The RDS Craft Awards showcase and reward excellence in Irish craft. Each year an independent judging panel of craft experts assess entries from hundreds of emerging and established makers. There is a substantial prize fund for the winning work, a grand sum of €30,000 shared between all 12 categories. We at the Glass Society of Ireland (GSoI) are proud to contribute again this year a sponsored prize of €500 for ‘Innovative Work in Glass’. As a membership organisation focused on enriching the field of Irish glass, supporting this award is an important way of giving back to the glass community, supporting home-grown talent and championing new design ideas in the medium.
To date the prize has been awarded to recent graduates of the glass programme in the National College of Art and Design. The first recipient was Sadhbh Mowlds in 2014; she impressed the judges with illuminated sculptures that combine blown glass with painted illustrations from Irish folklore. From her series Na Daoine Maithe (‘the good folk’ but meaning the fairies) these playful and beautiful pieces incorporate layers and lenses, encouraging the viewer to get up close to the glass to see the stories captured inside.
Under the new judging structure last year’s GSoI prize winner Laura Quinn also won the main glass category prize for Emerging Makers (the Established Maker prize-winner was Alison Lowry). Laura’s wearable sculptures engage the concept of ‘making as ritual’, combining flame-worked glass (where glass is manipulated over a small torch, a technique traditionally used to make scientific glassware) with metal and plastics. Her striking work was also selected for Brown Thomas Create 2015, a fitting exhibition space for glass art that could be easily taken for avant-garde fashion design.
Both Sadhbh and Laura used their prize money to help fund internships at glass studios in Europe which provided an important kick-start for their careers. We can’t wait to see what innovative work will take the prize this year. The competition opens on March 14th and the deadline for entries is June 8th. The exhibition will be showcased during the Dublin Horse Show and this year it will also travel to the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Mayo. Award winning pieces are exhibited again in the RDS during the ever popular National Crafts & Design Fair before Christmas.
Author: Meadhbh McIlgorm, GSoI Communications Officer