Crafts Council of Ireland announce Future Makers Awards & Supports Winners for 2013

12 June 2013

Crafts Council of Ireland announce Future Makers Awards & Supports Winners for 2013

CCoI has announced that Alison Conneely, a gifted young Irish fashion designer, who draws inspiration from her native Connemara, has won the top prize under this year’s Crafts Council of Ireland Future Makers Awards & Supports programme. The announcement was made at Fallon & Byrne in Dublin, where awards were presented to 18 craft makers as chosen by an international selection panel.

With a total prize fund of €23,000, the Future Makers Awards & Support programme rewards the next generation of Irish creative makers, helping them to develop an exciting future in the craft and design industry. The Crafts Council of Ireland programme promotes and distinguishes imaginative use of skills and excellence in design for creative students and recent graduates at a critical stage in their career. New for 2013 was the involvement of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEB) with the CEB Future Makers Entrepreneurs Award.

Alison Conneely from Connemara, County Galway received the overall Future Makers Award of €4,000 for the distinctive dress and skirt designs from her “Bella Faul” collection, which is based on her grandmother, Bella, from Faul in Connemara. Inspired by Bella’s life and the rugged, beautiful Connemara landscape, Alison explores the notion of geology as mythology through her collection.

According to the judges, Alison has created a modern design aesthetic rooted in Irish narrative, poetry and landscape, all crafted with a luxurious twist. Alison’s use of Donegal tweed, Belfast linen, leather, wool crepes, silks and hessian showcased her ability to combine contrasting materials with fresh, clean design thinking.

                Models wearing outfits from overall Future Makers Award winner
                Alison Conneely's current 'Bella Faul' collection. Bags by Lisa Ryder,
                winner of the inaugural CEB Future Makers Entrepreneurs Award.

Meanwhile the winner of the overall Future Makers Student Award, worth €2,500, is National College of Art & Design (NCAD) student, Meadhbh McIlgorm. A student in the glass department at the NCAD, Meadhbh wowed the judges with her intricate technique in the medium of glass and for her overall experimental use of skills. This award rewards excellence, creativity and technical ability, and offers professional support for students to build their profile at a very early stage in their career.

Lisa Ryder from County Mayo is the winner of the inaugural CEB Future Makers Entrepreneurs Award worth €4,000 plus up to €1,000 worth of mentoring. Lisa scooped this significant award for her eye-catching graphic prints on a range of handbags and the funding will go towards the development of Lisa’s new craft enterprise, which demonstrated the most potential in this area. On presenting Lisa with her award Vincent Reynolds, Chair of the Network of County and City Enterprise Boards said: “It’s vital that Ireland continues to support and invest in craft and design enterprises. Business supports through the network of Enterprise Boards are critically important during the commercialisation stage in particular, helping craft and design businesses bring new products to new markets; this inaugural award reflects that growing importance.”

Speaking at the awards Chief Executive of the Crafts Council of Ireland, Karen Hennessy, highlighted the importance of supporting craftspeople at all stages of their career in order to grow a high quality, design led, sustainable craft industry. “At the Crafts Council of Ireland, we have a number of programmes for developing knowledge and skills for emerging and established makers. The Future Makers Awards & Support programme underpins our commitment to developing the next generation of craftspeople in Ireland and we hope to work with many of these makers as registered client enterprises in the future.”

“The standard of this year’s Future Makers applicants was extremely high, reflecting the wealth of design talent, skill and innovation that exists in Ireland,” Ms Hennessy continued. “We are delighted to work in partnership with the Network of County and City Enterprise Boards in Ireland to support the next generation of up and coming craft and design enterprises. The craft and design sector makes a significant contribution to job creation and to the Irish economy, so our continued investment in, and recognition of, our emerging craftspeople is crucial.”

Commenting on the 2013 Future Makers Awards, Muireann Charleton, Education & Innovation Manager with the Crafts Council of Ireland added: “The selection panel had a very tough job making their decisions and all the 2013 shortlisted candidates must be congratulated. The Future Makers & Supports programme is key to enhancing the profiles of the next generation of craft makers and designers who are choosing an exciting and rewarding career in the creative sector and are shaping our creative future.”

Other Future Makers Awards & Supports winners and recipients for 2013 include:

  • Design Award (€1,200): Rebecca Marsden, a graduate from Limerick School of Art & Design, for design excellence. Rebecca impressed the selection panel with her design skills and desire to expand her work to develop a successful line of contemporary women’s ready to wear clothing.
  • Innovation Award (€2,500): Owen Quinlan, a ceramicist and graduate from GMIT, Galway, and a former student at the Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramic Design & Skills Course, for his experimentation with process, technique, surface texture, colour and form. Owen impressed the judges with his complex layering and stoneware fired ceramic pieces.
  • Student Innovation Award (€1,200): Anthony Horrigan, a ceramics design student from Limerick School of Art, currently studying his MA in ceramic design at Staffordshire University. He dazzled the judges for his exploration into the creative applications of laser etching in ceramics.
  • Networking Support (€1,000): Orla Reynolds, Interior and furniture designer and recent graduate from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) for her playful multi-functional, interchangeable furniture unit consisting of brightly coloured chairs and a table, which can be neatly packed into a shelving/storage modular unit. Orla demonstrated her clear design thinking and focus on the end user for her work.
  • Exhibition Assistant Support (€1,000): PrintBlock, an Irish creative members organisation that initiates printed textile craft, for their fresh, colourful range of graphic, hand-printed textiles.
  • Studio Assistant Supports (€1,500): Sorcha O’Raghallaigh, textiles/fashion, and Eoin M Lyons, jewellery, both impressed the judges for their equally avant-garde, exciting pieces that use new materials in cutting edge wearable ways.

    See the full list of Future Makers Awards & Supports 2013 recipients here.

All applicants for the Future Makers Practitioners and Students Awards & Supports 2013 were assessed by an international selection panel featuring curator Daniel Charny, Professor of Design at Kingston University, and creative director, Peter Sheehan. The assessors were assisted by Muireann Charleton, Education and Innovation Manager at CCoI, and Amanda Walsh, Education Assistant at CCoI. Georgina Sweetnam from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board, assisted in selecting the winner of the CEB Future Makers Entrepreneurs Award 2013.

For further press information please contact: Aoife Smith, Mark Kilbride or Emma Kelly at Elevate PR on 01-6625652 or email / /

About Future Makers:

Future Makers Awards & Supports were launched by the Crafts Council of Ireland in 2009 and aim to assist students and recent graduates of full-time craft based studies or training to pursue an exciting and rewarding career in the craft and design industry. The Crafts Council of Ireland takes a leading role in recognising and rewarding excellence in craftsmanship and design innovation. It aims to provide practical support and professional encouragement to students and practitioners at critical points in their training and careers. For further information, please visit

About the Crafts Council of Ireland:

The Crafts Council of Ireland (CCoI) is the main champion of the craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. Headquartered in Kilkenny, CCoI has over 2,700 clients on its register of craft enterprises and has over 70 member organisations. CCoI’s activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. For further information, please visit

About the County and City Enterprise Boards
The 35 CEBs, were established in Ireland in 1993 to provide support for small businesses (‘micro-enterprises’) with 10 employees or less, at local level. CEBs provide direct grant-support to new and existing enterprises and promote entrepreneurship, capacity building and women-in-business at local level, to micro enterprises in the commercial sphere. The CEBs are uniquely positioned to understand local needs and know the background and track record of those applying for support and assistance. CEBs are co-funded by the Irish Government and EU Structural Funds. "Investing in your Future". For further information, please visit

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