The bursary was established thanks to the generosity Rosy James who bequeathed £500,000 to support craft in Northern Ireland following her death. Born in Belfast in the mid-1940s, Rosy attended the Ulster College of Art (1966-1971), now known as the Ulster University Belfast School of Art, where she studied Textile design. Following her studies in Belfast, she took up a teaching post in Birmingham, later settling in Cambridge where she continued as a teacher of Art and Design until 2007. She maintained her close connection with Northern Ireland throughout her life, with regular visit to her father, Dr James Ford Gillies OBE, former principal of the Belfast College of Technology and an important figure in the establishment of Ulster University. Rosy maintained a lifelong commitment to the arts as well as to her birthplace of Northern Ireland.
Dr Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: "Congratulations to Alison Lowry, John Rainey and Eleanor Wheeler on receiving the Rosemary James Memorial Trust Award. Each one of these artists produce impressive work, requiring great skill and each of them has had their work exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. I wish all the artists every success as they embark upon producing new works using the Rosemary James Memorial Trust Award, a bursary which demonstrates the true power of philanthropic giving.”
Glass artist, Alison Lowry, based in Saintfield, will use her funding to enable the artist to take the time to explore new ways of working with glass, and to also start to develop a new body of work.
Eleanor Wheeler’s specialism lies in designing and making large scale ceramic and brick sculptural features for public places, gardens and architecture. Some of her artwork can be viewed at the Gas Works, Cotton Court and Mater Hospital. Eleanor will use the funding to extend her practice as an artist by using different approaches to designing and making large scale architectural ceramics, combining the use of new technology with traditional making methods.
John Rainey will use the funding to provide him with the time and resources to develop his work with digital CNC milling of marble. This includes funding his participation in the Digital Stone Project residency for a month in Tuscany throughout June where he will be learning skills and techniques from experts in robotics and stone-carving. Following this the artist hopes to develop d a series of new works using these techniques for public exhibition in Belfast.
For information on all funding opportunities for artists and organisations visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding