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Furniture designer, Brian McKee and ceramicist Anne Butler, receive £15,000 craft awards

Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 10am 0 Comments Craft

Pictured are Suzanne Lyle, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Anne Butler and Brian McKee. Image: Pictured are Suzanne Lyle, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Anne Butler and Brian McKee.

Two designer makers, Belfast based ceramicist, Anne Butler and County Down furniture designer, Brian McKee, have been awarded the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, an annual craft bursary worth £15,000 each. The unique bursary, administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland on behalf of the Rosy James Trust, aims to assist craft makers to develop their careers by developing a new body of work which might otherwise have been unattainable.

The Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, established in 2014, came about thanks to the generosity of Rosemary James (Rosy).  Originally from Belfast, Rosy had a lifelong commitment to the arts and following her death in 2010, bequeathed over £500,000 to help artists and craft makers pursue their careers.  Former recipients of the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award include glass artist, Scott Benefield and silversmiths, Cara Murphy and Stuart Cairns. 

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

"Congratulations to Brian McKee and Anne Butler on receiving the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award.   The work of both designer makers is unique, impressive and requires great skill.  I wish both makers every success as they each embark upon producing new works using the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, a bursary which demonstrates the true power of philanthropic giving.”

Commenting on the award Anne Butler said,

“The award will enable me to research methods of producing scaled up models through digital technologies and innovative mould making techniques. This will allow further exploration and adaptation of my working and firing methods to produce work that is more ambitious in nature. This I hope will present the potential to attract new local and international exhibiting opportunities.”

Brian McKee added,

“I am delighted to be a winner of the Rosemary James Memorial Trust Award. It will enable me to bring to fruition a long cherished ambition to use steam bending as a creative process for building contemporary design rocking chairs and associated products. Although the process of steam bending for furniture construction has been around since the 19th century, my work aims to extend the process by bending much thicker timber than, to my knowledge, has been done before. This will allow me to achieve the aesthetic styling I have in mind. It will require much practical experimentation, process development and design refinement, which thanks to the award; I will now be able to carry out.”

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