Lacemaker Wins RDS Branchardière Award

28 Apr 2021 | 04.00 pm

Lacemaker Wins RDS Branchardière Award

Fiona Harrington recognised for innovation in the craft

28 Apr 2021 | 04.00 pm

Lacemaker and visual artist Fiona Harrington has been awarded the RDS Branchardière Lace Bursary in a collaboration between the Design and Crafts Council and the Royal Dublin Society.

Harrington (pictured)  is a curator and a researcher who has received numerous international awards including the Thomas Dammann Bursary, the RDS Graduate Prize, and a National Craft Award for Lacemaking.

Her work has been exhibited widely and she has travelled extensively giving talks and demonstrations on Irish lace. These include events at the Textile Arts Centre, New York, 2018 and Straight Out of Ireland exhibition, Philadelphia, 2019.

The bursary, worth €8,000, is funded by the RDS and administered by the DCCI, and is a new award arising from the reorganisation of the RDS Craft Awards in 2018, which omitted any category for lacemaking.

It’s named after influential French 19th century lacemaker Eleonore Riego De La Branchardière, whose 72 books on needlework revolutionised the world of lace and had a major influence on fashion in the Victorian era.

Harrington began training in lacemaking as an intern in Kenmare Lace & Design Centre in 2012. Her studio project for her MA was titled Irish Lace: Contradiction, Complexity and Commodity, and explored the relationship between domestic activity and female labour, examining how lace was often used to both control and liberate women.

DCCI chief executive Rosemary Steen said: “DCCI is delighted to collaborate with the RDS on the Branchardière Lace Bursary and to congratulate such an esteemed and worthy winner as Fiona Harrington. The reinstatement of the bursary represents DCCI’s commitment to support the wider Irish craft and design sector by presenting career-changing opportunities for makers to invest time in their creative process.”

RDS chief executive Geraldine Ruane added: “Fiona Harrington has been positioning lace within the context of contemporary art and design for many years and with her recent inclusion in the Michelangelo Foundation’s prestigious Homo Faber Guide strengthens her international profile, helping to progress and preserve Irish lace in the 21st century.”

Pic: Orla Murray/Coalesce 

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