Utensil, Current Approaches to Tableware

I visited the National Craft Gallery before I went on holidays to see the Utensil exhibition. The exhibition was being held as part of Kilkenny Arts Festival and was curated by Angela O’ Kelly.

As you will know from reading this blog I love to see the work of other silversmiths, unfortunately in Ireland there a few practicing silversmiths so the opportunity to visit exhibitions of contemporary silver work is rare.

That’s why I was so excited when I saw the line up for the Utensil exhibition, it had gathered together an amazing list of makers including some silversmiths from both Ireland and abroad. I had seen some of these silversmiths exhibit in London over the years but it was great to see this work in the lovely setting of the National Craft Gallery.

I was anxious to go along on the first Saturday of the show as the curator Angela O’ Kelly was giving a talk, going through the various makers and the inspiration behind their work. As the exhibition was made up of artists working in a variety of mediums and emerging Irish makers I really wanted to find out more about the work and of course Angela’s thoughts when curating the show.  The great thing about the show was how it combined product designers and makers in a variety of  disciplines. This for me really reinforced the theme of the exhibition seeing how each maker responded to the idea of  tableware and the ceremony of eating.

David Clarke Spoons

One of my favourite silversmiths David Clarke had his display of spoons there, I first saw his work when I was in college many years ago and have loved how his approach to silver has changed from his perfectly balanced silver fruit displays to these refashioned old spoons and teasets.

As well as giving us these beautiful objects to look at the show allows us examine our own relationship to the utensils we use, whether they be sentimental, decorative or functional.

The exhibition runs until the 29th of October so you have plenty of time to go along and see these beautiful pieces for yourself.


Geoffrey Mann

Geoffrey Mann’s Crossfire work in ceramic and glass. The video accompanying the work shows the vibrations of an argument (an audio excerpt from the film American Beauty) altering, melting and changing the inanimate objects on the table.


Chien-Wei Chang

Chien-Wei Chang goblets, Martini, wine and Champagne flute…I’d happily sip my drinks from any of these!

Sharon Blakey & Ismini Samanidou

Sharon Blakey and Ismini Samanidou’s gorgeous collaboration of textiles and ceramics.


Maike Dahl


Maike Dahl

Maike Dahl’s extremely thin silver forms which are influenced by take away disposable containers.


Debbie Wijskamp

Debbis Wijskamp vibrantly colour paper forms.



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