Glucksman Craft Fair 2017

The Lewis Glucksman Gallery is a stunning building on the grounds of University College Cork - if you haven't been before make sure to check it out if you're in the area. There's a consistent run of beautifully curated shows throughout the year. For one weekend, they clear the galleries and allow designers and craftspeople to set up for the Glucksman Craft & Design Fair. The building, designed by O'Donnell + Tuomey, is beautiful and, if I remember my tour correctly from Open House many moons ago, harvests geothermal energy from an underground stream that ran across the site. It's a lovely, calm space to commune - shout-outs due to the staff there - as disorganised as I was there was always someone about to help - we made it! In one piece too!

Craft fairs are a big thing, especially around Christmas, for makers and craftspeople. It's a chance to move products and a good opportunity for people to meet the men and women making decorative things locally. It got mad for me at points, but there was a great calm atmosphere about the fair in the Glucksman this year - and the other makers I met were a really interesting bunch making really interesting things.

Unfortunately, fairs can be expensive for makers (The 5 day long National Craft Fair - recently renamed 'Gifted' - costs standholders somewhere towards €200/day) and become hectic if sales are needed. The best bits of what a craft fair is, the people, can get lost behind the event. Luckily there are a couple of fairs that manage to keep the mayhem to a minimum and open a marketplace for people to engage with craftspeople, designers and artists - the Glucksman is one of these, and I'm really happy to say that the Hands collection of table lamps are now stocked in the Glucksman gift shop. 

Thanks to all involved - especially my helpers; Laura and Iana for your time and energy!

 

The nedkaar stand

The nedkaar stand

Chuffed to received the inaugural "Most Imaginative Use of Materials" award!

Chuffed to received the inaugural "Most Imaginative Use of Materials" award!

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Creative Ireland

The Irish government have announced the launch of Creative Ireland - an initiative to place the creative arts of Ireland at the heart of policy making over the coming 5 years.

The first year action points include the launching of a pilot program to support self-employed artists through social welfare payments and a plan to provide access to tuition in music, drama, art and coding for every schoolchild. With general themes of openness, access and inclusion the proposal is an ambitious attempt to build upon Ireland's creative culture.

Behind the developmental elements of the scheme, which have been widely applauded, there is a focus on support for artists and designers generating 'creative capital'. This concept, encompassing the widest range of Creative enterprises, is not a new one, however it does seem to be the political underpinning of the project - which fundamentally aims to create a more prosperous state.

Strangely the plan suggests the creation of a unified vision of Ireland that can be marketed and shipped abroad. Of the five pillars detailed in the plan this is the most controversial as it belies a belief in political circles about the role of the arts in society.

As this plan to support creative ireland is rolled out over the coming 5 years it will be interesting to see conversations develop around this topic. At a recent symposium in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, entitled The Artist and the State, a similar group of conversations began. The speakers on the day described the importance of critical practice and the role that they this could play in society. The symposium was dense, intricate and left you withink lots of food for thought. The role of artists and designers in society beyond the production of content for marketing is something I hope the Creative Ireland program will inspire.

The stunning chapel room inside the Irish Museum of Modern Art at the Artist and the State Symposium

The stunning chapel room inside the Irish Museum of Modern Art at the Artist and the State Symposium