Tuesday, April 19, 2011

quick, before it's over! Irish Craft Portfolio @ NCG

Last Friday I revisited the National Craft Gallery for another little stroll around this year's Irish Craft Portfolio exhibition. This is the fifth edition of the programme showcasing the best in Irish craftsmanship putting Ireland yet again on the map for International Contemporary Craft.

This year, as ever, the quality of the work and skill involved is truly captivating, the connection to nature and landscape ever so visible. Various media from wood and porcelain through glass, black diamonds and precious metals to discarded plastic bags reflect great consideration for the material and appreciation of the making process. The pieces live each their own life and tell their own story, and at the same time converse with each other in a quiet language of passion, skill and patience. Every time I visit the NCG I find myself enchanted by the beauty of their timeless form, it makes me want to touch them and feel their warmth. I can smell the sea, feel the breeze on my face, run my fingers through the grass and hug the trees. The mood created by these objects and their energy are for me the ultimate proof that the border between arts and crafts has long disappeared. Craft can be equally challenging and exhilarating. 

It would be impossible to chose my personal favourite, but I am very inspired by Jack Doherty's soda fired porcelain pieces. Using his One clay, one colouring, one firing process, Jack chooses  to present the material which we associate with lightness and delicacy in such strong, robust form whilst still managing to capture its simplicity and elegance. The contrast within his own work is wonderful, and his work gains another dimension once put into perspective with other pieces, like f.e. Frances Lambe's Sea-Life forms or Nuala O'Donovans work.
My personal favourite of the Portfolio 2011 Jack Doherty

The participants of the Irish Craft Portfolio are selected annually by an international jury of gallerists, curators and experts and their work is promoted nationally and internationally through exhibitions and publications. The exhibition is accompanied by the elegant issue of Irish Crafts Portfolio Catalogue.

Complex porcelain piece by Nuala O'Donovan
You can visit this exhibition at the NCG until 11th May and I cannot recommend highly enoug htheir monthly Late Date (an informal tour of the exhibitions-every last Friday of the month). On Friday 29th April @ 6pm you will have the pleasure of a tour with Rhythm and Roots Festival Director John Cleere with musical assistance from Hans Chew. Do check it out!


  1. Love your photo of the teasel piece by Nuala O'Donovan- the sunlight hitting it is wonderful. We finally made it to the exhibit Sat, & I just did a blog post on it, too. I put your blog up on my 'blog roll'so peeps can see your post on it as well. :)