Every second year The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI) invite Irish-based and Irish-born makers now abroad to apply for their online Portfolio. Selection is made by an international panel of experts, one of whom will also go on to curate a touring exhibition of the best of these, known as the Critical Selection.
In 2018 I was invited to both be on the panel and to curate the subsequent exhibition for the 2019-2020 cohort. I entitled the exhibition “Surface Matters”. As I wrote in the accompanying publication:
“My fellow judges and I were often struck by the way the surfaces of the works spoke to us: as judges we were privileged to be able to handle most of the works submitted. While the selection was a visual process first and foremost, we did not negotiate our conclusions until we had proceeded into the viewing room and closely examined the submissions. We would take turns to lift objects from the tables, turning and examining every facet, discussing the details, and then passing each carefully to the next person. We found active delight in sharing our admiration, for the patina and striations on certain vessels; the highly polished finishes of silver or cabinetry; gleams and hues of assorted metals, gems and ceramic glazes; and imaginative forms described by so many pieces. So much so, that I have to declare that the surface matters, a mantra for those who value excellence in design and making.”
The exhibition toured to three venues:
The Coach House, Dublin Castle, 22 February – 18 May 2019.
CCAM Barcelona, 3 May – 21 July 2019.
National Design & Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, 22 November 2019 – 4 March 2020.
Image: “Carrot Spoons” by Annemarie Reinhold, photo courtesy DCCI and the artist.