It really has been a year for Irish design in Venice. Following the huge success of Grafton Architect’s curation of the behemoth that is the Venice Biennale of Architecture that runs from May to November this year – the first Irish architecture firm to do so – now it’s the turn of the makers to take centre stage.
Home Faber is a sprawling show of Europe’s finest makers that looks at the human hands and craft behind some of the world’s creative brands. It’s a chance for them to show off their exceptional skills and the value of quality design, passion and craftsmanship. It kicks off this year from September 14 to 30.
The 2018 show will see six Irish creatives display their work, from basketweaving and ceramics to sculpture and silversmithing. Here’s a look at who will be flying the flag this weekend.
Róisín de Buitléar
Award-winning glass artist Roísín de Buitléar has had a busy year so far. She’s the first-ever artist in residence for the National Museum of Ireland, using a studio on site where she’s been creating new work, curating in-house projects and working on outreach programs. Taking some time out to attend Homo Faber, Roísín’s work has a poetic dimension through her understanding of how light and shadows refract through her sculptural glasswork, even adding intricately detailed engravings that appear in different lights.
Considered Ireland’s finest basketmaker, the Galway-based Joe Hogan grows and harvests his own willow, finding time to teach basketmaking courses in between creating his functional and bespoke baskets, often incorporating branches of birch, bog myrtle, catkins, lichens and other wild materials into this designs.
Based in Dublin, Irish ceramicist Jennifer Hickey will be showing her ‘Entwined’ piece at Homo Faber this year. Made from bone china pieces hand-sewn together to create the unusual sculptural form, Jennifer’s pieces are delicate yet robust. Of showing at Homo Faber, Jennifer says, “I am so excited to be part of such a strong Irish group of makers that have been selected for the Homo Faber exhibition. It is such an honour to be showing at the first major exhibition showcasing the very best European craftsmanship.”
Last year’s Image Interiors & Living Design Award winner for best collectors’ piece, Cara Murphy has recently combined her detailed silversmithing with vitreous enamel work from her Lisburn studios. She recently displayed her collection of 100 tiny enamelled bowls at the Ulster Museum, which she’ll also be bringing to Homo Faber.
This Cork-based sculptor works predominantly in porcelain, capturing the unusual and irregular patterns found in nature, finding inspiration in plants, seeds and aquatic organisms like coral. Her work reflects the natural geometry and its fraction through life experience.
A nominee for this year’s Image Interiors & Living Design Award Home Product of the Year, Sasha Sykes is a London-based furniture maker with a twist – she imbues nature into all of her creations, quite literally. Using acrylic and resins, she preserves organic matter such as leaves and flowers and even bird’s nest to create strong sculptural pieces.