Design & Crafts Council Ireland and partners, in association with Kilkenny Arts Festival present


Generation is an exhibition of objects and textiles designed and created using inherited traditions of creativity and innovation. It invites us to consider the unique perspective of a group of Irish-based designer-makers who are custodians of craft traditions, continuing and/or reinventing the work begun by previous generations of their family. Generation is open at National Design & Craft Gallery from 30 July to 25 October 2020.

For these eight designer-makers, tradition is not static; it is in constant movement. The exhibition traces ways in which their cultural legacy is defined, or sometimes re-defined, as they navigate contemporary studio practices and workshops. Each is inspired by the work and craft tradition of earlier generations or has learned unique skills which they now apply to contemporary practice. Silversmith Cara Murphy’s bowls, each bursting with colour and texture, are created using basse taille enamelling and deep drawing techniques learnt from sharing a studio with her parents Deirdre and Michael McCrory. Mourne Textiles draws from designs and skills of three generations of master-weavers and uses centuries-old techniques for pieces that have a decidedly modern sensibility. Following his father Edgar who worked at Aldermaston Pottery for over 30 years which revived the art of lustreware pottery, ceramicist Mark Campden continues to develop contemporary reduced pigment lustreware, an exploration that is equally rewarding and challenging.

Generation is also accessible as a virtual exhibition to experience from home. The virtual exhibition consists of interviews with the eight featured makers, exhibitor slideshows with audio introductions from the curators, online workshops for children and adults, and essays exploring the influences and theme of the exhibition. These virtual experiences are available on and are shared through the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram platforms (@NDCGallery) and on Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@DCCIreland).

Curated by Frances McDonald and Muireann Charleton, Generation explores how generational relationships and personal histories have encouraged an added sense of responsibility, influenced aesthetic considerations and helped shape overall narratives. Focusing on the idea that making matters, the exhibition reminds us that within any medium, the importance of making and respect for tradition remains at the heart of these family enterprises.

Supported by RTÉ Supporting the Arts and Pembroke Kilkenny

Photo credit: Dylan Vaughan