Nenagh’s Laoise Carey was awarded a €10,000 RDS Craft Awards Bursary each for the development of her burgeoning fashion and business skills.
Laoise graduated from NCAD in 2017 with a degree in Fashion Design. She won the Brown Thomas Designer to Watch Bursary of €3,000 in the same year and is currently completing an internship with Simone Rocha in London. Last year she also took a Future Makers Award which made her eligible for a 2018 RDS Craft Award bursary. From this year, the RDS has doubled its direct support for craftmakers with a new structure for the RDS Craft Awards from 2018, which means that former recipients of the Design and Craft Council of Ireland’s (DCCoI) Future Maker Awards and Supports are now eligible to apply for five annual €10,000 bursaries.
Laoise incorporates traditional hand-crafted elements and vintage fabrics into her unique designs and is very committed to craftsmanship and heritage. She plans to use her RDS Bursary to complete a level 7 Certificate at the Saville Row Tailoring Academy in London. Laoise wants to bridge the gap in her career between designing clothes and having the ability to hand-craft bespoke, luxury garments in a way that is technically correct and long lasting. This reflects the hands-on nature of her personal design practice.
The bursaries are specifically given to emerging craft makers to give them financial support at a critical time in their developing professional career. The funds can be spent on further education and training, research, development of new work, mentoring, purchase of equipment, studio improvements, technology, their website and residencies.
Laoise was joined by Chloë Dowds (Ceramics), Pierce Healy (Jewellery/Objects), Alan Meredith (Furniture/Woodturning) and Pearl Reddington (Knitwear) as the inaugural recipients of the €10,000 bursaries.
Michael Duffy RDS Chief Executive said: “From this year, our support for craft makers takes a new form that is more impactful for emerging makers and that is in line with our strategy of support that we are implementing across our arts programme. Our commitment to the craft sector remains steadfast and we believe that we can best positively impact future Irish craft makers of potential through this new structure, which is only possible thanks to the great partnership with DCCoI.”
A judging panel of five craft and design professionals chaired by Irish glass artist, Róisín de Buitléar, reviewed the applications and shortlisted nine candidates to attend interviews in the RDS in May. Physical examples of their work were shown to the panel and five winners were selected. In addition to the €10,000 bursary, the 2018 RDS Craft Awards winners will show their work to the public on a free stand at Gifted – The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair held in the RDS in December.
The RDS has also created a new €10,000 bursary called the RDS Irish Craft Bursary which will be managed by the DCCoI and will be open to its Portfolio programme selected makers.
The restructured RDS Craft Awards is aligned with the RDS Arts Work Programme goal of supporting artists to make the transition from emerging to professional practice. At €60,000, the RDS has doubled its direct annual support to Irish craft makers.