Surface Matters

Surface Matters

Design & Crafts Council Ireland's PORTFOLIO Critical Selection 2019-2020

21 November 2019 - 4 March 2020
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Surface Matters
Design & Crafts Council Ireland's PORTFOLIO Critical Selection 2019-2020 21 November 2019 - 4 March 2020

Alan Meredith | Annemarie Reinhold | Cara Murphy | Cecilia Moore | Ciarán McGill | Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill | David McCaul | Eimear Conyard | Emma Bourke | Grainne Watts | Jack Doherty | Jennifer Hickey | Joe Hogan | John Lee | Joseph Walsh | Mike Byrne | Nuala O’Donovan | Roger Bennett | Sara Flynn | Sasha Sykes | Stephen O’Briain | Stevan Hartung | Úna Burke | Zelouf & Bell

An exhibition of new, innovative works from the Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s PORTFOLIO: Critical Selection 2019-20. The designer makers represented were selected by an international panel, for demonstrating excellence in craftsmanship, design quality and technical skill.

Surface Matters, curated by Liz Cooper, considers the extraordinary skill and attention to detail involved in the creation of these contemporary craft objects; from the application of an exquisite patina to the repetition of building a complex form and a deep understanding of how their materials perform which has set these makers apart. The curator reflects “a well-crafted object… will give much visual delight, may make pleasing or intriguing sounds when handled, and if made of an organic material may also have a scent that evokes other places or times, as soothing or disturbing memories. But when we talk about the surface quality of an object, touch is the sense that comes to mind first…. Surface in craft and design is not simply a lick of paint or a gloss of varnish. Instead it speaks to us of the skill and knowledge of the maker, in their understanding, handling and processing of the materials that make up the completed forms, be they raw matter like raw metal, wood, yarn or clay, or those mediated by manufacture, including molten glass, alloys, glazes and varnishes. The surface is also the material of making itself and the way it has been handled, not just an outer coat or covering.”

An impressive publication designed by Atelier Projects, accompanies this exhibition Critical Selection 2019–2020, view the PDF here

See for further information on each of the exhibitors.

Surface Matters launched at the Coach House in Dublin Castle on 21 February 2019, will tour to Artesania Catalunya – CCAM from 30 May to 21 July 2019 and will show at National Design & Craft Gallery in Kilkenny from 21 November 2019 to 4 March 2020.


We warmly invite you to visit us in the gallery for your culture fix over the holidays, will be open throughout Christmas with the exception of Monday 23rd - Thursday 26th December and Mon 30th December - Wed 1st January.

On Tour

The Coach House, Dublin Castle 21 February 2019 – 19 May 2019

Artesania Catalunya – CCAM, Barcelona 30 May 2019 – 21 July 2019

Education & Outreach

Meet the Makers Fri 10 Jan, 6.30pm - 8.30pm. FREE

Join three designer makers with work in our current exhibition Surface Matters, Design & Craft Council Ireland's PORTFOLIO Critical Selection 2019 - 2020. Contemporary jewellery designer maker David McCaul, furniture designer maker Ciarán McGill and sculptor Nuala O'Donovan will each give a presentation on their work, followed by a Q & A session. 

Enjoy a free glass of wine and canapés from the Kilkenny Design Centre restaurant.

This is a FREE event. Pre-register here.

Hand-Forging Jewellery Masterclass with Goldsmith David McCaul Sat 11 Jan, 10am to 5pm. €125

A rare opportunity to learn hand-forging skills at this masterclass with goldsmith and contemporary jewellery designer-maker David McCaul. Using traditional techniques and tools, create a unique piece of silver jewellery to bring home. Suitable for all levels of experience.

The workshop will take place in the Design & Crafts Council Ireland Jewellery Skills School.

Book here

Bursaries & Beyond Seminar Fri 28 Feb, 9.30 - 1pm. €10/€5 group rate. Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle

This seminar will explain the fundamentals of applying for bursaries and the benefits that they bring, and is suitable for emerging and established makers, as well as students of craft and design.

Speakers Include: 

- Liz Cooper judge for the RDS Irish Craft Bursary 2019 - 2020 and curator of the Surface Matters PORTFOLIO Critical Selection 2019 - 2020.

- Ciara Garvey DCCI's Development Manager and Manager of PORTFOLIO .

- Edmond Byrne contemporary glass maker and winner of the RDS Irish Craft Bursary 2018 - 2019 with Adi Toch, Maker in Metal.

- Seliena Coyle jewellery designer, part of PORTFOLIO and winner of the RDS Irish Craft Bursary 2019 - 2020.

- Ed Coveney & Esther Gerrard of Elements of Action, DCCI Future Makers award winners.

Book here.