Ceramics Skills and Design Training Showcased to The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland hosts a visit of Their Royal Highnesses to the Ceramics Skills & Design Course in Thomastown
HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) Ceramics Skills & Design Course at Island Mill in Thomastown as part of their visit to Kilkenny on Thursday, 11th May 2017.
The visit allowed Their Royal Highnesses to see the unique facilities and learn more about the skills training offered at this idyllic location as students demonstrated the design and production processes involved in transforming clay into an array of ceramic work.
Established in 1990, the DCCoI Ceramics Skills & Design Course has achieved an excellent reputation in the industry both nationally and internationally. The two-year full-time programme, which is accredited through Maynooth University and managed through the DCCoI Education, Training & Development team, is designed to support quality and innovation in design and production and to equip graduates with the skills, practical knowledge and business acumen to develop careers in the ceramics industry.
Commenting on the visit, Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland said: “We are honoured to host this visit of Their Royal Highnesses to our school which has been developed into a centre of excellence in ceramics. The Prince of Wales has always been a passionate supporter of heritage crafts and an advocate for the training of traditional skills. Irish design and craft has achieved significant exposure both at home and internationally, particularly through the recent government-backed Irish Design 2015 initiative. Today’s visit will be instrumental in raising the profile of the quality of skills training available in Ireland and the importance of investing in the development of the next generation of makers, paving the way for a strong, innovative and dynamic craft and design sector into the future.”
Led and set up by Course Manager Gus Mabelson, who is also an active professional maker, the DCCoI Ceramics Skills & Design Course programme is continually evolving, responding to the needs of both the participating students and of industry in order to address the skills requirements of the future. The course specialises in production methods, clay and glaze technology, kiln theory and operation, surface treatments, drawing and design, the history of ceramics and contemporary practice. It sets out to give students a common set of skills, knowledge and understanding from which they create their own individual work and progress their technical competence.
Throughout the two-year programme, visiting tutors with specialist expertise deliver demonstrations and lectures, and external projects are undertaken to give students hands-on experience of working with clients. The course complements other Higher Education provision - the combination of environment, expertise in training and open access to industry standard facilities as well as the relevance of the formally-accredited curriculum to the ceramics industry makes this intensive two-year course unique within the ceramics landscape in Ireland. The DCCoI Ceramics Skills & Design Course and the neighbouring Grennan Mill Craft School are housed in The Island Mill, an 18th century grain mill in an inspiring location overlooking the River Nore in Thomastown which has a vibrant creative community across a breadth of craft and design disciplines.
Enrolment of 12 students is on a biennial basis, attracting applications from across Europe. Graduates of the course may progress to further training or travel to gain additional experience abroad while others develop their own studios. Alumni include internationally renowned and collected ceramicists such as Adam Buick, Karen Morgan, Derek Wilson, Sinead Lough and James Hake, as well as production potters such as Colm de Rís and Rosemarie Durr.
The course offering has recently expanded to include a residency programme through the introduction of a new fully equipped studio space to facilitate visiting artists and demonstrators, exposing students to best international practice. It continues to strengthen its links with industry both in Ireland and internationally, and regularly hosts workshops and conferences.
Building on the experience and success of their skills-based courses in ceramics at Island Mill and in jewellery and goldsmithing in Castle Yard, Kilkenny, DCCoI’s vision is to work with partner organisations in developing centres of excellence in other key disciplines to ensure industry needs are met through specialised training and access to state-of-the-art facilities, leading to an emerging workforce with the experience and expertise necessary for the ongoing development of craft and design in Ireland.
For further details, please visit www.ceramicscourse.ie
*Images to follow shortly
Notes to Editor
About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,200 registered clients. In collaboration with partner organisations, DCCoI convened Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Enterprise Ireland. ID2015, which emerged as an idea from the Global Irish Economic Forum in 2013, was a year-long programme exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design through signature events on the island of Ireland as well as in prestigious partner venues in international capitals of design and commerce throughout 2015.