an independent panel of craft experts assessing the work of emerging and established makers separately. This seems to the benefit of all as both young and experienced makers are now assessed in comparison to their peers. The basket maker Joe Hogan, whose making and scholarship has consistently and inventively expanded the parameters of his medium, has been awarded the 2015 RDS Established Maker Award of Excellence. Mary Butcher, who judged this category, said of his winning piece, Ebb & Flow: ‘it stems from the unique Irish traditional techniques, yet it is a supreme example of contemporary basketry.’ Paula O’Callaghan, a graduate of the DCCoI Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills and Design Course won the inaugural Emerging Maker RDS Award of Excellence for a salt and pepper shaker set in silver and 22ct gold plating. The one-off ID2015 Award for design excellence and innovation was won by John Lee for Core II, a bleached and sandblasted ash table inspired by the entrance stones at Newgrange. The emerging furniture maker Ryan Connolly won the IACI RDS Muriel Gahan Award for a walnut side table, while Nicola Henley won the William Smith O’Brien Perpetual Challenge Cup for a painterly depiction of soaring gulls in mixed media textiles. The 2015 RDS Graduate Award was scooped by Andrew Whitelaw for a ceramic and glass piece made in response to China’s culture of ceramics, and the new National Craft & Design Fair Award went to the ceramist Chloe Dowds. Laura Quinn won two prizes for her glassware. The total prize fund, with additional sponsorship from DCCoI and ID2015 was almost €40,000.

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