Irish Craft Heroes Exhibition at Fota House

Irish Craft Heroes, a major exhibition celebrating 50 years of Irish craft, coincides with Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s (DCCI) 50th Anniversary since its establishment in 1971. To mark this landmark occasion, the National Design & Craft Gallery has produced an outdoor, touring exhibition and publication charting the evolution of the craft and design sector in Ireland over the last 50 years, paying homage to the many makers whose work has contributed to the rich tapestry of craft and design practice in Ireland.

Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens plays host to this very interesting and informative exhibition at our Victorian Working Gardens until July 26th. The exhibition is open 10:30am – 4:45pm and 12 noon – 4:45pm at weekends & bank holidays. Admission is free.

Irish Craft Heroes honours 50 makers who have contributed to the rich tapestry of craft and design in Ireland over the past 50 years. These iconic makers have elevated their material through exceptional skill and creativity.

Made by skilled craftspeople from sustainable materials, craft objects are created to endure for generations. Craft also tells important stories of our culture and heritage; from Aran, tweed and lace patterns, to local styles of furniture, stone walls and monuments, to traditional baskets, silver chalices, and scenes captured in vibrant stained-glass. Makers hone their skills and techniques over a lifetime, to become masters of their material, and pass on their knowledge. Some pieces are functional, others are artistic or tell a story. Contemporary craft continues to use ancient skills and techniques – combined with design, innovation and creative expression.

Irish Craft Heroes Open Call received over 600 nominations of ‘standout makers whose work has significant legacy, has heralded new approaches or changed the way we look at the world.’ An expert panel reviewed all nominations, on criteria of skill, design, impact, innovation and originality, to select the 50 Irish Craft Heroes. The panel deliberated carefully on the selection, focusing the exhibition on contemporary studio-craft makers who truly innovated in their discipline.

The nominations demonstrated the wealth of inspirational makers working in Ireland over the last fifty years. It also highlighted so many other heroes who significantly contribute to the craft community through commitment to education, guilds, associations, networks and societies; leading development of disciplines; establishing innovative projects to support makers; or advocating on behalf of craftspeople and their work.