RAFI H LTD. Published by the Crafts Council of Ireland, Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Dublin 4. Telephone 680764
Annual General Meeting The Annual General Meeting of the Crafts Council of Ireland was held at Thomas Prior House, Dublin 4, on 14 May. Representatives of thirty organisations affiliated to the Council were present to hear the Chairman's statement and to consider the Annual Report and the audited Accounts. New members welcomed by the Chairman, Miss Blanaid Reddin, were Michael Jackson of Hands Cooperative; Muriel Beckett of Marlay Craft Cooperative; Open College, Belfast; Kildare Craftworkers Guild; Katriona Brennan of North Dublin Craftworkers Association; Waterford Crafts Limited; and Comeragh Crafts Cooperative.
Chairman Re-elected Miss Blanaid Reddin, Bord Failte, was re-elected Chairman at a meeting of the Management Committee of the Crafts Council of Ireland, held immediately after the Annual General Meeting. Honorary officers elected were: Vice-Chairman, Mr Gerald Tyler, Kilkenny Design Workshops; Honorary Secretary, Miss Betty Searson, Royal Dublin Society; and Honorary Treasurer, Miss Mary Coleman, Country Markets.
Reports from the various member organisations were heard with interest and it was evident that a new and more positive attitude was being taken towards the Council's work, particularly among professional craftsmen. The work on the Management Committee of both Mrs Patsy Duignan of Slieve Bawn Cooperative Handcraft Markets, and Mr Tom Sheedy of Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, was praised by the Chairman. Neither were, for reasons of the pressure of work in their own organisations, going forward for reelection. The elections to the Management Committee resulted in two new members joining the Management Committee: Mrs Helena Brennan of the Craft Potters Society of Ireland; and Mr Michael Jackson of Hands Cooperative.
Top, the re-elected Chairman of the Crafts Council of Ireland, Miss Blanaid Reddin; and above the two new members
of the Management Committee: left, Mr Michael Jackson, and right, Mrs Helena Brennan.
CorkCraftsmans Guild The Cork Craftsmans Guild invites applications from craftsmen and artists for selection for Associate Membership. The selection committee meets in Cork every month to consider applications for Associate Membership. To facilitate craft workers in the Dublin area, however, we are holding a selection committee meeting at the Crafts Council of Ireland offices- Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4—on Tuesday 16 June 1981 To become an Associate Member of the Guild, and able to sell your work through its outlets, your work must fulfil the standards required in all of the following categories: 1 Design and Originality 2 Craftsmanship 3 Presentation and production capabilities (Originality is not necessary in traditional crafts). Your application, including representative work, should be delivered to the Crafts Council of Ireland offices, no later than Monday 15 June and collected from Wednesday 17 June onwards. Applicants will be notified by post. Further information may be obtained from 021-26053. DUBLIN SHOP OPENING MID- JULY In July of I98I, the Cork Craftsmans Guild will open a Dublin shop at the Powerscourt House Development in South William Street. This extension of the Guild's activity to the capital comes seven years after commencing a retail business in a ramshackled premises on a Cork back street. The intervening years have seen the Guild grow from this back street shop, originally representing a few dozen craftsmen, to the present shop in the Savoy Arcade off Patrick StreetCork's main thoroughfare—and now representing some two hundred and fifty craftworkers. A common misconception concerning the Guild is the belief that, because of its name, it only represents the craftworkers of Cork. Nothing could be further from the case. Having drawn its original support from the needs of the craft workers of the South West to find a satisfactory outlet for their work, it now has members from all over the country representing a great diversity of crafts.
It is this diversity and the fact that the Guild shop is not a seasonal enterprise that distinguishes the Guild from the average privately-owned craftshop, primarily interested only in the tourist trade. As the Guild is a co-operative, geared towards marketing of its members' work and not purely for profit, the fact that some have a large volume of production and others very little can all be accommodated into its scope. From ceramic studios, employing apprentices, to a single basket maker working alone, the Guild is there to provide a link between the maker and the public. The number of crafts represented runs to a list of almost all that is now being made in the country and takes in both those traditional crafts which have not died out in the countryside, and those more art-school based, many of which represent something relatively new in the Irish market. The day-to-day business of the Cork Craftsmans Guild is run by the shop manager who is in constant contact with the craftworkers, relaying orders and ensuring that stock is maintained. The manager works also in conjunction with a management committee elected from the full members, with the usual officers of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. These full members, whose task it is to make major decisions, are comprised of some of the founder members as well as those who subsequently became involved in the Guild. The distinction between full and associate members is that many of the latter are small or semi-professional producers, and would be unable or unwilling to devote time to running the shop. As the associates are not share holders, they are not required to provide personnel for the management of the Guild. Many of the new full members have come from the ranks of the associates and, although this entitles them to become shareholders, the Guild has not ever paid a dividend, the small annual profit being used to improve the shop or to give grants to members for seminars, etc. For example, the organisers of the Potters' weekend in Bandon in I980 received a grant from the Guild's funds, to cover their organising expenses. What are the reasons behind the desires of the Guild members to open a Dublin shop? Twofold, really: despite a fairly stringent selection committee which vets
around a dozen applications per month for membership and to whom only the highest standards are acceptable, the membership continues to grow, bringing in new crafts as well as more practitioners of those already represented. This creates a situation in which it is not possible to do justice in terms of.the desire to put more display space at their disposal. The solution is the opening of another shop and for such an outlet, Dublin is the obvious location. The other reason for opening in Dublin is a desire to add to the already wide range of crafts in the Guild those not yet represented and to provide the craft workers of the Dublin area with the same facility as has proved so successful in the South. The Guild hopes that any crafts men looking for a new outlet for their work will become involved in this new project. The health of a such a co operative depends entirely on the professionalism and idealism of its members and on being open to new crafts and change in whatever way it may benefit the craftworker. The Powerscourt House development, uniting as it does the traditional of 18th century craftsmanship at its high point of development with the living craftsmen of today, should provide Dublin with an exciting new forum for those interested in seeing what Irish craftsmen, past and present, can produce. Brian Lawlor
Christmas Fair Organised by Siobhan Cuffe and others, a Christmas Art and Design Fair will be held in the Mansion House Dublin from 17 to 20 December. The purpose stated is to expose to the general public a number of individual studies of original talent producing work suitable for the Christmas seasonal market, and also to encourage inventiveness in those taking part. Participating, as well as craftsmen and artists, will be art galleries and collections both from this country and from abroad.
"Slavish Copying"-A Reply Notes on reading the report of the Crafts Council of Ireland's Annual Conference in the January/February Newsletter 1981 How very stimulating to read the statements and criticisms, particularly about the "slavish copying of letters, motifs and bits" (?) from the Book of Kells, the Ardagh Chalice and so forth. This has been a long-standing criticism and I would like to reply, not only for myself but for other artists whose work from that source has thrilled me and the many people who have bought it. Taking from nature surely is what artists and craftsmen have done right down through the ages. All art is copied from one source or another. Creation is already with us, the artist merely exploits it—experiences beauty, joy, depth of feeling etc— in other words, the experience, through their own particular field of work. How this is done must remain with the individual, otherwise no great artists, craftsmen or designers will emerge. How often we hear: "Ireland must preserve its heritage." What is heritage? The dictionary says, "that which is inherited; conditions of one's birth; anything transmitted from ancestors." All Ireland's treasures are embraced in these words. Does it only apply to museums? The artists and craftsmen of today are of that heritage and it is their prerogative to keep it alive by taking from it and utilising it for the enjoyment of mankind. That is what arts and crafts are about. Where else can one seek guidance? Hence the preservation, surely. How else can one learn? What is new?
Artist Craftsman in Lettering This brings me to the question: why produce facsimiles? Museums all over the world sell them to the general public. Not only books and prints, but artefacts representative of ancient cultures. Why be critical of those artists who try to bring some excitement from the Book of Kells to the general public? It is there to be copied from, and loved, and enjoyed by everyone, and it is very necessary from a cultural aspect. Without this there can be no natural growth of design. It will take many, many years; what is a mere twenty in the scheme of things? The flowers take longer than the weeds to grow.
We must work harder at the "slavish copying" for in so doing one learns so much more than in the casual glance—to do it with one's own hands is very important.
Beverley Courtney has recently come to live and work in Dublin. She specialises in lettering on stone and wood: house names, inscriptions, signboards, even head stones. Taught by Dorothy Mahoney, a pupil of calligrapher, Edward Johnston, who also taught Eric Gill, Beverley was selected in 1980 for the UK Crafts Council's "New Craftsman" scheme, and slides of her work are in their library collection. Commissions have included a sign board for the Beer Gardens Museum in Southwark in London; a carved wooden sign for the parish of East Knoyle in Wiltshire; headstones; a restaurant sign, carved and gold-leafed; and carved house names in wood and stone. Her work has been included in a number of London exhibitions.
Teachers should be glad to get their students on Celtic designs from the Book of Kells, for only then will they realise what a great task is before them to learn from this wondrous work by those great monastic artists and craftsmen. "Slavish" is perhaps right, for I often think that some of the work was done as penance! Let us be enslaved. The greater the artist, the more enslaved he or she is. Only then can one produce a forward trend in the cultural aptitude of the future artists and craftsmen of Ireland. We must gather the best from the past for without it the road is not clear. Technically and emotionally, it is never easy. Amelia Bayntun Ballydehob, Co Cork
CARVINGS BY BEVERLEYCOURTNEY Above, Knoyle House Ground (Wiltshire, England): commemorative plaque in Nabresina (carboniferous limestone), V-cut incised and tinted, approximately 24" x 15". Left, Queen's Crest Centre: oak, relief cut, approximately 30" x 12".
CPSI Second Exhibition
An edited version of the Crafts Council's travelling exhibition was mounted at the request of Kinsale Tourism to coincide with the Kinsale Wine Week. The promoters of the week had hoped to have the exhibition last year but could not because of a clash of bookings. Acton's Hotel was the venue.
P J Carrol Is headquarters was the venue again for the 1981 Craft Potters Society of I reland exhibition. The space lends itself to exhibitions of this sort and the mounting was well designed and simple, giving every exhibitor equal importance. The catalogue was excellent.
Craftsmen represented included potters Geoffrey Healy and Vivienne Foley; hot glass craftsmen Keith Leadbetter and Paschal Fitzpatrick, a newcomer to the glass scene; Inga Reed, jeweller; Alice Roden, weaver; and batik artists Matt O'Connell and Bernadette Madden. Janet Lane, who handpaints on silk scarves; master wood craftsman Martyn Orram; enameller Jan Zanoni, basket maker Joe Hogan and rushworker Mary Landy were others whose work was displayed. Work by Kinsale Arans, Avoca Handweavers and Irish Dresden birds designed by Danny Osborne completed the exhibition which was indicative of the best of Irish commercial handcraft and readily assimilable by the public.
strength of pottery as a craft in Ireland which is now a strength in depth, and reveals a professionalism which must be a very secure base for the future of the craft and for the well-being of those involved and for newcomers hoping to survive.
The exhibition itself was successful, judging by the number of red dots, and while sales are no doubt not the main criteria, the fact that sales are made shows a public appreciation which is growing.
Such a yearly review of studio pottery is valuable indeed and, while in a twelvemonth period there may not be a discernible improvement in standards, led of course by the full-time professionals in whose interest, obviously, such an improvement is essential.
Not all members of the Society were showing; not all potters in Ireland were showing; the mixture was one of full-time professionals and part-timers. The professionals had obviously the surer touch. There were, however, few purely exhibition pieces in the gallery sense, and nothing dramatic.
As with all exhibitions, the tendency is for it to be patronised by the converted, and the fact that Carrolls headquarters is not in the city centre does not draw the broad mass of those who need conversion and who need to regard such an exhibition as a source not only of inspiration but of fine gifts.
Perhaps drama should not have been expected. The exhibition showed the
Attendance at the exhibition during the week was excellent and many enquiries were made about retail outlets where the products on display could be purchased.
1981 CRAFT POTTERS SOCIETY OF IRELAND EXHIBITION Featured at the second Craft Potters Society exhibition: left, pot by Peter Brennan, Dun Laoghaire centre, jug by Jane Forrester, Bandon right, stoppered flagon by Paddy Weston, Lusk far right, stoneware pot by Brian Keogh, Bray
Minister Opens Strokestown Centre The Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Mr Desmond O'Malley, officially opened the Strokestown Craft Centre on Monday 27 April. The Minister drew special attention to the tradition of crafts which had been so firmly established in Strokestown due to the work of Slieve Bawn Co-operative Handcraft Market, and the fact that the community was one which was prepared to set up and make things happen themselves. The combination of artistic involvement and community cooperation had, the Minister stated, given the bricks and mortar of the craft cluster the breath of life and he felt sure that those now working in the new workshops were fully aware of this fine tradition and would build on this spirit. The new Centre at Strokestown comprises of seven units of which six are already occupied. The Centre was specially designed for craft projects. The units face inwards around a rectangular courtyard, the whole concept being visually very effective as well as functionally so.
The six craft workshops are: Paul Doyle, Luthier Maker and restorer of Baroque and Renaissance stringed instruments for professional players, collectors and institutions where music and the history of music are studied. Mr Doyle also carries out commissions from folk music instrumentalists. Glebe Cerama Limited Jeremy and Pauline Tyndale-Biscoe are principals of this pottery which is the craft cluster's only overseas project. Between them they bring a vast experience in teaching, production and design, as well as the refinement and use of local clays. Kilteel Coppercraft John Cassin is the principal of this firm which specialises in wall plaques, units and displays in copper. The products are widely exported, especially to the United States, and have a distinctive design appeal which makes them suitable for homes, hotels, entrance halls and public places. Paschal Fitzpatrick, Glass Crafts Accommodation in the cluster gives opportunity to the first young artist craftsman in glass produced in Ireland. His education and training indicate a high market potential for products designed, blown and decorated by the one person. Later, trainees who have achieved high educational standards in glass work will join the Paschal Fitzpatrick Workshop. Strokestown Crafts A unit is reserved for Strokestown Crafts which will be the production branch of the existing Slieve Bawn Co-operative Society. The Co-operative is noted for the excellence of its work in the field of rural crafts. The strength of the local craft tradition and pioneering work of Slieve Bawn were a decisive influence on the IDA in the selection of Strokestown as the location for the first IDA purposebuilt craft cluster. Loughlea Woodcraft The principal of this specialist woodturning workshop is Martin Sweeney. He will execute woodtuming to his own design or to the design of others. Mr Sweeney produces decorative freestanding objects in a variety of native and foreign hard woods.
RDS National Crafts Competition 1981 SPECIAL £1,000 AWARD FOR 1981 COMPETITION To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Dublin Society in 1731, a special prize of £1,000 will be awarded for work of outstanding merit in the Society's 1981 Crafts Competition. The Competition, which is open to all craftworkers and designers in Ireland, irrespective of age, consists of twenty classes. The awards in each class are as follows: First prize - £ 1 0 0 Second prize — £50 Third prize — £25 Further special awards are the California Gold Medal, the Crafts Council of Ireland Medal, together with Royal Dublin Society Certificates. The Competition includes the following classes: Embroidery; Enamelling; Stained Glass; Lace; Ceramics; Rod and Rush Work; Glass; Leatherwork; Metal work; Gold, Silver and Copper Work; Fabric Printing; Woodwork; Weaving; Rug Making; Batik; Basketry; Jewellery; Macrame; Pottery; Tapestry; Straw Work; Musical Instruments. The closing date for receiving entries
is Friday 10 July 1981. All prize-winning works and other items of a good standard will be exhibited at the Royal Dublin Society's Arts and Crafts Stand in the Industries Hall during the forthcoming Dublin Horse Show (Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 August 1981 inclusive). Details and entry forms available from: The Arts Administrator Royal Dublin Society Ballsbridge Dublin 4 Telephone 680645, ext. 312.
ASSCQXCH ATTIKDM ®nadi © m u L © M S W ^ IRISH GUILD OF SPINNERS, DYERS AND WEAVERS At a meeting held on 12 May, the following honorary officers were elected: Joint Chairmen—Mary O'Rourke and Terry Dunne; Honorary SecretaryValerie Cullen; Honorary TreasurerTerry Reid; and Committee members, Muriel Beckett, Lillias Mitchell and Jenny Haughton who also acts as Arts Liaison Officer. Lillias Mitchell's retirement from the National College of Art and Design and an active role in the whole fieid was felt by her to be the time when the younger generation of weavers, spinners and dyers should play their part in ensuring the continuation of the Guild, with its valuable connections in the UK and USA. In the event, the younger members were not slow to respond and Lillias Mitchell herself is undoubtedly pleased to see the work she has developed now in good hands for the future. Lillias Mitchell's contribution to the craft of weaving and its associated skills goes back certainly to when she was asked to set up the Department of Spinning, Dyeing and Weaving in the National College of Art in the early fifties. Her dedication to the preservation of these traditional crafts and to the standards of good teaching has never waned, as so many of her students will bear witness. Her research into and knowledge of traditional spinning and dyeing has been translated in part into a readable and valuable guide, the book: Irish Spinning, Dyeing and Weaving and it is to be hoped that in her retirement from the NCAD she will set down, for the younger generations to come, a lot more of her own knowledge and so continue what she has so ably demonstrated in her teaching work.
NEWRY CRAFT WORKSHOPS Newry and Mourne Co-op opened their new unit on 18 May. This is the Newry craft workshop. It is owned by the co operative and comprises three craft workshops, each run by a craftsman and employing in all fifteen young people. The workshops produce pottery, jewellery and leatherwork. The venture is funded partly by the Northern Ireland Department of Manpower and partly by the European Social Fund.
KILWORTH The Kilworth Craft Training Workshops came into operation on 4 May when the first four participating young craftsmen (see March/April Newsletter) commenced work in their respective studio space. They are all living locally in the village and have been made very welcome by the Kilworth Community Council which owns the Old Market House building in which the Crafts Council has set up the Workshops. Already they have become part of the life of this small village which has quickly made them feel at home. The Workshops will be formally opened at a suitable date.
Training Manager Miss Lynne Glasscoe formally took up the special contract position of Supervisor-Training Manager at the Kilworth Craft Training Workshops on 18 May. Living close by in Fermoy, Miss Glasscoe has a background in administration with strong overtones of marketing and promotion. She has operated her own public relations company and will be able to be of considerable help to the young crafts men participating in the Workshops. Their task, in their nine month stay, will be to build up a track record of production and sales which will enable them to qualify more readily for workshop and equipment grant aid when they finish. AnCO, which is cooperating with the Crafts Council in this unique venture, is providing training allowances and a number of formal training programmes in such subjects as overall finance, book keeping, and stock control. The Crafts Council will be organising training programmes in specialist areas by visiting craftsmen.
MEATH CRAFTS SCHOOL COMPETITION Meath Craftworkers Association has organised a craft competition for school children, the first competition of its kind in the county. Members, to ensure a good entry, volunteered to visit all the schools in the county to make them aware of the competition and to ensure a wide entry. They see that only through participation and competition will the standard of crafts in the schools begin to improve.
GLEBE CERAMA LIMITED Cerama, the ceramics workshop run by Pauline and Jeremy Tyndale-Biscoe at the Strokestown Craft Centre, is planning a week's residential course in pottery during August/September, to give those with some experience an opportunity to concentrate on whatever aspect interests them most. Demonstrations will include throwing, various methods of hand building and decoration, as well as lips, handles and spouts. A raku firing is also planned. A week's residential course for experienced potters is planned for September. The main subjects to be covered are kiln building, waste oil firing and raw glazing, as well as throwing square, rectangular, hexagonal, oval and large pots. As numbers are to be limited to six, those interested should send now for details, enclosing stamped addressed envelope, to Pauline and Jeremy Tyndale-Biscoe The Craft Centre Strokestown, Co Roscommon.
IDA AND UDARAS AID CRAFTSMEN TO EUROPE Both IDA and Udaras na Gaeltachta have grant aided craftsmen to attend work shops being organised by the World Crafts Council's European Regional Board in Denmark, as part of the WCC European Conference. Craftsmen are attending these workshops under the grant schemes available for upgrading skills. The IDA granted craftsmen are Brian Clarke, silversmith; and Niall Harper, Peter Wolstenholme, Helena and Peter Brennan, potters, all attending various workshops in their own disciplines. Marie and Dermot Toland, craftsmen from the Donegal Gaeltacht, are being grant aided by Udaras.
REPORTS Reports of the opening of Ballycasey Courtyard Workshops and the Galway Craftworkers Exhibition will be carried in the next issue of the Newsletter.