John Lee Announced as winner of the Golden Fleece Award 2017
Wave III - Sculptural sideboard in Solid Oak featuring contrasting smooth and textured surfaces
Furniture Designer John Lee has been announced as the winner of the Golden Fleece Award 2017.
The Golden Fleece Award is an independent artistic prize fund established as a charitable bequest by the late Helen Lillias Mitchell.
The mission of the Golden Fleece Award is to provide resources for practicing Irish craft and visual artists aspiring to innovate and to develop their artistic vision. It aims to help outstanding artists needing support at strategic stages of their careers.
The award is intended for artists working in the area of figurative visual art or of craft and applied arts. They will normally live and carry out their creative work on the island of Ireland or will otherwise have strong artistic connections with Ireland.
John Lee established his workshop in 2004 in Co. Meath, Ireland having studied at the Furniture College, GMIT Letterfrack, Co. Galway, where he graduated with Distinction in 1993 and received the ‘Student of the Year’ award. In 1994, he won the Irish National Apprentice Cabinet-Making Competition. John’s the third generation cabinetmaker in his family.
John has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, including exhibiting at SOFA Chicago, COLLECT in the Saatchi Gallery, London and DESIGN BASEL in Switzerland. His work can be found in numerous private collections and museums which include his “Carrigeen” tallboy and “Core” low table in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.
In 2011 John was the winner of the Irish Crafts Council Bursary Award and in the same year won the prestigious commission to design and make the new Irish Presidential Inauguration Chair which was used in the inauguration ceremony of President Michael D Higgins and intended for use in future Presidential Inaugurations.
Inspired by naturally occurring geometric forms, his current work is exploring the enhancement of timber’s natural properties whilst experimenting with form, function and finish. Concentrating on making his furniture more sensually appealing, Lee is investigating textured finishes by exposing the timbers natural grain patterns on his dynamic forms. This dynamism is most evident in his recent work; in this work he methodically and with great dexterity creates a ‘twist’ in the plane of many of his pieces. In creating this change he takes great care to ensure that the proportion and scale of the manipulation is correct and deftly crafted. Observers of these pieces may be drawn to the changes in plane, the curves of the drawers and the ‘rightness’ of the proportion but they will delight with the detail; drawers that effortlessly open, finely finished jointing and beautifully understated leather lined drawers all combine to make this furniture that will occupy a special place in the mind of all who see it.
Golden Fleece Awards 2017
Golden Fleece Award: John Lee Furniture Design
Special Award: Fiona Mulholland Sculpture and Jewellery
Merit Awards: Gerry Davis Painting / Nuala O'Donovan Ceramics / Chloë Dowds Ceramics / Yanny Petters Painting on Glass