Stunning international crafts exhibition in two Kilkenny city venues opens

Sean Keane


Sean Keane


Kilkenny Castle and National Design & Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny venues for exhibition

Lisa Doherty, Caroline Engel Purcell and Shauna Sweeney at the Monumentality/Fragility: European Prize for Applied Arts exhibition

A major multi-venue exhibition of contemporary crafts featuring 74 makers from 19 European countries, including seven Irish participants, was officially opened at Kilkenny Castle and the National Design & Craft Gallery, Castle Yard on Saturday.

Monumentality/Fragility: European Prize for Applied Arts has been receiving rave reviews.

Mary Heffernan, Assistant Principal, National Historic Properties at the Office of Public Works, welcomed guests to the launch in The Long Gallery in Kilkenny Castle, followed by a word of thanks by Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. Karen then introduced the special guest speaker, Gaëlle Cornut, Director of BeCraft, who officially opened the exhibition. Visitors were then invited to the National Design & Craft Gallery to explore more of the exhibition and enjoy complimentary Design Cocktails courtesy of Statham’s by Pembroke Kilkenny.

The Irish makers whose work is displayed in Monumentality / Fragility and who attended the opening were silversmith Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill; ceramicist Nicola Kelly; textile artists Caroline Schofield and Niki Collier; and jewellers Eimear Conyard and Annemarie Reinhold. Caroline Schofield, Eimear Conyard and Annemarie Reinhold are all based in Kilkenny. Caroline studied Textiles in NCAD and received an MA in Art & Process from Crawford College of Art & Design in 2015. Eimear is Course Manager at the DCCoI Centre of Excellence in Jewellery and Goldsmithing and is a contemporary jewellery designer-maker and silversmith. Annemarie graduated with a Degree in Metals and Jewellery from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2016 and is developing her skills at the DCCoI Centre of Excellence in Jewellery and Goldsmithing at Castle Yard, Kilkenny.

Several international makers whose work features in the exhibition also travelled to attend the opening, including jeweller Dimitar Stankov (Bulgaria) and ceramicists Karine De Baets, Valérie Cuelemans, Fabienne Withofs (all from Belgium), Claudia Biehne (Germany), and Astrid Sleire (Norway).

This exhibition is the 2018 edition of the European Prize for Applied Arts for which artists were invited to draw inspiration from the paradoxical nature of the dual theme, Monumentality / Fragility, proposed by BeCraft (previously World Crafts Council – Belgique Francophone). Ireland is the only country to host this prestigious exhibition for the European Prize for Applied Arts outside of Belgium, and this unique showcase of over 170 exceptional objects is displayed at both locations until 23rd June 2019.

The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Office of Public Works (OPW). Admission to the National Design & Craft Gallery is free. Free access to the exhibition in Kilkenny Castle is available by request at reception.