Hammered silver bowl takes top prize at craft show


AMONG THE prize-winning entries at the RDS National Crafts Competition yesterday was an Olympic saddle, jewellery based on Mexican military insignia and a striking textile embroidered with wolves, hearts and figureheads.

The overall winner of the RDS Award of Excellence worth €7,000 and California Gold Medal was Cara Murphy of Hillsborough, Co Down, for Disperse, a large, hammered silver bowl with six seed heads “growing” through it. It is priced at €7,900.

The daughter of a renowned silversmith, Murphy trained in Glasgow and London, and is a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Her award-winning work is in many public and private collections, including 10 Downing Street in London.

The €1,000 Olympic saddle, weighing less than four kilos, took first prize in the leatherwork category and the €3,500 Award of Excellence Reserve and was made by Thomas Berney. He is a fifth-generation craftsman from an Irish saddlery firm in Kilcullen, Co Kildare, which was founded in 1880. This is the first time a Berney has entered the competition.

The prize fund of €26,000 is one of the largest for craft in Europe, according to the judging panel chairman Neil Read, and the biggest number of entries this year was in the jewellery and ceramics categories. “This competition is an extremely important event in Ireland’s creative calendar. It enriches the State culturally, aesthetically and economically,” he said.

The exhibition travels to Cruachan Aí heritage centre in Tulsk, Co Roscommon, in September and Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co Kilkenny in October.

A National Craft Trail with 80 studios around Ireland open to the public will be launched later in the year.