Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

RDS National Crafts Competition 2011

 Phew, what a day.  I almost melted.

The day started well, kids & hubby fed & watered and bags packed all on time (including me spending way too long in the shower, as per usual, preening and making myself presentable - I even wore make up, eek!)

We dropped the children to their nanny's for the day and I swear they never even looked back to say goodbye (surely they will miss me?)

Then an hour and a half later we were scrambling for a parking space at the RDS (which was quite painless really & free)

The walk to the concert hall was painful, as of course I had to wear heels and I'm not used to them.  But the complimentary glass on arrival served as a very refreshing anesthetic (giggle, snort).

The prize giving ceremony was at 2pm and was supposed to be opened by TD Jimmy Deenihan Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht affairs but he was late (rude-y-pants) so he gave his speech at the end while we all melted into our empty wineglasses (nowhere to put the damn things, can't leave them on the table with the exhibits or on the floor, aghhhh).  The prize giving fittingly took place in the midst of the exhibition.

For anyone who doesn't know the RDS hold a National Crafts Competition and the Student Art Awards every year "to recognise and advance individual excellence through the presentation of prestigious medals and prize money that exceeds €28,000" (so worth the €15 entrance fee)  

When  I arrived I knew that I hadn't won anything as I was advised at the door that the prizewinners had already been notified by letter (where's the surprise in that?) so all I had to do was relax, enjoy the show, mingle and take in all the lovely art work around me.  It was very inspiring and competition was FIERCE.  Categories ranged from Calligraphy to Musical Instruments and everything in between.  I had entered my Peerie Smoorikins Shawl (Pictured above) on a whim and managed to get through to the final judging round and the exhibition.  So I was able to see my beautiful baby on display where everyone could see her.  It was a very proud moment.

In the Knitting & Crochet category, there were two winners, second went to Fiona Nugent for her two outfits entitled 'Clockwork' which were machine knitted and felted dresses based on the inner workings of a clock in greys and blacks.  First prize went to Claire O'Sullivan for 'Exodus' which was a knitted skirt (machine knit?  I'm not sure but it's probable) with a crocheted overlay on the top.  It was a beautiful ensemble and my favourite out of the knitted items.

Some other items of note were Valerie Eames' 'Not a patch on Jane' patchwork quilt that was made using civil war fabrics that took a year to source and a further 6 years to piece together (there were almost 6,000 pieces altogether) and Patricia Lambs Parasol made with Irish Crochet Lace.  The parasol was beautiful, all flowers with adorable fuchsia flowers hanging down from the brim.  I can only imagine the time and effort that went into making it.

So a good day out was had by all.  I was glad that I dressed up and brought my Jewelled Spice Tote as I was hemmed in on all sides by ladies in Prada and Louis Vuitton.  Chanel Number 5 was the perfume du jour.  The coiffed hairdo's almost blocked my view.  But I held my head up high and felt like one of the best crafts people in Ireland as the signs outside suggested.  I had my princess moment and next year I intend to win something!  Watch this space!

So please come along and see my shawl and all the other beautiful crafts in the RDS Concert Hall.  The exhibition is open to the public (free of charge) on Thursday 28th July and Friday July 29th from 10am to 5pm and then at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show from August 3rd - 7th.
Happy knitting


  1. Wow ! You really *are* one of the best. That gorgeous lace shawl clearly should have won something. I think it is a perfectly represented art of the dress of Ireland , and thus ought to have won. I am so happy to have found your blog.... see you later.

  2. Such a great and elegant composed shawl. And so neatly knitted!

  3. Congratulations Aisling for the beautifully knitted shawl. Okay, so you didn't take out the major prize, no matter. The day sounds a hoot, if only to be seen..... and to see your creation being viewed. Well done to you. It is such an achievement for one so young, so be VERY proud of yourself. I am always happy to read what you have been doing.