n e w s l e t t e r S
ORGANIC SURFACES The "Organic Surfaces" Exhibition
produced by the process of
was opened at the Crafts Council
sedimentation in rivers and seas.
Gallery in July by Noelle Campbell Sharp, publisher and founder of Cill Rialaig in Kerry. "Organic Surfaces" is a display of craftwork where the focus of attention has been given to the surface of the work and nature's effects on those surfaces.
The exhibition covers the work of 24 craftspeople from North and South all of the pieces on display were created specially for this exhibition and will not have been seen any where in the country before. Amongst the pieces on display are furniture; jewellery; wall hangings;
"Most craft takes, as its starting point, a natural material which the maker manipulates, one hopes, to powerful effect. However, this exhibition challenged makers to work with their materials using processes which mirrored the creative processes found in nature itself", said curator Greg McAteer at the opening. These processes range from the aridity which results from intense
etched glass; collages of organic materials such as grasses and stoneware. The Arts Show on RTE Radio reviewed the exhibition the week it opened and while the reviewer did criticise what he saw as "the usual mixed bag of a crafts exhibition", he did praise Anthony O'Brien's aptly entitled "Big Crusty Pot" along with glazed stoneware pieces by Catherine West.
Hilary Pratt, Greg McAteer and Noelle Campbell Sharp at the opening of the Organic Surfaces exhibition.
volcanic heat to the fluidity Photographs by Janet Ledsham from Belfast were also highlighted in the review and described as "intriguing". The "Organic Surfaces" Exhibition runs until early September. ?PPii|!|*S
By the way, for those who have an interest in these things, 'Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet' strolled into the gallery during the opening reception much to the delight of the younger guests. Yes, the Crafts Council Gallery is a 'happening' place!
Marti Pellow and fan.
RECRUITMENT OF NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE THE CRAFTS COUNCIL OF IRELAND The Crafts Council of Ireland is the government appointed agency responsible for promoting the interests and understanding the needs of crafts people, and for developing and implementing effective ongoing support initiatives to accelerate the successful and profitable growth of the crafts industry in domestic and overseas markets. The Chief Executive of the Crafts Council's major role is to be a 'champion' of the crafts industry and to provide a framework of services and support systems which
recognise the uniqueness of the industry and maximise the opportunities for growing viable crafts-based enterprises in today's consumer world. This national position requires an individual who has an understanding, sensitivity and commitment to the crafts industry, together with the organisational and business abilities to direct the activities of a professional and administrative team, whose activities include training, marketing, promotions and organising "Showcase Dublin" the largest trade
fair in Ireland. He or she must have previous related experience which demonstrates a high level of influencing and representational skills, together with the vision, energy and enthusiasm to work successfully within the crafts industry. A competitive executive remuneration package will be negotiated with the successful candidate. Please apply in total confidence to: Michael Lenehan, PE Consulting Services (Ire) Ltd., 24, Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.
CRAFTS COUNCIL POLICY REVIEW W e are writing to the Crafts Council following the circulation of the policy review questionnaire. Whilst it is to be welcomed that the Council has invited the opinions of craftworkers on this matter, we feel that the rather vague nature of the questions may not give the Council sufficient feedback to allow it to make any radical changes, and we believe that some radical changes are required if the Council is to remain relevant to the majority of its members. Close the Powerscourt Townhouse headquarters. An unjustifiable percentage of the Council's budget goes into maintaining a 'white elephant' in the sky. Despite it being there for over ten years, HQ has failed to attract the public; it is simply too far out of the way and on the third floor. The size of budget that the gallery has been allocated, effectively precludes any regional exhibitions from been mounted. W e believe that this money could be far better used by mounting say, six or eight exhibitions a year in places at specific times, maybe one year an exhibition in Galway during Arts Week, the next year during the Oyster Festival, Cork during the Jazz Festival, Dublin during the
Theatre Festival, Wexford during the Opera Festival, etc.. In this way the Crafts Council can target specific audiences and tailor exhibitions to suit them; the Council would enjoy a higher profile and generate a greater interest in crafts at the same time. At a time when decentralisation is much in vogue, the Council might consider whether it really needs two administrative centres for an organisation of its size. W e believe that the Council should rethink is policy relating to retailing. Rather than put all of its retailing resources into competing with retailers in Dublin, it could be supporting retailers countrywide by offering a number of services. These could include help with display and lighting, training of sales staff, product selection etc., this area could be further strengthened by instore videos and exhibitions/promotions. Briefly, we feel that the Crafts Council needs to get out into the country as a whole, if they are to make a bigger impact and be seen by both the public and makers alike. W e acknowledge that the Council has been most successful with its
training programmes in both Kilkenny and Thomastown, and that the Trade Fair remains the single most important wholesaling opportunity of the year; for these the Council deserves full praise. But we believe that for the Council to move on, brave decisions need to be made. Now could not be a better time, as a new chief executive has yet to be appointed and the board has a clean slate in front of it. This opportunity may not come again. W e hope many of you will agree with our views. If you do, we would ask you to make them known to the Crafts Council as soon as possible. Geoffrey Healy Michael Roche Anthony O'Brien
Michael Jackson Michael Kennedy
The Crafts Council is delighted to publicise the letter above, as a serious and considered contribution to the strategic review about to be conducted by the Management Committee. Although we published a cut-off date of 31 July for contributions in the last Newsletter, this will now be extended to the middle of September to allow further letters from concerned interest groups.
DR MURIEL F GAHAN - An Appreciation 1897- 1995 Dr Muriel Gahan, who died peacefully on the 12th July 1995, in Dublin, will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. It would be no exaggeration to say that Muriel was one of the most outstanding Irish women of this century. Winifred Muriel Francoise Gahan was born at Magherabeg, Co. Donegal in 1 897. When she was three years old the family moved to Castlebar, Co. Mayo. She was strongly influenced by her happy, carefree childhood - and her father F.G. Townsend Gahan. He was one on the first senior inspectors appointed by the Congested Districts Board, and she often accompanied him in the course of his business. In this way she was first introduced to traditional country crafts and craftspeople. Muriel possessed the confidence of class and upbringing without any of its baggage. She was a fearless optimist, immensely energetic with a warm personality and a lovely sense of fun. She was also an excellent manager with a natural business sense. Throughout her long and fruitful life three things were central to Muriel's endeavours: societal co-operation, the bettering of women's lives - and crafts. The Crafts Council of Ireland can be thankful that Muriel toiled so long and so hard in rescuing certain crafts from extinction and in setting up organisations to promote higher standards and ensure the survival of many crafts. Muriel's life's work began in earnest in 1929, when she joined the United Irishwomen. She went in search of a weaver in Co Mayo for their crafts demonstrations at the RDS Spring Show. She realised that traditional country crafts were dying out primarily because of poor communications and a lack of market opportunities. Her response was to start a company with a group of friends, 'Country Workers Limited', and in 1930 to open wellknown "Country Shop" as their headquarters in St Stephen's Green. Ireland's first craft shop, "Country Workers Limited" was a non-profit making, private company.
The ICA (formerly the United Irishwomen) was tremendously important to Muriel. She was on its executive committee for many years and was honoured by being made a Buan Chara (good friend) in 1965. On at least three occasions she was offered the Presidency of the ICA, but she declined, as she felt the position should always go to a countrywoman. Muriel did not care for high office since she was not interested in power or personal gain. She was a visionary, ahead of her time, with the gift of reading the future. She was an organiser who loved to work with others, passionately believing in bettering the lives of women and their families in Ireland, tirelessly advancing the disciplines and projects she considered important whether it be campaigning for rural water schemes or the credit unions (she was a founding member of the latter). She touched the lives of many people, always in positive ways with works of encouragement and praises. Muriel's conversations were littered with the names of those whom she felt deserved credit and recognitions, something she never sought for herself. In 1 935 Muriel set up "An Cumann Sniomhachain" - (The Irish Homespun Society) which ran a long series of craft demonstration exhibitions at the Royal Dublin Society's Spring Show, over a period of ten years. In this way thousands of people were exposed to the best of Irish Crafts which helped to change the perceived image of crafts as being almost worthless. Muriel was instrumental in setting up "Country Markets Limited", which was formed jointly by the ICA and "An Cumann Sniomhachain" in 1946 to help small farming families find an outlet for their produce and make badly needed income. Today, "Country Markets" flourishes all over Ireland. Muriel was on the first committee of the "Arts Council" when it was formed in 1 951 and went on to serve the Council for many years.
She was an ardent supporter of the work of the Royal Dublin Society and always drew attention to the Society's support of crafts down through its 264 years. Muriel also served on its council and in 1976 was the first woman since its establishment in 1731 to become its Vice President. In 1968 she instigated the "RDS National Craft Competition", held each year at the Horse Show. Muriel was one of a group of concerned individuals who founded the Crafts Council of Ireland in 1971. She saw the council as being immensely important and central to the development and eventual official recognition, of crafts in Ireland - "an organisation of organisations". She vigorously campaigned for the nomination of James Warwick, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Ulster Polytechnic as its first chairman because she felt the Crafts Council should represent the whole of Ireland North and South. Using her considerable influence as a member of the Council of the RDS she persuaded the Society to give the Crafts Council a home and secretariat from 1971 to 1976. This vital sponsorship was worth many thousands of pounds since the Council, at that time, was a voluntary organisation surviving on the small contributions of about 15 representatives. After years of lobbying, state funds were finally made available through the Department of Industry and Commerce in 1976, when the Crafts Council of Ireland was incorporated. Justin Keating was the Minister - certainly a question of the right minister being in the right place at the right time! Muriel was Chairperson of the Crafts Council of Ireland from 1976 to 1978. Her achievements were recognised in later years by the many awards bestowed upon her. She received an honorary Doctorate in Law from Dublin University, Trinity College in 1978. In 1 987 she was elected Ireland's "Person of the Year", the nominations coming from the ICA. In 1989 the Crafts Council of Ireland honoured Muriel when, the then Chairman, William Findlay, presented her with a collage designed and made by the artist Romy Gray. This special tribute recognised and celebrated the diverse range of her life's activities. David Shaw-Smith.
Wanted: Second hand 5 gallon Glaze Mixer wanted for pottery in West Cork. Contact: 023-33866 Wanted: "Single Phase Kiln, second hand, with controller required" Contact: Elaine Griffin, Belclaire Cottage, Belclaire, Westport, Co. Mayo. For Sale: 4.3 cubic ft. Electric Kiln and Electric Wheel for sale. Contact: Martina Carroll, C/o 62 Claremont Park, Rahoon, Galway.
Position Available: Full-time potter wanted with throwing and decorating
Premises To Let: 2 bed mews house to let incorporating self contained studio, showroom and office space, close to all amenities in centre of Dunlaoghaire, Co. Dublin. For further information contact: Colm Henry Tel: 01-2866590, Fax: 01-2867486
Position Available: During a recent visit by the Crafts Council's Chairman, Cyril Forbes to Stephen Pearce's factory and emporium, Stephen mentioned that he was looking for a 'Journey man stone carver' who would be offered employment, and board and lodgings. Contact: Stephen Pearce, Tel. 021-646807
Tel. Helen (01) 298 6067
Body Bait 9 5 : This exhibition continues until September 2nd at Dublin Castle in the Crypt of the Chapel Royal, featuring exciting innovate work from over 40 members of the Jewellers & Metalworkers Guild of Ireland. The Guild can be contacted at 01-6716263.
Position Available: Skilled, highly motivated cabinetmaker with good handskills wanted, to work on a trial basis. Suitable for a graduate of a technical college/vocational programme looking for experience in a
Open College of the Arts: Full list of courses now available. For information contact Open College of the Arts, Houndhill, Worsbrough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 6TU.
Enthusiastic Trainee Potter seeks apprenticeship or similar.
The Management Committee 1995 Chair Mr. Cyril Forbes Vice Chair Ms. Hilary Pratt Mr. Ed Kevin Ms. Suzanne May
Dr. David Shaw-Smith Ms. Breda Haugh
Mr. David Hargaden
Mr. Neil Read Ms. Kaethe Burt-O'Dea
International Trade Fair in Munich "18. Heim + Handwerk" Special exhibition "Kunstlerisches Spielzeug" (artistic toys) from the 25th of November to 3rd of December, 1995. For further details contact Wolfgang Losche, Max-Joseph-StrafJe 4, 80333 Munchen, Germany. Tel. +(089) 51190, Fax. +(089) 5119295.
Acting Chief Executive Administrative Officer Book-keeper Telephonist/Receptionist Exhibitions Assistant Retail Manager Shop Assistants (PT)
Leslie Reed Margaret Jones Orlagh McKay Susan Byrne/ Michelle French Catherine Jordan Hilary Morley Sally Dunne Aoife Montgomery
The Crescent Workshop Training and Education Officer Leslie Reed Supervisor/Information Officer Emer Ferran Administrative Assistant Nuala McGrath
Ms. Mary Jackson Ms. Bernadette Madden
International Trade Fair Munich (March 9 - 1 7 , 1996) Special Exhibition TALENTE 1996. For information contact Dr. Angela Bock, Handwerkskammer, fur Miinchen und Oberbayern, Max-JosephStraBe 4, 80333 Munchen, Tel. +0895119282, Fax. +089-5119295.
The Crafts Council of Ireland
Mr. Knut Klimmek Mr. Brendan Flood
18th Annual Artexpo New York (March 7 - 1 1 , 1996): Jacob Javits Center, New York City. For information contact Susanne Casgar, Artexpo New York, 7500 Old Oak Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44130, Tel. +216-826-2858, Fax. +216-826-2801.
Crafts Council Staff
Mr. Michael McCrory Mr. Rudolf Heltzel
SALVO In Ireland: Calling all Restorers, Conservators and Manufacturers in Metal, Stone, Wood, Clay, Glass, Plaster, Fabric and Marble. Artists, Designers and Craftspeople in Construction and Gardens. For a free entry in a new guide for Designers and old house owners, 'SALVO in Ireland', contact Hazel Matravers on tel/fax 09185904 with your name, address, telephone number (fax if you have one), and a brief description of what you do - and, if it's not obvious, how it relates to buildings.
experience. Contact: Mark English, Tel. 01-6775933
For Sale: 36" weaving width solid cherry Jack Loom. U.S. made, 1400 long eye heddles, matching bench, loom box and 3 reeds included. ยฃ750.00. Contact: 023-39227 (Bowen)
c Q) O
company dedicated to the design and making of once-off and limited edition contemporary furniture in hardwood, specialising in native timber. Qualified candidates, including those from other EC countries, are invited to contact Michael Bell Design, Glasshouse, Vicarstown, Co. Laois. Tel./Fax. 0502-25633, to arrange an interview.
Thomastown Pottery Skills Course Trainer
Powerscourt Townhouse Centre South William Street, Dublin 2 Tel.
0 1 6 7 9 7368
01 679 9197
Kilkenny The Crescent Workshop, Castle Yard Kilkenny
Tel. 056 61 804 or 62734 Fax. 056 63754
Jewellery Design and Production Skills Course Trainer
CAD/CAM Training for the Irish Knitwear Industry Coordinator
All information is published in good faith but without research, so please check carefully before committing yourself to work or financial outlay Please forward all information to Nuala McGrath. The copy date for the next issue is 4th October. The Print date is 1 lth October.