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The Venue

2017 RDS Craft Awards Judging Panel

The RDS Craft Awards judging panel is an independent panel of judges engaged by the RDS to assess and judge the competition. Each judge is an expert in their particular area and serves a maximum of three years, after which a new judge is nominated.


Neil Reid - Chairman of the Judging Panel

Neil is now retired and worked as the Head of the Department of Ceramics, Glass and Metals at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin since 1987. He has exhibited in Europe, China and North America. His work is held in public collections including The Irish National Collection, The National Museum of Ireland, The Royal Museum of Scotland, The Paisley Museum and Art Gallery (Scotland). Time, history, order and chaos inform his work. He has specialised in the Raku process for several years but uses his visits to Jindezhen to explore new techniques and processes. 


Mary Butcher Image

Mary Butcher – Basketry Category

A former Zoologist, Mary has used willow and rush, our traditional materials, to make functional items for local markets. A Research Fellowship at Manchester Metropolitan University alerted her to a wealth of new creative possibilities. Now an artist basketmaker, she uses natural materials, plastics, wire, strings, cardboard strips and paper to make containers, willow drawings and sculptures in a wide variety of scales and forms. Mary was Craft Council Designer in Residence at the V&A in 2009, was awarded an MBE for services to basketmaking in 2012, and was one of two Crafts Skills Champions, in 2013. This is Mary’s third year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.

Gillian Hazeldine

Gillian Hazeldine – Calligraphy Category

Jilly is a Fellow of the Society of Scribes & Illuminators (SSI) and a Full Member of Letter Exchange. Originally trained in graphic design, she worked in advertising in London for twenty years before beginning calligraphy. Her work has been published in many books and journals and she teaches in Europe and the UK at all levels. She is co-author of the SSI's Calligraphy Correspondence Course and author of Contemporary Calligraphy, published in 2011 by Robert Hale.This is Gillian’s third year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


Claire Curneen – Ceramics Category

One of Europe's leading figurative ceramic artists, Claire’s work is held in many public collections including the V&A, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the National Museum Wales and The Mint Museum of Craft & Design USA. In 2011 she was awarded an Ambassador Award from the Arts Council of Wales, to spend time studying the ceramics collection at the National Museum of Ireland. Claire’s most impressive skill is her ability to convey emotion in clay, with almost Rembrandt-esque intensity. Claire grew up in Kerry and is now based in Cardiff, where she is also Senior Lecturer in Ceramics at Cardiff Metropolitan University. This is Claire’s third time as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.

Philip Wood Image

Philip Wood – Ceramics Category

A former student of both the Farnham School of Art and the Royal College of Art, Philip now runs the Linden Mead studio in Whatley, Somerset. First attracted to pottery through stoneware, he discovered over time that the English tradition of earthenware suited him best. He believes this is because of his own Englishness, and that earthenware is in his blood, like instinct and inherited memory. A fellow of the CPA, Philip has had his work showcased all over the world, including at the Gallery St Ives in Tokyo (2013) and the British Fair in Osaka (2013). He was also a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art and the Bath Academy of Art, amongst others. This is Philip's third year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


Jenny Trigwell Image

Jenny Trigwell – Embellished Textiles Category

Born in the UK, Jenny studied Fashion Textile Design (BA) at Central/St Martins and at the invitation of the Irish Government joined Kilkenny Design Workshops to assist Textile producers across 32 counties to ‘Develop and Improve Design standards for Export’. She has developed three retail shops for KDW, designed international print collections for Fieldcrest and Bloomingdales, USA, and acts as a consultant to several Irish companies in different Design disciplines, including Digital Print in Textiles, Paper and Craft goods. She is also an illustrator, with work including paper products for UNICEF Geneva. Jenny is a member of the Colour Group UK and has lectured at NCAD, Limerick School of Art & Design, and the Cleveland Institute of Art, USA.This is Jenny's second year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


Andrea Cleary Image

Andrea Cleary – Constructed Textiles Category

Currently Andrea is a full-time lecturer in Visual art Education in St Patrick’s College DCU, a specialist in the area of Fibre art. Felt making is at the core of her practice as an artist and works in a sculptural way with fibre and mixed Media. Her career has spanned working in the commercial world of fashion design, textile related interior design, healthcare design (Craft Design Challenge 2012) and development of large scale site specific Fibre Sculpture. Andrea received awards for large scale felt sculptures as part of Sculpture in Context 2007 and 2011 both awards for sculpture of distinction in any medium.
This is Andrea’s second year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.

John Jenkins Image

John Jenkins – Furniture Category

Born in Pembroke, John has studied in High Wycombe and at the Royal College of Art’s School of Furniture in London. Inspired by the fine craft furniture makers whose roots were based in the Arts and Crafts movement, many hours were spent ‘at the bench’, where the artist gained a true insight into the traditions of the craft of furniture making. He has worked with craft based workshops, and large scale manufacturers, in many countries throughout the world, which helped him to acquire an understanding of how important it is to comprehend not only how things are made, and how much they cost to make, but how to get them to the market place at the right price – whatever that might be. This is John’s third year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


Karl Harron_Glass

Karl Harron – Glass Category

Born in Belfast in 1953 Karl is a respected and successful master glassmaker now based in Northern Ireland. His work is characterized by clean lines and bold, volumetric forms, whilst never losing touch with the materials and processes of its’ creation. The work draws explicitly on vernacular traditions of making, but is infused with an entirely contemporary sensibility, which refers to the depth of skill needed in order to produce clean, simple forms with such conviction. His work is held in private, corporate and public collections throughout the world.This is Karl’s second year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


Rudolph Heltzel

Rudolf Heltzel – Jewellery Category

Over the past six decades Rudolph has gained an international reputation for the originality and quality of his work, each piece having a timeless aesthetic, crafted meticulously by hand using some of the world’s oldest jewellery techniques. His timeless designs and impeccable workmanship have won him international acclaim. Rudolf came to Ireland 50 years ago at the invitation of the Irish Export Board, tasked with introducing good design and industry practices through the Kilkenny Design Workshop initiative. After his two year commitment he chose to stay, making the city of Kilkenny his beloved home. Over five decades he has established an unrivalled position in the evolution of modern Irish jewellery. His influence has been profound, contributing not only his unique aesthetic but his masterful skills, training and advice. For Rudolf, jewellery making is part of a living cultural heritage and he takes inspiration from nature, history, geology and symbolism of precious metals and stones.This is Rudolph's second year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.

Rachel Tuffy_Knitting

Rachel Tuffy – Constructed Textiles Category

Rachel studied textile design in London specialising in woven textiles. She has worked as a freelance designer with companies who produce fabric for interiors, including John Lewis and ran her own company “Rachel O'Connell Textiles” from 1999 to 2004, producing woven interior accessories. Since 2002 she has lectured in Textiles Design in NCAD and has worked on several collaborative projects including projects with Folk Nepal and the Association of Craft Producers of Nepal (ACP) and as part of a multidisciplinary team developing textiles for the new patient rooms in the Mater Hospital as part of the Craft Innovation Challenge, 2012.This is Rachel’s second year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.

Jacquie Tinch Image

Jacquie Tinch – Constructed Textiles Category

A lacemaker for over 35 years and a teacher for 30, Jacquie had her first glimpse of bobbin lace while studying fashion at art school. With an interest in handiwork for as long as she can remember, she has now studied with many of the top lace tutors. Although she specialises in bobbin lace, Jacquie is also proficient in the different skills needed for other types of lace work. Through teaching, she has had the opportunity to study in places such as Canada and Spain, where she also meets her fellow lacemakers. Jacquie won the Individual's Trophy in The Lace Guild's Triennial Competition in 2004 for the best piece of lace. She has also acted as an Assessor and Moderator for their Assessment scheme, and was their Honorary Chairman from 2012 to 2015. This is Jacquie’s third year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


Roger Millar Image

Roger Millar – Silversmithing & Metalwork Category

Having studied the craft at Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, Roger has practised silversmithing for over fifty years. For much of that time he has passed on his knowledge in colleges and universities in Ireland and abroad. He works mainly to commission, and has pieces of commemorative and ceremonial silver in public and private collections. Roger exhibits widely, showing more practical work that he hopes clients will use and enjoy on a frequent basis.  He is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and the City of London, and was awarded an Honorary Professorship by the University of Glasgow for his services to design and craft education. This is Roger’s third year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


Helen McAlinden Image

Helen McAlinden – Embellished Textiles Category

Helen is one of Ireland's best known fashion designers. She is known for a classic, minimal approach to style, with a focus on the needs of real women. Elegant contemporary clothing, in luxury fabrics which work for a modern lifestyle. Helen studied at Ulster University and UMIST before starting her career as a freelance fashion designer and launched eponymous label in 2001. Tatler awarded her designer of the year 2010. The graceful and flattering cut of her collections has won column inches.

Helen also designs homewares for Foxford Woollen Mills, and loves working with an Irish heritage brand. This is Helen’s second year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.

Simon Hope Image

Simon Hope – Woodturning Category
Simon has been woodturning from the age of eleven. At twenty-six, he was the youngest to be on the register of professional turners. Fourteen years on, Simon has vast experience in demonstrating to woodturning clubs across the UK and Europe, including being a full presenter for the UK premier seminar at Loughbourgh University (twice), and the Irish main seminar, along with many other shows in Germany and Austria. He has also served as a tutor for La Mounlin in France. Simon also specialises in making Scottish small pipes, and these pipes have been played around the world. This is Simon’s third year as a judge of the RDS Craft Awards.


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