A very successful event to highlight and support creative Irish businesses took place at The Leitrim Design House National Design, Craft & Art Awards Event & Exhibition on Friday 11th August 2023 in The Dock Art Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon. Designers, makers and artists from all over the country travelled to Leitrim for this event. These National awards celebrate excellence in design and artisanship marking over 20years of The Leitrim Design House’s sustainability as a business a vital platform for Irish makers. The prizes and event were made possible with funding from the Local Enterprise Office, Leitrim and Creative Ireland under the Creative Economies Programme with support from the Leitrim Arts Office. The awards exhibition responds to the theme of sustainability and is on view until 25th August. All are welcome to drop by and immerse themselves in thoughtful, innovative design pieces. The inspiration behind each piece is shared by each finalist making it well worth a visit. The majority of works are also for sale and offer an excellent investment in fine Irish craftsmanship.
A shortlist of ten makers presented their work in The Dock theatre on the evening, sharing inspirations and insights on their creative practices. The finalists were stain glass artist Colette Langan (Leitrim), ceramic artist Robyn Stephens (Wicklow), wood turner Richard West (Galway), glass artist Fiona Byrne (Wexford), textile fibre Artist Niki Collier (Dublin), sculptor Liz Levy (Dublin), furniture maker John Farrell (Offaly) printmaker Tracy Fry (Louth), jeweller Ruzica Ruane (Dublin) and sculptor Caroline Hannon (Kerry). The judges and audience were hugely impressed & excited by the talent on show and these ten finalists must be commended for their immense skills and professionalism.
Following an evaluation from our independent judging panel, the first prize of €2,500 was awarded to Tracy Fry for her print work titled ‘Estuary’ and was also awarded a solo exhibition to take place in The Leitrim Design House in 2024. Tracy Fry is a printmaker & painter from Dundalk Co. Louth who studied printmaking in the National College of art and Design in Dublin. Her newest works are heavily textured and sculptural and highlights her particular love of maps. Tracy’s piece is a collagraph print plate cut from waste board, card and vinyl, resulting in a relief surface that is sealed in aluminium, paint and voc free resin. It represents a visual exploration of the Shannon estuary. Aughinish Alumina the largest alumina refinery in Europe sought permission in 2022 to expand its refining capacity of bauxite, the red mud ponds of these deposits can be seen on topographical maps of the area and are highlighted on the work. This increased output, Tracy believes could pose a substantial environmental risk to the Shannon’s estuary’s ecosystem and to the health of local people without adequate oversight. Tracy’s work highlights the Shannon estuary’s vulnerability juxtaposed with it centrality as a confluence point of Ireland’s largest river into which drains a complex network of waterways from two counties into the estuary and the turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Experienced wood turner Richard West was awarded a specially commended prize of €1,000 for his sycamore wooden bowl titled ‘wave’. Created from a piece of recovered wood from road works carried out to build a new greeway in Connemara. This greenway follows an old train line that used to bring seafood products to the market. Richard created his piece to represent this history. The judges were greatly impressed by Richards’s technical skill in shaping the wood to fulfil his concept and we look forward to seeing Richards work evolves from here.
The Leitrim Design House are very grateful to the MC Fran Best from Lissawell coaching & training who hosted the event and to the five highly regarded industry professionals and experts who judged the exhibition anonymously: Rosemary Steen CEO of the Design & Craft Council of Ireland, Eddie Shanahan Design Consultant & Chairperson of the Council of Irish Fashion Designers, Eleanor Flegg Craft & Design Journalist, Rhona McGrath, Roscommon Arts Officer and Joe Lowe, Chair of The Leitrim Design House Board and Head of Enterprise in Leitrim. We would also like to acknowledge the stunning bouquets presented to the winners by Leitrim flowers and this special evening was topped off by wonderful local caterers, Edergole Kitchen in Dromahair.
The Leitrim Design House Design, Craft & Art Awards Exhibition is an eclectic mix of the best of Irish design, incorporating glass, wood, copper, brass, print, textiles and ceramics. We are honoured to host this exhibition which continues to be on view until August 25th and is not to be missed. Deposits are welcome. For more information visit www.leitrimdesignhouse.ie or call 071 9650550.
Visit us in the beautiful Dock Art Centre, St. Georges terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon, opening hours are 10am – 6pm Mon – Friday and 10am – 5pm on Saturdays. Browse our Irish gifts online at www.leitrimdesignhouse.ie Follow us on www.facebook.com/TheLeitrimDesignHouse/