Monumentality/Fragility - European Prize Applied Art - Kilkenny - 9th February - 23rd June 2019


The Irish Times, Sat, Mar 2, 2019

The multi-venue European exhibition of contemporary crafts in two Kilkenny locations features 74 makers from 19 European countries, including seven Irish craftmakers.

For the 2018 edition of the European Prize for Applied Arts, artists were invited to draw inspiration from the paradoxical nature of a dual theme of monumentality and fragility, proposed by BeCraft (previously World Crafts Council – Belgique Francophone). WCC-Europe president Louise Allen observes: “As we navigate our way through uncertain times, this exhibition seeks to remind us of the fragility of our shared European community,” and exhibiting in Kilkenny “provides an environment for exchange and dialogue that contributes to our shared understanding of how culture can help to build community and bring cohesion”.The showcase of over 170 exceptional objects, in partnership with the Office of Public Works, will be displayed at two locations: the National Design & Craft Gallery, Castle Yard and Kilkenny Castle. Over 600 craftmakers from across Europe responded to the open call, and 74 were selected. Ireland is the only country to host this exhibition outside of Belgium.

Ceramicist Nicola Kelly uses monumentality and fragility to explore loss and death, here showing a monument of 512 perilously stacked porcelain objects, corresponding to the number of days her partner survived from diagnosis to death.

Design & Craft Council of Ireland, Monumentality / Fragility

European Prize for Applied Arts 

Delicate robustness, provocative innocence, abundance and vulnerability... Artists were invited to draw inspiration from the paradoxical nature of the dual theme, Monumentality / Fragility, proposed by BeCarft (formerly: the World Crafts Council – Belgique Francophone, WCC-BF) for the 2018 edition of the European Prize for Applied Arts. Six hundred makers from across the Europe applied to the open call from which 77 makers from 19 European countries were selected by an expert jury. The seven Irish participants will be jewellers Eimear Conyard and Annmarie Reinhold; basketmaker Joe Hogan; silversmith Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill; ceramicist Nicola Kelly; and textile artists Caroline Schofield and Niki Collier.

The European Prize for Applied Arts aims to reward the best creations of contemporary expression in applied arts and craftsmanship. The exhibitors and the winners of the WCC-BF Master Prize (€3,500) and the WCC-Europe Young Talent Prize (€3,000) are chosen by international experts on the basis of criteria of artistic merit, technical mastery and innovation. Taking place every three years, the European Prize for Applied Arts exhibition was launched in the Grand Hall, Mons Anciens Abattoirs in Belgium on 20th October 2018. An initiative of the WCC-BF in partnership with: Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles; the City of Mons; WCC-Europe and WCC-International.

Meath Chronicle, Tuesday, 20th November, 2018

Kilkenny to host international contemporary crafts show next year.

Waterford City & County Council's Arts resource site

DCCOI, Press Releases

Significant European exhibition to open across two locations in Kilkenny in February 2019

The final installation in The Design Yard, Kilkenny…..

The final installation in The Design Yard, Kilkenny…..



The body of work, 267/512, will be exhibited at WCC-BF, Site des Anciens Abattoirs, Rue de la Trouille, 17/02, B-7000 Mons, Belgium from 21st October 2018 to 20th January 2019 as part of European Prize Applied Art.



In 2009, due to the lack of visibility the European Craft Sector, WCC Belgium Francophile (WCC- BF) in partnership with the City of Mons and World Crafts Council Europe organized the European Prize for Applied Arts. It was seen as a unifying and promotional event that would raise awareness of the skills and role of craftsmanship in the 21st century across the EU. This initiative, has run every 3 years since 2009. The need for and importance of this event is underpinned by the level of interest from craftspeople. In 2009, almost 600 artists from 28 European countries responded to the call for entries.


Sea Spell

The endeavor for artistic expression has always formed an integral part of my life. Foundations were laid down very early. Painting with my mother, the attempt to master various craft skills that occupied much time are recollected as experiences of total immersion. Opportunities for an academic direction denied against the cold stark economic realities of the 1980’s in Ireland.


Hours spent watching the Master Potter, magically creative, fed my curiosity against the backdrop of a dull career. The hand of the maker provided the key to unlocking a whole world of wonderful creative possibility. The fascination with the process of heat-work, the green flames produced during a reduction firing, conjuring the lore of the dragon, that vital energy of a beautiful pot reflected in the throwing rings of its maker, these became my tools. I was introduced to an ancient medium, one that while fragile does not rot or perish but instead can offer a means to navigate our past and provide a canvas for many contemporary artists who recognize its potential.

A little boat trip, a short walk and a small-enchanted Island frame the story of the outreach Visual Arts Degree programme I did finally under-take and completed with first class honours in 2014. My journey has come full circle but my practice now uses a broader media palette. What has become vital in my work can be described by Sol LeWit, “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work […. “, now the use of ceramics within my work holds a more pertinent conviction and relevant direction. These ideas are reflected in my award-winning thesis Fragility and Permanence: The Subversive Possibilities of Clay in Contemporary Art.

A rugged coastline, a spectacular view of Roaring Water Bay, prolific Fuchsia magellanica and brightly painted houses is where I live. West Cork has a big landscape with big views of Kerry’s tall mountains to the west and a rocky Island studded coastline to the south. It’s a place of immense beauty, a place with deep secrets and a place that is truly inspirational. To swim in its waters focuses mindfulness in me. There is no other element that lightens the heaviness of our being and that can transform and expand our intuitive earthly limitations. This is what I seek to capture in my work.