National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny
6th February – 18th March 2015
Official Opening: Friday 6th February 7pm

Fresh Talent, which opens at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny on Friday, 6th February 2015, shines a light on the creative new wave of designers emerging since 2011 who work within and across disciplines.  This new exhibition was specially commissioned to form part of the programme of exhibitions for Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), the government-backed initiative exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally.

Fresh Talent includes a mix of award winning graduate projects from Ireland’s major universities and from Irish students abroad, combined with the latest work from a selection of designers and practitioners who are at the early stages of establishing their businesses.  Reflecting the breadth of the ID2015 initiative, the exhibition draws from a range of fields, incorporating a selection of design disciplines including craft, architecture, set design, visual communication, product design, fashion and design engineering.

Commenting on the exhibition, Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland said that supporting designers and makers in the early stages of their career is vital.  “The ongoing promotion of the work of talented emerging designers and craftspeople is central to our activities at the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, especially this year as we celebrate design in almost every form through the Irish Design 2015 programme.  Providing recent graduates and early-stage practitioners with opportunities to exhibit their work reflects our commitment to investing in the development of the next generation of creatives in Ireland’s vibrant design and craft sector.  As Irish design gains a growing reputation internationally, we want to showcase both at home and abroad the wealth of talent amongst contemporary Irish designer and makers." 


Fresh Talent curator Angela O’Kelly says: “It is so important that young emerging designers and practitioners are able to work across disciplines, rather than just in linear subject areas. This enables real sustainable career opportunities. The new creatives shown here in Fresh Talent are pushing boundaries, focusing on user first designs and working across disciplines. Nothing is a challenge, it’s a very exciting time for design in Ireland!”

The designers and practitioners included in Fresh Talent are:

  • Gazel
  • Design Goat
  • Darragh Casey
  • Orla Reynolds
  • Kate O’Kelly
  • Kevin Callaghan
  • Julie Connellan
  • ail+el
  • Sinead Kennedy
  • Cait Corkery
  • Craig Higgins
  • James King
  • Edwyn Hickey
  • Ronan Kelly
  • Arturo Boreggo
  • Ashleigh Smith
  • Richard Malone
  • Rory Simms
  • Billy MacDonald
  • Rebecca Marsden
  • Vincent Lam

Read full bios for all makers here.

The work featured in Fresh Talent includes a selection of products from emerging design studio Gazel, graduate collections from fashion designer Richard Malone and pieces reflecting the breadth of disciplines practiced by acclaimed Dublin-based designers Cian Corcoran and Ahmad Fakhry of Designgoat.

A number of the featured designers have been previous winners and recipients of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers Awards & Supports Programme which aims to assist students and recent graduates of full-time craft and design based studies or training to pursue an exciting and rewarding career in the craft and design industry. The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland takes a leading role in recognising and rewarding excellence in craftsmanship and design innovation and  aims to provide practical support and professional encouragement to students and practitioners at critical points in their training and careers. 

Fresh Talent continues at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny until Wednesday, 18th March 2015. 


Fri 6 Feb, 6pm
Angela O’Kelly in conversation with guests

Fri 13 Feb, Wed 25 Feb, Wed 11 Mar, 10.30am - 12.30pm
Explore drawing as a tool for developing creative ideas with Inga Reed

Sat 14 Feb 10.30am & 12 noon
Design a unique pattern or drawing and learn to print it with Mella Cahill

Sat 14 Feb, 2.30pm - 4.30pm
Design and produce your own linocut relief print with Mella Cahill

Thurs 26 Feb, 6.30pm
Fresh Approaches to Jewellery with Arturo Borrego

Tues 3, Wed 4, Thur 5, Fri 6 March 10am & 1.30pm
Exhibition talk and hands on print workshop with Caroline Ryan

Sun 8 March, 12- 2pm & 3pm - 5pm
Object: Portrait,  Assemblage, Collage, Juxtaposition with artist Kate O Kelly

Sat 14 March, 10.30 & 12noon
Set Design Creations with Orla Reynolds


- Ends -

For further press information please contact:
Aoife Smith, Sorcha Furlong or Emma Kelly at Elevate PR on 01-6625652 or aoife@elevate.ie /sorcha@elevate.ie / emma@elevate.ie 


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
Angela O’Kelly is the Head of Design for Body and Environment at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. She has worked as a curator of contemporary design and craft since 2004 and has also worked as a consultant, educator, facilitator and practitioner. She holds a degree and postgraduate diploma in Design and Applied Art from Edinburgh College of Art and an MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy from University College Dublin. 

About Irish Design 2015
Through a year-long programme of events and activities exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design both in Ireland and internationally, Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) aims to showcase the very best of Irish design in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness.  ID2015 is an island of Ireland initiative engaging the public, the design community and businesses and will promote Irish design in just about every form at home through events and exhibitions while also targeting the export market through trade missions and events in international capitals of design and commerce.  As part of ID2015, Dublin has been designated World Design Hub 2015 by the International Association of Designers, providing Ireland with a platform to promote the skills and talents of Irish designers to a worldwide audience.  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.  Irish Design 2015 partners include Founding Partners - MCO Projects; Accommodation Partners - The Doyle Collection; Venue Partners - OPW; Exhibition Partners – DAA; Technology Partners - IBM and Broadcast Partners - RTÉ. www.irishdesign2015.ie  

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