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The Venue

28 May 2019

2019 RDS Craft Awards Announced

  • Major boost for five emerging Irish craft makers
  • €10,000 prize for skills & business development
  • Judges praise calibre of awardees

Today, (Tuesday May 28th) five emerging Irish craftspeople were each awarded a €10,000 RDS Craft Awards Bursary for the development for their burgeoning craft and business skills at a lunch in the RDS Members’ Club. Róisín de Buitléar chaired a top-class judging panel that awarded the five prizes to Alla Sinkevich (Textiles) originally from Ukraine now living in Dublin, Sinead Brennan (Glass) from Wexford, Edward Coveney (Furniture) from Dublin, Egle Banyte (Jewellery) originally from Lithuania now living in Belfast and Genevieve Howard (Jewellery) from Dublin. The bursaries were presented following an examination of work and an interview process to give financial support at a critical time in their developing professional career. The funds can be spent on further education and training, research, development of new work, mentoring, purchase of equipment, studio improvements, technology, their website and residencies.

Michael Duffy RDS Chief Executive said, “We are delighted to be able to contribute to the development and growth of the standards of excellence in the Irish craft sector through enabling these talented people to excel in their careers. The craft sector is an integral way in which the RDS fulfils our mission of contributing to a thriving Ireland, so we look forward to seeing all they achieve in the future, both in creating beautiful pieces but also in developing their businesses.”

A judging panel of five craft and design professionals chaired by Irish artist, Róisín de Buitléar, reviewed the applications and shortlisted nine candidates to interview in the RDS. Physical examples of their work were shown and five winners were selected. In addition to the €10,000 bursary, the 2019 RDS Craft Awards winners are provided with a free stand at Gifted – The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair held in the RDS December 4th-8th 2019.

Róisín de Buitléar Chair of the judging panel said: “The jury was impressed by the awardees clarity of expression, artistic integrity, and very high-quality craftsmanship. Their individual commitment to their craft practice was passionate and professional in approach. The final choice was unanimous, and four of the five awardees are women. The choice reflects cross cultural influences, national and international applicants and a variety of craft areas

2019 RDS Craft Awards Bursary recipients

Alla Sinkevich - Textiles

“I am extremely grateful and humbled to receive the RDS Craft Award. It is a huge boost to my confidence as a recent graduate and designer-maker at the turning point of my career. 

The prize will enable me to purchase high quality sustainable materials and equipment to help create a new body of work. This award makes a big difference to my creative development and sustainable design practice. 

I wish to thank RDS, the judging panel and everyone involved for their support and generosity.” 



Edward Coveney  - Furniture

“It's truly appreciated and affirming to know that our fusion of sculpture, functionality and celebration of the natural material has found recognition.

Thank you for recognising me as a craft maker and my business Elements of Action.

The award will support our Elements of Action studio expansion, allowing me to get more space and better safety equipment.”



Genevieve Howard – Jewellery

“My work draws on different elements which fuse aspects of traditional design with digital technology. As I come from a musical family and had training as a classical pianist before entering Art College. The RDS craft award will enable me to take my craft more seriously with a view to developing a strong career for the future. I can now fully focus on my craft and on developing new work which I am in the process of doing during my MFA at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.” https://www.genevievehowarddesign.com/


Egle Banyte – Jewellery

“I’m delighted to receive this prestigious award. As I’ve striven to create pieces whose aesthetic lies in craftsmanship, precision and authenticity, gaining this recognition from such a respected panel of judges is a powerful boost for me in the early stages of my career. As a Lithuanian craftsperson putting down roots in Ireland an award from the RDS has a particular significance in making me feel a part of a vibrant and welcoming cultural environment.”



Sinead Brennan – Glass

“My work has evolved through my research of how women’s positions in Western society have been constructed through concepts of female empowerment, objectification and suppression. I have contextualised these ideas with the use of iconography, symbolism and textual materials, each denoting specific male and female societal roles.

I'm grateful for the opportunity this award has afforded me in helping to grow as an artist. I look forward to using the award to aid my creative projects and artistic development.” https://www.sineadbrennanglass.com/





2019 Judging Panel: Róisín de Buitléar (Artist & Chair), Annie Warburton (CEO Cockpit Arts, London & Vice Chair), Sara Flynn (Artist), John Tynan (Head of Education & Training, DCCoI), Siobhán Riordan (Managing Director, Alan Ardiff Jewellery).



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