2015 Artist: Etain Hickey

Etain Hickey Rampant garden 180.00 (1)Each year the Festival prides itself in commissioning an artist to create a set of unique awards for our National Competitions. In 2015 the Festival proudly engaged Etain Hickey, a Ceramic Artist & Gallery owner in Clonakilty, West Cork. Etain was born in Dublin and studied at Dun Laoighaire School of Art & Design which was followed by several years working in different studio potteries in the UK, the Channel Islands and Finland. In the early 80’s she moved to West Cork to set up her pottery studio with husband Jim Turner.

From her lofted studio overlooking the haw and fuchsia bound fields; Etain explores her love of colour and pattern in her ceramic wall dishes using rich glazes and lavish decoration techniques incorporating gold in a fresh and fluid manner. Etain draws and decorates straight onto the raw pot which is “raw” or “once-fired” missing out the usual biscuit firing. She then paints on gold and other lustres (liquid metals) and the pieces are fired again to a lower temperature. Etain’s recent and expanding theme has been the landscape; rhythm of nature, patterns on a landscape shaped by the elements, the passage of time and the effects of man provide inspiration for her earthenware dishes. She says,

“Although living in a beautiful rural area in West Cork my work isn’t directly influenced by what I see outside my studio window… I work surrounded by reference points, old pots, drawings, books. When I start decorating I don’t always know what the next mark will be; I have to respond to each shape to try to capture some vitality and fluidity”.

Etain’s ceramics have been purchased by the Dept of Foreign Affairs for presentations and for Collections such as The Ulster Museum, the Crafts Council of Ireland and the Fujita Museum in Japan; and have been selected for several international exhibitions; “European Ceramics” Rufford Art Centre England, in Zurich, Frankfurt, San Francisco and Philadelphia, USA. In 2013 some of her new brightly coloured earthenware wall dishes with added gold detail, were exhibited in The London Design Festival and Brussels. Etain won the 2014 Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Irish Ceramics Awards.


Artist: Fleischmann International Trophy


As part of our commitment to supporting artists, the Cork International Choral Festival engaged Liam Lavery and Eithne Ring in 2014 for a collaborate work in producing the perpetual Fleischmann International Trophy award following  20 years of unique  works being produced for the competition by Liam Lavery. This perpetual trophy is inspired by a small extract from a hand written score by Aloys Fleischmann merging with the iconic “goldie fish” atop St. Anne’s, Shandon along with other musical motifs and stylized vocalists using cast aluminium as the primary material combined with enamelled copper.

Contemporary Irish artists Liam Lavery and Eithne Ring have been working and collaborating on art projects since 1988. Their work has developed from painting and small low-relief wall panels made of cast aluminium, through to large-scale public commissions using a variety of different materials; bronze, wood, copper, enamels, glass and stainless steel. Both Liam and Eithne have been engaged by the Festival over the years producing both National and International Awards since 1994.

Eithne Ring


“When I was growing up on the rocky headland of Knockadoon, East Cork, my father had a small foundry and as a result of working with him in his workshop I developed an interest in detail and decoration and the desire to make objects. Making objects are very important to me as I interpret my environment and make sense of the mark of man on his surroundings with the resulting metamorphosis from page to finished piece.”



Liam Lavery


“Most of my ideas are born in that place between sleeping and waking. One of my earliest dawn dreams was one which coincided with the dawn train which used to pass near my childhood home. In the dream the sandman, who lived on the moon, drove a bulldozer and pushed back the darkness to let the daylight through. Drawing is important to me, because it takes me to that space where the sandman reveals the light in the darkness, which grows into a sketch that may become a sculpture.”




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