Now needless to say, I don’t get to many awards ceremonies so it’s always a pleasure to go to the Golden Fleece Award ceremony at Dublin Castle. This prestigious award was set up in 2001 and, since then, has awarded close to €300,000 to artists and craftspeople in the various artistic disciplines in Ireland. It was established by the late Helen Lillias Mitchell who was an artist, a craftsperson, a teacher – and a true patron of the arts.
To quote from her Letter of Wishes to the trustees of the Golden Fleece Award:
“It has always been my wish that those with talent be encouraged to develop their talents, particularly in Ireland … I am very conscious of the fact that many artists cannot develop their talents because their art does not bring in a steady income for them and yet they need to support themselves financially … My wish is to give artists a ‘boost’ in times of particular need … I have set up this trust [for] artists in need who are interested in pursuing their careers as artists.”
Well, at the ceremony on Tuesday, last year’s winner Siliena Coyle told us how the award had helped her. She was able to attend a conference in America which brought her to the attention of several international crafts organisations, she was invited to show her work at another conference in Beijing… her career has gone from strength to strength. It’s fair to say I think, that the ‘boost’ she got from the Golden Fleece Award was far-reaching.
This year’s winner was Jennifer Trouton who has been exploring the personal histories found in everyday interior spaces. “Recently, I have been focusing on wallpaper and fabrics”, she writes, “playing on their comforting familiarity to tell wider, universal stories of class-warfare, of diasporas brought about by economic circumstance and of the women who bore the brunt of societal changes not of their making”.
The Special Merit award winners were Liam Flynn, Gerry Davis and Sara Flynn. Here are some images of their work below…
In his address to the assembly, Neil Read, chairman of the judging panel, noted that there is always three elements involved in the work – art, craft and design – and he praised the high standard attained by the finalists in each of those elements. Read further about the Golden Fleece Award at: