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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1986

Crafts Council of Ireland Thomas Prior House Merrion Road Dublin 4

Telephone 680764 / 603070

GREAT CRAFTS FAIR At the opening of the Great Crafts Fair, the Minister of State in the Department of Industry and Commerce, Mr Eddie Collins TD, spoke of the upsurge of interest in crafts and the improvement of craft work in recent years. "As with all previous Crafts Council Fairs, the rigorous system of selection is retained and I have praised this system previously for raising the quality level of products on sale." The Minister went on to say that "the selection process has thrown up one interesting though disturbing fact — that is, that while many of the products offered for selection to both the trade and retail fairs have shown a marked improvement in regard to the provision of better labelling and of improved promotional material, the products in some instances have been so mediocre or unoriginal or lacking in any design quality as to make market success impossible. The combined efforts of craft workers and State agencies are needed if we are to overcome this deficiency in product design and development."

Mr William D Fin Iay, Chairman/Crafts Council of Ire/and, introducing the Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce, Mr Eddie Col/ins TD, who opened the Great Crafts Fair on 18 September. (Photo Frank Fennell)

The Minister also spoke of the benefits to craftsmen through direct sales to the public: "There may be some who will be critical of craftsmen who sell not only to the trade but also to the general public. However, it should be realised that this Fair is a promotional exercise for crafts as much as a selling one." On the economic importance of the crafts sector, Mr Collins said: "While the craft sector in Ireland is relatively small it has an important contribution to make to employment and to the economy generally. Not only does it employ 2,500 people full-time but many continued in next page


projects now operating w i t h i n the IDA's and SFADCO's Small Industries Programmes were originally small craft operations." "While Ireland is continuing to compete for its share of mobile foreign investment w e can no longer be guaranteed the same level of inward investment as w e attracted heretofore due primarily to a worldwide decline in the available pool of such investment. In these circumstances it is imperative that we concentrate much more fully on the development of indigenous small industry of which the craft sector is an integral part." The Minister also paid tribute to Frank Sutton w h o retired from his post as Chief Executive of the Council in September. "Frank has been w i t h the Council for the past ten years and in that time his dedication and commitment to the work of the Council and to the advancement of the craft sector generally has been enormous. Without his tireless efforts in encouraging and promoting the aims of the Council to the highest level the industry would be considerably worse off than it is. I would like to thank Frank for the effort he has put into moulding the Council into the professional organisation it now is."

A VISITOR'S IMPRESSIONS Having just returned from Scotland where I saw a similar, though smaller, event staged during the Edinburgh International Festival, I attended the opening of the Third Great Crafts Fair at the RDS on 18 September 1986. I was struck immediately on entering the Main Hall by the much reduced scale of the event this year as compared w i t h Great Crafts Fair II. This is not necessarily a negative feature, as it may represent an attempt by the Crafts Council to be more stringent in their selection. Indeed, even in its reduced state this show was larger than most I have seen. However, some very well-known craftworkers from the established, quality end of the market were not to be found. Perhaps they are doing so well that they chose not to participate, but on reflecting on comments voiced during and after last year's Fair when sales were down, I am inclined to think that many felt the risk of a similar loss was too much to bear. They simply did not think it profitable.

On opening day a mere trickle of people filtered through the Main Hall, and w h e n I returned for a second visit on Saturday, although there certainly was more bustle, it was by no means as busy as I would have expected at the weekend. There could have been any number of reasons for this, the smaller size or the admission fee of £2.50. Perhaps a location closer to the city centre would catch more of the passing trade. There are probably many very good arguments in favour of the status quo, but I nevertheless feel that some changes will have to be considered if this interesting and potentially valuable shop w i n d o w for Irish crafts is to survive, grow and thrive. It may be some consolation to exhibitors to hear that the same problems of sales and attendance prevailed in Edinburgh this summer. In fact, comparison to the Edinburgh Fair may not help in these matters, as that fair was located closer to the town centre, had an entrance fee of just 50p and was sponsored by a local newspaper, a free copy of w h i c h was given to each visitor.

intrigued to see John Butler's development into wood sculpture. I recognise that these two individuals are, like most of the Kilworth exhibitors, the product of the various art colleges and RTCs in Ireland who have been provided w i t h equipment, advice and, most importantly, time to experiment — a commodity in short supply for small businesses but an essential for the development of the styles, ideas and expertise that will make Irish crafts ever more imaginative, polished and competitive. Several small stands provided demonstrations — one complete w i t h jeweller's bench attracted attention, another featured stone sign carving, another candlemaking, and at Patricia Casey's stand one could not only watch, but have a shot at throwing a pot! This is definitely something to be encouraged as demonstrations without a doubt draw a crowd. There were several noteworthy stands, though also one or two best forgotten, but all in all I enjoyed my visits and hope to see greater things from the show next year. Neil Reed, Dip.Ed., F.S.A. (Scot.), lectures in Ceramics in Department of Craft Design (Faculty of Design) at the National College of Art and Design.

My main areas of experience are ceramics and stained glass and much of the work I saw fell outside my specialist interests, but generally I felt the level of craftsmanship to be sound and good. Several of the very best ceramicists were not present and I can only assume that the same was the case w i t h other disciplines. This may account for the lack of sparkle that would really have made the event stand out. However, this was not altogether missing. Certainly, some of this elusive sparkle was to be found at the Kilworth stand, just at the front of the hall where it made a good introduction to the Fair as a whole. Here were some of the newest names in their respective fields and not only was their work of notable quality, it was well displayed, presenting a fresh and professional image that many others lacked. Nowadays, it is not merely enough to produce a work — it requires increasingly to be backed up by good presentation and display. This is especially important w h e n competing w i t h small businesses and designers/craftsmen from overseas.

Selection is of course on the basis of quality and contribution to the overall content of the show. The space is limited and w i t h selection there could be problems in getting a stand so the name of the game is to hurry.

Linda Foale's ceramic reptiles, despite slight damage to one tail, caught my eye initially, and I was

Entries to: Siobhan Cuffe, 53 Pembroke Lane, Dublin 4. Tel. 688997

THE M A N S I O N H O U S E FAIR Late entries will be considered, a spokesperson for the Christmas Art, Craft & Design Fair advises the Newsletter. For those not really aware of the dates this year, the Fair will run from Sunday, 7 December to Sunday 14 December inclusive. The closing date officially was to be 19 September, too late for the publication of this Newsletter. Craftsmen not already accepted or w h o may have missed the date should hurry if they hope to be in.


An equally impressive achievement has been the National Crafts Trade Fair which, when launched in 1977, produced sales of £50,000.00 and in its tenth year total sales of £7.75 million, of which 52% were for export. But there are a host of other activities for which he will be gratefully remembered by his colleagues on the Council and by craft workers throughout Ireland. I think, particularly, of the commissioning of the AnCO Report on Crafts in Ireland and Frank's own Five-Year Plan "A Strategy for the Crafts Sector 1985-1990."

COUNCIL'S EXECUTIVE OFFICER RETIRES Frank Sutton, who for ten years held the post of Executive Officer at the Crafts Council of Ireland, retired on 12 September 1986. Frank has contributed articles and photographs to and edited the "Newsletter" since first issue, and these talents and many others will be missed. At a small gathering held to mark his retirement, Frank was presented with Alison Erridge's "First Morning" by William D Finlay, Chairman of the Council, on behalf of the Management Committe.

FRANK SUTTON Frank Sutton's retirement as Executive Officer of the Crafts Council of Ireland follows ten years of remarkable service to the crafts industry. His knowledge of craft workers, their strengths and their problems, and his enthusiasm and energy for their work, gave to his term of office unique qualities. These qualities have been essential to the development of crafts and particularly to the continuous raising of standards in design and execution. They also made a key contribution to increasing craft workers' awareness of the need for marketing skills in the battle for survival. Probably the initiative with which he would like to see his name most closely linked is the establishment and growth of Kilworth. And rightly so, as anyone who had the opportunity to view the Kilworth special exhibition in last month's Great Crafts Fair will readily agree.

These reports have been crucial in increasing public understanding of the value of crafts as an industry, and of the need for support for that industry in the public interest. I think also of his foresight in proposing the restructuring and strengthening of the Council itself and of the tireless way in which he has fought for the interests of craft workers when policy decisions, financial or otherwise, had to be taken. It has been stimulating to work with Frank and good fun into the bargain. William D Finlay I write to mark the retirement of Frank Sutton as Executive Officer of the Crafts Council of Ireland. I think I am an appropriate person to do this as Frank and I have disagreed with varying degrees of passion over the last ten years and found that we were both, I think, mistaken. We were not both right. But where I have disagreed with Frank it has been on questions of direction and not of caring. No one has cared so much about the crafts as Frank during his term as Executive Officer and I would like to think that no one has had as much pleasure and excitement from them either. It would be proper to list his achievements and the areas in which it has helped the Council to make progress, to commend his tenacity and to bemoan the pitiful Council budget which has restricted him and us. But the joy and delight he found in the best of our work are the factors by which we will remember him most clearly, and in expressing those, as he always so generously did, he taught us to feel and express such reactions too. He has not only served us well — (and on

occasions better than we deserved) — and given us time as a body to grow and mature, to sharpen our arguments and improve our reasoning (sometimes through fighting him!) — he has helped us to gain greater pleasure from the work of our fellows and to express this with pride and enthusiasm. It is a finer achievement than an increase in our paltry budget and I thank him from us all. Alison Erridge

CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS The Ulster Museum exhibition of Contemporary Ceramics at the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny Castle, was formally opened during Arts Week by Frank Sutton, Executive Officer of the Crafts Council of Ireland. This drew attention to the importance of having a collection of contemporary craftwork in a museum as a living reference point and one which should be added to fearlessly by an enlightened attitude to funding and giving curators both the money and the courage to build collections which works are still available. Mr Sutton referred to the necessity for a craft gallery in the capital city or even elsewhere, where regular exhibitions of crafts could be held, where craft sources of excellence could be identified and above all which could develop an informed criticism of crafts in the media which, by creating some hierarchy of values, would be an encouragement to collectors and an improvement in the sort of prices craftsmen now get for their work which is way below that of other countries for similar work. The exhibition is a solid one, poorly displayed (which is not the fault of the gallery but of the over elaborate weighty five cases which are not easily moved about). Mike Robinson, the Curator, whose courage and conviction has made this collection is to be congratulated for his choices which include among the international company of the likes of Alison Briton, the Stougards of Denmark, Takashi Yasuda of Japan, Mary Rodgers, our own (Kilworth) Maxine Mearns, the Dohertys, Cormac Boydell, Mark Foley, Sarah Ryan, all also incidentally in the Crafts Councils' own collection. continued in next page


To quote from the catalogue, "This exhibition does not attempt to chart all the developments in ceramics over a period, it merely illustrates some of the directions being taken. The pot as a functional, but beautifully crafted object capable of being a piece of sculpture in its own right is still an important concern of the studio potter and Oriental inspiration, no longer an obligation, has been successfully absorbed into many of their working styls. The hollow vessel still provides the basis for much experimental work by young ceramicists who now look beyond its long history to other sources. Others begin as sculptors and their work, whether figurative or otherwise, is linked with pottery only by use of common materials and technology." The exhibition moves to Waterford and Cork.

This page, above: earthenware teapot by Angus Suttie; below: stoneware bowl with lugs by Colin Pearson. Facing page, above: tin-glazed bowl with lustre decoration by Alan Caiger-Smith; below: Philadelphia ash glaze stoneware by Eric James Mellon. Photos: Ulster Museum


JEWELLERS & METALWORKERS GUILD A seminar, for Guild members only, will be held on 24, 25 and 26 October 1986, in the Workshops of Grennan Mills, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny and at the Newpark Hotel. Guest lecturers will be of great interest to craftsmen in these disciplines: Anne Marie Shillito will be remembered for her brilliant leadership of the refractory metal workshop during the European Crafts Conference in Dublin 1983. Bill Walker senior lecturer at Loughsborough Polytechnic who will give Workshops on enamelling, stonegetting and contemporary design, organised that never-to-beforgotten exhibition of jewellery and metalwork at Kilkenny 1983. The third lecturer will be Paul Dervez, a Netherlands gallery owner who will talk about contemporary US jewellery. Registration at the Newpark will be at 9.00 pm on the Friday, Workshops will be on both Saturday and Sunday. Membership of the guild will cost f 10.00. Other cost details are as follows: A. Friday and Saturday night Bed & Breakfast, Evening Meal Saturday Night Only plus all Workshops and Lectures. Hotel accommodation is for shared twin rooms . . . . £68.50 B. Workshops, Lectures and Saturday Meal — No Accommodation £38.50

C. Special Rates for Students and Apprentices include Saturday Evening Meal, all Workshops and Lectures but no accommodation £30.00 NOTE: On Friday evening the Grill and Restaurants in the Newpark will be open for evening meals. Pub lunches will be available in Thomastown on Saturday and Sunday at your own cost. For those interested, please send a deposit of £25.00 plus £10.00 membership fee and indication of what rate you require — 21 September is the closing date. Balance of money is due on 10 October. All to Linda Uhlemann, 1 Ealon Place, Monkstown, Co. Dublin. Tel: 01-803752. 5


IRISH CRAFTSMEN IN JAPAN The work of seven Irish craftsmen and women was chosen by a jury in Paris to be exhibited along with work from the eleven other member states of the EEC in Tokyo. In all, some seven hundred pieces from a total of one hundred and twenty three top European craftworkers will be shown in the major exhibition "European Crafts Today" organised by the Japan Crafts Design Association whose 30th anniversary exhibition takes place at the same time. The aims of the exhibition are to bring a global perspective to craftwork; to promote an insight into contemporary trends — to demonstrate the effect of crafts on our living environment; and to open up a new line of foreign imports to Japan. The exhibition ran from 5-10 September in the Ginza Matsuya Department Store in Tokyo and from 9-14 October in the Hanshin Department Store in Osaka. The Irish craftworkers are ceramicists Marie Foley (Cork), Vivienne Foley (Clare) and Michael Jackson (Bennettsbridge). Two jewellers were chosen, Inga Reed of Bandon and Kilkenny's Rudolf Heltzel, now in Hillsborough. The remaining two are Alison Erridge, and Clare applique artist, and master wood-turner, Liam O'Neill, also from Clare. Delegates to the international Crafts seminar among representatives from all twelve EEC countries and the Japan Crafts Design Association were Alison Erridge and Michael Jackson. The Newsletter will print exclusive articles from the delegates in a future issue.

CRAFTSMEN — MANUFACTURERS OF IRELAND 1987 The up-date of information for this publication is now being carried out by the Crafts Council of Ireland. Craftworkers not represented in the 1986 edition should send details — name, address, telephone number, company name and headings of crafts made to the Crafts Council immediately. Craftworkers who have changed address or telephone number should also advise.

The interior of the prestige shop in Copenhagan's exclusive street, Amagertorv, owned by a group of Danish craftsmen. Works range in price from £5.00 to £5,000.00 and from glass to pottery, woven, wooden and jewellery items.

COMPANY OF GOLDSMITHS DESIGN PRIZE The Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin will celebrate the 350th anniversary of its founding in 1987. The Company is awarding a prize of £500.00 for an original and exciting design which would then be used to create a piece of silver holloware valued at £1,500.00. The design envisaged would be for something that would stand on a board room table or display stand and need not necessarily be functional. The competition is open to anyone with a craft or design background. Competitors are asked to prepare a finished working drawing. Further details may be had by applicants from the Hon. Secretary, Douglas Bennett, Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin, Goldsmiths Hall, Assay Office, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2. Closing date: 3 November 1986.

STITCHERY '87 The Pittsburg Centre for the Arts sends details of this international exhibition organised by Fiberarts Guild (formerly Embroiderers Guild) of Pittsburg. The Exhibition will run from 23 May to 14 June 1987 at the Centre for the Arts. 19 February 1987 is the deadline for entry forms, slides, samples and fees. 5 March is Jury day and accepted work will have to be at the Centre by 28 April. The competition is open to adults of 1 8 years old and older. All work must be original, designed and executed by the artist(s). Work must include the embellishment of a surface or an area by the manipulation of fibre with a needle. All work must have been completed within the past two years, not done under instruction, and not previously exhibited at the Pittzburg Centre for the Arts. Entries by groups are acceptable. Such entries must include the names of the parties involved. All accepted entries must be completely ready for display or hanging. Awards are $1,000.00 for best of show, and two cash awards of $500.00 and $200.00 respectively. A photocopied entry form is available on request from Crafts Council of Ireland


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RDS CRAFTS COMPETITION & EXHIBITION The 1986 Crafts Competition and Exhibition, sponsored by the Educational Building Society, were both highly successful. 497 items were entered in the Competition, an increase on 50 on last year's figures and approximately £4,000.00 worth of entries were sold at the Exhibition during Horse Show Week — the highest sales ever recorded during this Exhibition. In their report on the Competition, the judges were very pleased to note the high standard attained in most classes of the Competition. The Chairman of the panel of judges, Dr. Ake H. Huldt, Past Secretary General of the World Crafts Council, remarked, "The task of developing and encouraging the crafts of Ireland has been undertaken by the Royal Dublin Society through the annual crafts competition. This is, in my opinion, a great cultural contribution, for which I would like to express my admiration and respect... The Final selection of competition entries for prizes, awards, commendments and recommendations for the exhibition represents a collection of contemporary Irish Crafts of very good standing, including a gratifying number of excellent works... The most impressive classes of this year were in my opinion: Turned Wood, Patchwork, Baskets, Lacework." As well as the individual prizes awarded in the fourteen different categories in the Competition, the following Special Awards were made for work of outstanding meritCalifornia Gold Medal: Robert Pierce, Dublin — Musical Instruments. Crafts Council of Ireland Medal: Kati Edwards, Co. Donegal — Clay — Decorative, Sculptural or Architectural items. Country Markets Ltd. Medal: Susan Latham, Co. Antrim — Other Lace Techniques for a Traditional Country Craft Philip T. Brooks Memorial Prize IR£250 for a craftworker under 25 years old: Rory Conner, Co. Cork — Metal — Iron/Steel/NonFerrous Metals. Special Two Week Exhibition in the RDS Library: Ruth McDonnell, Dublin — Experimental Patchwork.

Lillias Mitchell Award for Research in Weaving, Spinning & Dyeing: Inge Van Doorslaer, Co. Louth. Muriel Gahan £1,000 Scholarship or Development Grant: the following four craftworkers have been nominated to go forward for interview for this award: Erwin Springbrunn, Co. Roscommon; Keith Mosse, Co. Kilkenny; Marek Staszkiewicz, Co. Cork; Patricia Murphy, Co. Louth. Prizewinners The Crafts Competition first prizewinners were as follows: Pottery for use: Paul Martin; Decorative, sculptural or architectural items: Kati Edwards; Glass for domestic, decorative or architectural purposes: Killiam Schurmann; Non-ferrous metals: Rory James Conner; Precious metals: Erwin Springbrunn; Jewellery: Gert Besner; Turned wood: Keith Mosse; Wood — for use: Rainer Wischniewski; Decorative and sculptural wood: Tony O'Brien; Musical instruments: Robert Pierce; Furniture: Knut Klimmek; Rod, rush or straw work: Brigid Roe; Stone-carving: Marek Staszkiewicz; Tapestry: Cathy MacAleavey; Weaving for fashion: Elizabeth Rackard; Tree, Bird and Animals in wood by Tony O'Brien, First Prize National Crafts Competition 1986. (Photo Frank Sutton)

Weaving for interiors: Julia Cooke; Creative and experimental batik, etc.: Tess Ford; Batik, tiedyed textiles, etc. for wear or other use: Patricia Murphy; Patchwork and quilting: Patricia Clyne-Kelly and Barna lea Guild, Joint 1st Prize; Experimental patchwork: Ruth McDonnell; Limerick lace: Sheila Regan; Carrickmacross lace: Mary Shields; Irish crochet: Susan Latham; Other lace techniques: Susan Latham; Toys: Tony O'Brien.

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CCI-newsletter-1986-59-September-October  

Mr William D Fin I ay, Chairman/Crafts Council of Ire/and, introducing the Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce, Mr...