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Christmas 1981

NEWSLETTER

RAFl H LTD. Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 Telephone 01 680764

Official Opening - Kilworth Craft Training Workshops The Kilworth Craft Training Workshops were officially opened on 4 November by Senator Sean O'Leary. The Minister of State for Industry and Energy, Mr Edward Collins TD, because of urgent Dail business, could not be present. The opening was sufficiently formal to underline its importance and significance as a unique project, and yet retained an air of informality to show the degree to which the workshops had, in their short existence, already become part of the life of the little town of Kilworth and a tribute to the way that both the townspeople and participants in the workshops have integrated. It was remarked at the opening that it was a "happy occasion" and in the simplest terms this summed up the opening. The Kilworth County Council members were finally to see the excellently restored 18th Century Market House, which they had bought, open to a new phase of life. Their awareness that, insofar as Kilworth is concerned, this is

only the beginning, is clear as its the day ahead when their town will be of cultural importance beyond its size and this will reach out, indeed, beyond the county. Fr. Condon, the parish priest of Kilworth, performed the Blessing Ceremony, after which the Training Supervisor, Miss Lynne Glasscoe, made a presentation to the Senator of a ceramic, weaving and silver composite piece, a work of three of the participating trainees, Rosemary Gray, Rose McGonagle and Terry Dunne. The fourth trainee, Iza Corcoran, had made miniature ceramic pots for each guest to take with them.

Above left. Senator Sean O'Leary cutting the tape to mark the official opening of the Kilworth Craft Training Workshops. Beside him stands Lynne Glasscoe, Training Manager. Right, pictured at the opening, from l-r, Elizabeth Corcoran, Rosemary Gray, Terry Dunne and Rose Marie McGonagle.

Senator O'Leary, in his speech said: "I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to open the Kilworth Craft Training Workshop today, which is the first such centre and indeed a pioneering step in equipping craft graduates for the business world.

work of State bodies, such as the IDA, SFADCo, and the local authorities, has been very significant in the development of the craft industry. These organisations have provided much needed, well-equipped craft workshops where craftspeople can practise their crafts in the most suitable surroundings. Craft clusters have been provided at Marlay Park, Co Dublin, Strokestown, Co Roscommon. Roundstone, Co Galway and Ballycasey, Co Clare. Other such centres are planned over the next few years.

"The handcraft industry underwent a significant change in the 1970s. It now employs 2,500 people and the annual turnover is in the order of ÂŁ20m. The

"In this age of mass production and the micro chip, it is well to remember that industry began with the craft worker. Craft work can provide a means of


expression tor the strong characteristic of individualism in the Irish people. This may explain the international success of many of our craft based industries. It also suggests that small industries based on individual skill and enterprise must continue to play an important part in our industrial development strategy. "However, the infrastructure for craft production is only a part of what is needed if we are to maintain the momentum of this development and to improve the overall status of the craft industry. In this context, two vital areas cannot be overlooked—the first is cultivating an interest and awareness of Irish crafts in the home and export markets, and secondly, the provision of business training for craftworkers. "On this second point, I am sure you will agree that the Crafts Council of Ireland, AnCO and the local Community Council deserve great credit for initiating this Ki I worth project, where craft graduates have the opportunity to develop their business skills to a stage where they can seek, with confidence, workshops and equipment and generally organise their operation in a true business-like manner. While having the opportunity to practise their craft, the selected trainees will receive the essential training in marketing, invoicing, bookkeeping, PAYE, VAT and other related areas during the nine months course. "Ireland's craft industry is still at a relatively early stage of development. The craft clusters which I mentioned earlier have been provided only in the last few years. There is, I feel, some way to go before we develop the craft sector to its full potential. The tourist trade will provide the medium-term outlet for our crafts. However, in the long-term, the home markets and export markets must be fully exploited. To this end, the total business-like organisation of the craft industry and the development of entrepreneurial skills of our crafts people are vital. "In establishing this training centre at Kilworth, the Crafts Council is acknowledging that good craftmanship in itself is not sufficient for a successful craft enterprise and that business competence must go hand in hand with craftmanship. "Finally, I would like to congratulate the selected trainees and again all concerned with the Kilworth project, and I would hope that this is the first of other such ventures."

The Senator was thanked on behalf of the Crafts Council by the Chairman, Miss Blanaid Reddin, who said:" Kilworth Craft Training Workshops arose out of a recognition by the Crafts Council of Ireland that craftworkers did not have the relevant business acumen to bridge the gap between their expertise as craftworkers and their need to earn a living in the real world. They found themselves in a vacuum and this frequently led to frustration and disillusionment. As a result, the Crafts Council decided that this vacuum needed to be filled to assist the craftworkers in gaining access to this other world wherein until now many craftworkers have simply not been at home. Make no mistake, it is essential nowadays for craftworkers to be able to operate with facility in a commercial environment and that is what Kilworth is all about. The workshops give young craftsmen a chance to work in a real life situation. "The young craftsmen who are here for nine months are those who wish to make a full-time career from their skills, to develop workshops, hopefully to employ others or to work in studios with other craftsmen. The sort of person who succeeds in Kilworth is that person State agencies, such as the IDA, SFADCo, Udaras and other agencies will want to

back. They can produce what the market place requires. "Our thanks are due to Michael Dunne and the Kilworth Community Council who had the courage and farsightedness to restore this fine 18th century building and saw in it the perfect setting for working craftsmen. All credit is due to the community for being so patient and tolerant while waiting for the culmination of the project. It is a tribute to the community that the craftworkers were accepted and made to feel so welcome from the moment of their arrival. In such an ideal environment and location and with so much co-operation, assistance and goodwill, it must encourage the making of high quality crafts. "Appreciation should also be extended to the various agencies who, through their spirit and co-operation, have brought this project to fruition. In particular, I should like to draw attention to the IDA and AnCO, without whose involvement this project could not have got off the ground. "As you are aware, the restoration of this beautiful building was an AnCO project. Their representatives worked very closely with our committees in devising the training programmes, and in the selection of suitable candidates and, most


important, they agreed to fund the programme for an initial period. Grateful thanks must also be extended to the IDA for ensuring that the Crafts Council had sufficient funds to carry out this important project. To everyone too numerous to mention both inside the Crafts Council and outside it, our gratitude is due."

New Entrants Wanted Kilworth Craft Training Workshops is a unique venture by the Crafts Council of Ireland which enables young craftsmen of talent who have completed their formal studies, to develop their entrepreneurial skills to a stage when they can confidently seek workshop, equipment and other grants towards setting up in business. AnCO is co-operating with the Crafts Council in providing training allowances and an extensive training programme during the nine month training period. The subjects covered include accounts, costing, production methods, marketing, business organisation and other aspects of commerce. In addition to this, specialist craft training is provided by visiting master craftsmen. Each of the participants sets his or her own production and sales programme, which are monitored on a regular basis by the Training Manager. Criteria for acceptance will be strict and limiting. They will include talent in craft and entrepreneurial skills and a commit­ ment to setting up in business. Acceptance will only be after a searching and in-depth interview. Trained craftsmen interested in participating in the scheme should apply to: Crafts Council of Ireland Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Telephone 680764/603070 as entrants are now being sought for entry to the Workshops early next year.

Facing page, pictured talking with weaver Terry Dunne at the opening of the Kilworth Craft Training Workshops are l-r, Sean Dunne, Chairman, Kilworth Community Council, Blanaid Reddin, Chairman, Crafts Council, and Senator Sean O'Leary.

New Style Conference The 1981 Annual Conference of the Crafts Council of Ireland—the f o u r t h was a new style conference arising out of both an over-formality and the rising costs of the existing formula. The Conference, which was largely developed and masterminded by a small group of Kilkenny craftsmen, concentrated on makers: three overseas craftsmen whose reputation as the programme suggested "transcends national boundaries," and four leading Kilkenny craftsmen. A dozen craftsmen living within a few miles of the city held open studios for the weekend, so that at one time or another all tne delegates would have an opportunity to visit them.

In addition, an exhibition of the work of twenty-five Irish craftsmen, organised by Rudolf Heltzel, Nicky Mosse and Gerald Tyler, was opened at the Modern Gallery, Kilkenny Castle, to coincide with the Conference and subsequently to travel in Ireland and Scandinavia. Works by the young craftsmen at the Kilworth Craft Training Workshops were exhibited at Butler House. The Conference, new style, was generally accepted as being very successful and the formula contained the right balance of ingredients.

PETER HASSENPFLUG - JEWELLER Peter Hassenpflug, the eminent jeweller from Dusseldorf, shortly opening the Orfevre Gallery in that city which we would claim as the foremost jewellery gallery in Germany, showed a great number of slides which were not only of his own work and that of his wife, Maria, but also of the environment in which they live and work, the city, their house. A number of things came very clearly from Peter Hassenpflug's lecture: the fact that, for instance, many of his works were cast, using the lost wax technique. The models were made in wax, whether rings or bracelets, or the components making them up. Another fact which clearly showed was his obvious liking for the contrast achieved in highly polishing some elements and leaving others almost matt, and a special feeling for leaves and butterflies as starting points in the design process. Above all, it seemed to this reviewer that Peter Hassenpflug has a particular regard for anatomy—for how a piece of jewellery be it a ring, arm bracelet or other, should relate and indeed almost become part of the body, following the contours His jewellery was more often not mere simple bands of gold with pearls and stones, but quite complicated assemblages; and it was therefore essential that they should not only fit the finger but be in the right direction, relate to the hand and even the forearm.

Eighteen carat gold and black silver were the most common predominent metals in his repertoire. Of course, unlike here and in England, he was able also to mix his metals. In the later years he began to work in jewellery that could be varied—simple shapes, often cast in series, which could be put together in 50 or more permutations. As his slides and his commentary showed, his most recent concentration has been with what can be done with rings and simple lengths of gold or black silver which had seemingly endless variations as body jewellery—pure personal adornment and very much at the whim and command of the owner. Yet these were really no more than two or three rings, a few centimetres in diameter, with some metres of chain, but linked in a way that the variations were almost endless. As he said very firmly, he believed that the simplest way is, in the end, the best way. Peter Hassenpflug trained in the Graphic Department of Hildesheim College of Art, the Metal Departments of Kiefold and Dusseldorf Colleges of Art. His work has been exhibited in New German Jewellery Art, European Handwrought Silver and the World Exhibition in Montreal.


JETTE NEVERS - WEAVER Jette Nevers, textile weaver and designer, trained at the School of Art and Crafts in Copenhagen. She has taken part in many exhibitions, won foundation, endowment and competition prizes and has work hanging in the Museum of Decorative Art in Copenhagen. She lives in the county of Otterup in Denmark, on the Island of Funen where, as she said, it would be impossible for a weaver to make a living—this must be done in Copenhagen where the population is. Her many slides were informative, not only about her products but about her environment—where she lives, the variations between the seasons, her family, her students.

She was at pains to point out that she was both in production and a one-off producer, in fact her initial product was shirts and this she continues to do. Interestingly enough, the students she takes are not only local but also taken at a pre-art school period which somewhat differs from the situation here. All her students she insists must know vegetable dying and spinning. Not that she believes that they will ever earn a living from it but it is an essential part of their education as weavers. Jette Nevers is especially fascinated by old techniques—not merely for the techniques themselves but for the potential they sometimes have to lead to modernisation and thus discovery. On the other hand, she claims that she has perfected an electric spinning wheel, particularly for the production of thick yarns, a raw material with which she likes to work. Delegates were interested in the demon­ stration of the simple but effective system which she has worked out for commission customers and committees to show how the finished design she has worked out can be visualised. Two points which she made were of interest to Irish weavers, who do not always manage to find the sales of weaving easy—one was that the Danish banks were especially receptive to wall hangings and craft decoration generally, and the other, that the educational authorities in Denmark provide quite a lot of money for tapestries and like wallhangings for schools so that the children may grow up in the aura of beautiful things.

Kilkenny Conference In a final point which stood out from among the many very interesting insights she gave to Irish craftsmen in general, and weavers in particular, she commented that a great number of Danish and other weavers sold work at the many exhibitions taking place throughout the Continent, particularly countries such as Germany and Switzerland—but that she had never seen Irish work on exhibition and wondered whether this was because we in Ireland were not, as it were, on the circuit and were not being regularly informed of such exhibitions. As with all the speakers, Jette Nevers was quite free with her comments about her own techniques, method of work, and there were no secrets. A final interesting eye-opener was the fact that photographs of her major works were made into post­ cards, thus adding a further dimension to their earning capacity and, of course, to knowledge of the existence of Jette Nevers as a major weaver.

Design Awards Announced Awards of up to £3000 each to help young designers and craftsmen to extend their horizons were announced recently by Kilkenny Design Workshops. Three types of award may be made: study awards for college fees and subsistence abroad of up to £3000; work experience awards for travel and subsistence of up to £2250; travel awards of up to £800 to permit visits to exhibitions, design studios and factories abroad. The Designer Development Awards 1982 will be made to students and others up to the age of 28 on the results of a competition in which they will have to answer a specified brief in either industrial design, textiles, fashion, graphics or craft products. Candidates have until mid-March to work on their projects. They will be judged by a team of independent designers chaired by Alan Pleass, a past President of the Society of Designers in Ireland, who will subsequently interview short-listed entrants to select those whose ambitions can best be served by going abroad for further training or experience. In 1981 designers were funded to study in Sweden, Scotland, France and England; to gain work experience in the USA; and to travel in Europe and the USA.

COLIN PEARSON - POTTER Colin Pearson, Goldsmith's College educated and 1975 Faenza Premier Prizewinner, would claim to belong to the school of Ray Finch, David Leach, Cardew—that of aiming at low priced functional pieces, domestic and often religious pieces as well. He would also claim to have found in his career the value of one or two assistants. He was in effect a stoneware man and one who liked to show the solid making of his work, the Japanese influence of allowing use of the hands and the tools to show in the texture. Camberwell and teaching was to him a watershed in his career—mainly because in Camberwell there was a concentration on porcelain. Colin Pearson was and is a thrower, all his work begins with throwing, but porcelain enabled a new dimension to be added—and a move away from the domestic products. He could say that he feels no longer in agreement with his original philosophy. In the early 70s however, he could see more clearly that there was no living to be made by the individual potter unless one had a teaching post or was making, from which he had now departed, domestic ware. His experiments with porcelain, especially the development of his own distinctive style, and his inclusion in exhibitions, especially on the Continent, brought him into contact with the German collector's market—this was another important watershed. Gradually, he began doing more scuptural collector's pieces. In the last three years he has gone over to entirely individual pieces, has reduced his work­ shop area and has no more assistants. He would now see his position as an artist/craftsman in the fullest sense of the term. Colin Pearson's lecture was backed by a fine selection of slides of his work.


KEITH LEADBETTER-JERPOINT GLASS In an interesting lecture, of particular value and encouragement to young students, glassblower Keith Leadbetter was refreshingly open by initially stating that so far as his talk was concerned there were no secrets at Jerpoint. Two vital aspects leading to the final development of Jerpoint Glass were that the lecturer at the time of approaching the I DA had no capital, nor job, and was in effect a glass technician in that he had experience of blowing laboratory glass. His praise for the significant lack of bureaucracy towards craftsmen in the IDA was to some extent countered by the fact that their advice to him was to do what he did most knowledgeably: set up to blow laboratory glass; whereas his own desire was to blow hot glass (the same sort of technique on a different scale) that was not laboratory glass, but high quality, functional domestic glass. Naturally, as someone with a family but neither capital (except for a small house with outbuildings on 2 acres, bought cheaply and worth more than its purchase value), nor a job, restructuring a life against the measured judgement of the IDA advice took courage. This courage was greatly assisted by a meeting of minds between Keith Leadbetter and John Murphy of the National College of Art and Design, who was starting up the hot glass studio there. The development of that, as well as visiting as many glass studios as he could afford, whenever he could, showed that there were two distinct fraternities in glass—the one-off artist/craftsman and the commercial, hot glass blower. The latter was clearly his own choice. Two things they found of immense value in their grant application: (1) a good accountant, and (2) a letter from a top retailer, i.e. the economics are built around two teams. Neither Leadbetters are sales oriented, but they can produce good glass, economic and on time. Therefore, the essential is economical production. Keith Leadbetter would claim that design does not have a conscious part in his work in that he is a glass blower, not a designer of glass. His glass to an extent designs itself. The process imposes a discipline. The tools which have not changed for thousands of years impose a discipline also and allow a certain degree of individuality.

Wood Craftsman's Exhibition Martyn Orram, who was recipient last year of the first Mallinson woodcraftsman of the year award, had an exhibition in August at the Cork Craftsman's Guild Gallery. The exhibition of original furniture pieces was of necessity limited, both by space and by the fact that each piece is an individual one, mainly custom made to the customer's requirements. Almost without exception, Martyn Orram's work is in solid wood. He may use contrasting timbers in his work, such as lining cabinets with white sycamore. Native timbers are used by him as much as possible and the exhibition included pieces in walnut and oak, for instance. He has made inlay work a particular part of his individual achievement and in this case his woods are rarer and imported: Ebony, Rosewood, Andaman Padauk and Satinwood. Some of his small inlaid gift pieces may contain up to 1,000 individually cut pieces—many based on original Celtic motifs, but quite contemporary in character. He is essentially a commission craftsman, though the gift pieces such as rulers, hand mirrors and paper knives and such smaller items are more readily available. There is little doubt that in Martyn Orram the country has a master craftsman and a craftsman who truly understands his raw materials and their capabilities as well as his own ability to create from them works of originality and intricacy.

Inlaid paper knife and straight edges, by Martyn Orram.

Deputation to Minister Paddy Weston, Chairman, with Michael Jackson and Ita Corcoran, Committee Members, recently met the Minister of State for Finance, Mr Barry Desmond, TD. It was stressed to him the serious implications of raising the VAT level and the possibility was explored with the Minister of moving.the crafts into the present 15% band, should the 25% band be increased, thus avoiding the creation of yet another VAT band. The Minister argued that it would be difficult to differentiate between craft-produced goods and factory produced items, but he did agree that this problem would not be insurmountable, as it had already been done in New Zealand. By and large, the Minister was very well informed on the situation of crafts in Ireland, and seemed most receptive to all the points put to him. The meeting was followed up with a written submission. No more can be done by the Committee until the Minister decides whether or not he will raise the 25% level. All craft workers may be required to lobby their own TDs but information on this will be given in due course.


Potters Weekend Carrick-on-Shannon A very successful weekend was organised by the Craft Potters Society for their members in September. The workshops were based on Carrick-on-Shannon, the participants arriving on Friday evening, 4 September. Using the excellent facilities of the Bush Hotel and, incidentally, getting a warm welcome from proprietors, Rosalie and Tom Maher, the weekend was formally opened by Mr Paddy Weston, deputising for the President, Mr Ron Wynne, who was unavoidably absent. This was followed by a buffet supper. Mr Rob Wotherspoon of Fordham Thermal Systems Limited then gave a talk on the insulation materials produced by his company; this was most interesting and gave rise to a number of questions from members in regard to kiln insulation. Saturday, a lovely sunny day with temperatures in the low seventies, began with working demonstrations by Derek Emms, followed by John Pollex. These ceramic artists showed their work in an informal and relaxed atmosphere, the former producing some lovely bowls and a teapot which he decorated in his own inimitable style. John Pollex demon­ strated his very large platters decorated with slip trailing and proved, if proof were necessary, why he is a leader in this type of ware. With a break for a light lunch, the function room of the hotel was full up to 5.30 pm. A draw took place for the small bowls which each member brought with them, and Podmores also had a draw for glazes and slips. These creamic suppliers showed their ranges of materials available and answered questions from potters. Mr David Plant represented Podmores while there were also two representatives from Lennox Chemicals Limited, their Irish agents. All the arrangements locally were most

efficiently dealt with by members, Maria and Radley Searle who, incidentally, have recently opened a charming craft shop in Carrick-on-Shannon. The potters retired to their lovely old Rectory at Kilmore on Saturday evening for a barbeque. With the assistance of Michael and Steph Kennedy from Sligo, Pauline and Jeremy Tyndale-Biscoe from Strokestown, and members of the local Crafts Guild, a wonderful array of delicious food was produced, with local trout being barbequed in the courtyard. On a perfect evening, members were able to wander around the grounds and through the Searles's pottery. Sunday, again a marvellous day, was spent at the Old Rectory, a really great venue, and Judith Partridge from Inistioge gave a most interesting demon­ stration of her technique of painting on tin glazed ware to a most appreciative audience. A "Port-a-kiln," loaned by Podmores, and various Raju kilns were set up in the courtyard and the day was spent in experimental firings, which produced some interesting results. John Pollex gave a talk, supported by a slide show, in the afternoon and the potters set off for home all over Ireland. The attendance numbered around sixty, and a world of thanks is due to the Cork Potters who gave financial help and were represented by a strong contingent. The thanks of all the potters is due to Radley and Maria Searle, who worked so hard to make the gathering a success, and all the visitors welcome. The Craft Potters Society of Ireland hopes to make this an annual event, at a different venue each year, and would welcome suggestions. Joan Doran Craft Potters Society of Ireland

Powerscourt House The Powerscourt Townhouse Centre which was opened in November has its fair share of crafts.

The IDA has assisted in the establish­ ment of ten craft workshops in the new Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.

Cork Craftsmans Guild opened their new shop in the Centre in the previous week and right proudly they did it. The Lshaped space suited the products of the many craftsmen, not indeed all from Cork, and there was an air of spaciousness about it which enables the would-be customer to stand back and appreciate.

Five of the workshops have already been allocated, the craftsmen involved being: Jane Forrester (ceramics), Joan Doherty (weaver), Emma Stewart-Liberty (jeweller), Teresa Hackett (batik) and Sean O'Murchu (etchings).

FOR SALE 8 shaft countermaish loom made entirely of teak. 64" wide. Two back beams. Two beatens, one with single box flying shuttle Forward motion. Accessories: shuttles, reeds, steel and string heddles, etc. Contact: A Fewer, Castlejane, Glanmore County Cork. Telephone 021 821689

Cahill Crafts Teak Loom, 4 8 " weaving width, fly-shuttle and 3-bos attachment, 4 shafts, seat. Never used: £1,000. Contact: Eva, 2 Royal Terrace West, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Telephone 806540.

One complete link 66, industrial machine, in perfect condition, and one dubied Aran knitting machine. Contact: Mournecraft Limited, Dundalk Road, Crossmaglen, Co Down Telephone Crossmaglen 771 Ext 4

FOR RENT Pottery kiln — new — 4.2 cubic feet. Electric, complete with furniture and pyrometer. Contact: telephone Dublin 884998

SITUATIONS VACANT There are vacancies for several craft­ workers to work on a permanent basis in a country estate in Co Mayo. Equipment will be provided together with salary and commission. For application forms contact: Eddie Hoban, National Manpower Service, Marsh House, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Telephone 094 22011

The Chairman would like to take this opportunity of wishing to all readers a Happy Christmas and to all, but to craftworkers in particular, a Happy and prosperous New Year

CCI-newsletter-1981-34-Christmas  

work of State bodies, such as the IDA, SFADCo, and the local authorities, has been very significant in the development of the craft industry...

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