The winners of the prestigious Design & Crafts Council Ireland ‘Future Makers Awards 2022’ have been announced at a ceremony at the National Gallery, Dublin.
The coveted winner of the Overall Future Makers Emerging Maker Award 2022 (€3,500) is fashion designer Michael Stewart, from Kilkishen in Co. Clare, now based in London.
Michael’s debut collection was shown at London Fashion Week (LFW) in September 2022. Ancient culture is a significant feature of his work, with ancient standing stones and the landscape of Ireland giving rich inspiration. By translating the ancient land and relics into a garment, they are animated and given form. Michael illustrates the exchange between body and landscape, reading the body as an intricate landscape and the landscape as a transforming body.
Established in 2009, Future Makers is a Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) initiative which recognises talent, potential and creativity. Its aim is to support the next generation of makers, designers and craftspeople at an early stage in their careers and enable them to move from training into enterprise. Future Makers is one of Europe’s largest prize-funded award programmes, with a total prize fund of €25,000.
Divided into student and emerging practitioner categories, 26 prizes are awarded to emerging makers, students and recent graduates in 10 categories. The Award winners come from a broad range of disciplines, including ceramics, fashion design, textiles, furniture making, homewares and jewellery design.
Funding categories include exhibition supports, studio supports, materials supports, travel and training supports, residencies/training supports, professional development supports along with two Overall Winner awards and two awards for Sustainable Design.
Previous award winners include 2021 overall winner, ceramicist Chloe Lennon, jeweller Genevieve Howard, fashion designers Natalie B. Coleman and Sorcha O’Raghallaigh, designer-maker Úna Burke, furniture designer Simon Doyle, ceramic artist Kate O’ Kelly and print block artist collective, ceramic artist and educator Owen Quinlan amongst many others.
According to Mary Jo Hoyne, Head of Craft & Education, Design & Crafts Council Ireland, “DCCI’s Future Makers Awards programme is one of Europe’s largest prize-funded award initiatives and recognises innovation and talent. It provides a platform to showcase promising emerging Irish designers, as well as granting much needed financial support. On behalf of Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, I congratulate the Future Makers here today and wish them every success as they shape the future of craft and design in Ireland. We look forward to accompanying you on that journey”.
Damien English TD, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail added, “The 2021 Economic Impact Assessment of the craft and design industries concluded that taking the design and crafts economy as a whole would result in the 8th largest industry in Ireland by number of enterprises and 10th largest by number of employees. The Future Makers Awards & Supports programme which provides vital funding to Irish Future Makers is essential in nurturing and developing continuous streams of new talent who will become part of this profitable sector, as well as showing budding makers that it is possible to have a flourishing career in craft and design.”
Dara O’ Leary, Arts Programme Manager at the RDS, also commented, “The Future Makers winners announced here today, join a select group of emerging Irish designers and craftspeople eligible to enter the annual RDS Craft Awards, which provides five significant bursaries of €10,000 each for talented makers at a formative stage in their careers. Winners will also have the opportunity to show their work to the public on a free stand at Gifted – The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair which takes place annually in the RDS. In addition, each winner is offered 6 x hours targeted mentoring with a craft & design professional. We look forward to welcoming the next group of talented Future Makers to the RDS”.
The Future Makers Awards were held as part of Design Week Ireland 2022. Supported and funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment and convened by Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI), Design Week Ireland 2022 is a national programme of events taking place from 14-18 November 2022. Throughout the week, DCCI will curate and host a series of events focussing on why design matters to the advancement of our economy and society and highlighting issues around diversity, sustainability, and inclusion. DCCI will also support and promote events across the island of Ireland designed to link with these themes, supporting design industry leaders and designers.