Emerging jeweller Noreen McGuire, who is from Mohill, is among a group of 12 graduates who will have their work featured in Aurea, an exhibition of stunning silversmithing work and precious jewellery in gold, silver and gems that will open at the National Design & Craft Gallery in Kilkenny on Friday, 12 July.
The exhibitionwill present pieces designed and created by the 2019 graduates of DCCoI’s renowned Jewellery & Goldsmithing Course, showcasing the high level of craftsmanship and unique skills honed by the students during the intensive two-year programme at DCCoI’s Centre of Excellence in Jewellery & Goldsmithing.
Aurea will be officially opened by Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, and runs until Monday, 5 August.
Noreen McGuire graduated from Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork in 2007, with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, specialising in Sculpture. She attended the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin for postgraduate study and, in 2010, graduated with an MA in Design History and Material Culture with Distinction.
In 2011, Noreen began work at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and then began to take jewellery-making classes in Morley College London.
Noreen then left London to live in Florence where she studied at Metallo Nobile. In 2018, Noreen’s design was selected by a jury and commissioned as the trophy to be presented to the winner of the 2019 Ceres Award for Lifetime Achievement in Agriculture as part of the Talamh Smart Agriculture Awards; this will be a perpetual award.
Noreen hopes to gain further experience within the jewellery industry in Ireland and abroad before setting up her own jewellery company.
During the past two years, the 12 students have worked solely in precious metals with gemstones. They have been encouraged to push boundaries in techniques and to create innovative designs which will be evident in the almost 100 pieces on display in Aurea. The exhibition will also showcase the technical ability and design aesthetics of each of the graduates, including 12 intricate rings set with a single coloured gemstone. Each of these rings will be housed in its own bespoke presentation box, inspired by a decade from the past 120 years and illustrating each graduate’s individual approach to a common brief.
Visitors to the gallery will have an opportunity to purchase some of this beautiful work with jewellery collections ranging in price from approximately €60 to €300 and bespoke one-off pieces on offer from €1,000.
The public will also have the chance to attend talks by the graduates and try their hand at jewellery making during the exhibition’s run: a free Meet the Makers evening will feature the graduates talking about the work, techniques and skills they developed during the course, and there will be a silver jewellery workshop for teens, a Craft Club for 5- to 13-year-olds and adult ring making workshops.
In 2019, DCCoI’s Centre of Excellence in Jewellery & Goldsmithing collaborated for a second time with the Kilkenny Group on a design competition for the students. During a four-week period earlier this year, the students designed and produced their own signature neckpiece/pendant, the design of which would be used to influence a product range suitable for sale with this renowned retailer.
Following a presentation and selection process, four of the students – Eve Doyle, David McCauley, Mark Newman and Jodie White – were shortlisted to have their collections showcased in the windows of the flagship Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street, Dublin and made available to buy in-store for the month of September 2019. The overall winner of the design competition will be announced in October.
Eimear Conyard, Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design Course Manager, said: “Aurea showcases the skills and creative talent that have been developed with these emerging makers over the last two years. A particular highlight of this year’s exhibition is a collection of gold gemset rings and each of these is housed in its own bespoke silver and gold box incorporating a variety of techniques such as enamelling and engraving, demonstrating creativity as well as excellence in skill and craftsmanship. The quality of workmanship and design is truly outstanding from this year’s graduates. They should be incredibly proud of all they have achieved during this course and I wish each of them every success in the future.”
Karen Hennessy, CEO of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, also commented: “One of our core objectives for the design and craft sector is to nurture the next generation of talent in order to develop the industry as well as maintain our rich heritage.
Our Centre of Excellence in Jewellery & Goldsmithing offers emerging makers a unique opportunity to gain the specialist skills and knowledge required as well as the confidence to make a vital contribution to the sector. Our course prides itself on training students to the very highest standards and our biennial exhibition in Kilkenny offers the graduates a fantastic opportunity to have their work seen by the jewellery industry and the public. We are thrilled to see this group of 12 diligent, gifted graduates emerge successfully from the two-year course and we look forward to watching them progress further in their chosen endeavours.”
DCCoI’s Centre of Excellence in Jewellery & Goldsmithing, based in Castle Yard, Kilkenny City, delivers a unique programme in jewellery education in Europe and is the only one of its kind in Ireland. Designed to equip graduates with the necessary practical skills and technical knowledge to develop careers in the jewellery industry, the course focuses on the use of precious metals and gemstones, and covers design, quantity production techniques and manufacture.
Specialist subjects such as engraving, enamelling, gemmology, stone setting, and silversmithing are taught by experts from the jewellery industry in Ireland and abroad. The course is accredited through the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
DCCoI’s Jewellery & Goldsmithing Course attracts applications from Ireland and throughout Europe. Following an application and interview process for the 2019-2021 programme, all 12 places have been filled for the next course which will commence in September 2019.
Aurea runs at the National Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny until Monday, 5 August 2019. Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5.30pm; Sundays and Bank Holidays: 11am – 5.30pm. Admission is free. For further details on the exhibition, visit www.nationalcraftgallery.ie and for additional information on the graduates, visit dccoi.ie/aurea
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