Masters of their profession: the online event showcases skills passed down from generation to generation


There is no doubt that a knack for getting things done works in families. Sometimes it’s as simple as skills passed down from generation to generation. Often it’s a bit more complicated. I know a ceramist known for her meticulous work. Each piece is sanded and fired more times than it wants to mention.

Where did you find your talent from? ”I asked, in that typical Irish way. We always think talent has to come from somewhere. She laughed.“ I always wondered, until I did. ‘examine my family history, “she said.” The gravediggers on one side and the lace-makers on the other! ”

How craftsmanship is passed down through families is the subject of Generation, an exhibition scheduled to take place at the National Design and Craft Gallery this spring. Currently, it is a virtual event, broadcast episodically on Facebook and Instagram.

For some exhibitors, the lines of inheritance are simple. Cara Murphy, a silversmith from Hillsborough, County Down, shares a workshop with her goldsmith father, Michael McCrory. Both work at the end of the fine art spectrum, although they use traditional skills, and Murphy makes extraordinary sculptural tableware (starting at € 260 for a 3cm bowl). His talents as a goldsmith were passed on to him by his father; the enamelling she learned from her mother. Deirdre McCrory, say hello.

A little further south, in Emyvale, Co. Monaghan, Ryan Connolly makes custom furniture (starting at € 630 for a side table) at his father’s business, Connolly Furniture Ltd .

“My dad found his niche as a furniture maker, building a successful home furniture manufacturing business,” Connolly writes. “It was Ireland in the ’70s and’ 80s, there was only room for function. If you took the time to do something with your hands, it was made to last. Nothing was done. wasted. being able to continue to embed my father’s values ​​into my own work, I feel like I’m going to stay on a sustainable path. “

The history of Morne Textiles, producer of contemporary woven textiles, began in 1947 when Norwegian weaver and designer Gerd Hay-Edie came to Ireland and set up her workshop on the edge of Carlingford Lough. She was an extremely knowledgeable person and throughout the 1950s made hand-woven upholstery fabrics for furniture designed by Robin Day and produced by Hille.

She once described her design process: “I’m the fashion in newspapers and magazines. Then I let it flow until you realize that from the current designs comes the next development. For me, the past follows the future. “

It’s a comment that is still relevant today for his grandson, Mario Sierra, who now runs the business with his mother, Karen Prescott.

“There were some incredibly vivid colors in his fabrics,” says Sierra. “She called them bright colors. When you put them on the loom, you wondered – where did it come from? But then the fabric was woven and you could see the balance in it.”


Enamel knots by Cara Murphy

Enamel knots by Cara Murphy

Mourne Textiles cushions start at around € 86; covers are at € 223; and the upholstery is around 206 € per meter.

One of the key concepts of Generation is the dynamic relationship between the future and the past. The exhibitors, according to craftsman Glenn Adamson, were “assembled on the basis of two criteria: the avant-garde qualities of their work and the legacy each has received from their own family. In the exhibition we see how the first of these is nourished by the second; the way in which experimentation is based on transmitted knowledge. “

There’s a similar story – albeit unrelated (ahem) to the Generation exhibit – behind the designs of Olga Shevchenko, a Russian designer based in London, who launched Olenka, a household goods brand dedicated to handcrafted heritage. Russian. It started with wallpaper designs inspired by Khokhloma art and has recently spread to lampshades. The fabrics will follow. Olenka wallpaper costs around € 136 for a 10-meter roll; the lampshades are 110 €.

Generation is organized by Frances McDonald and Muireann Charleton. The other exhibitors are: Hugo Byrne, Mark Campden, Róisín de Buitléar, Alla Sinkevich and Katharine West. See @NDCGallery and @DCCIreland. See also,,


Karen Prescott and Mario Sierra from Morne Textiles

Karen Prescott and Mario Sierra from Morne Textiles

Karen Prescott and Mario Sierra from Morne Textiles

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