The 2016 RDS Craft Awards is now open for online entries. These annual awards showcase and reward excellence in Irish craft and provide an open platform for Irish craftspeople to have their work assessed by an independent judging panel of Irish and international craft experts. Established in 1968, the competition follows an RDS tradition of promoting and supporting the development of Irish craft which dates back to the nineteenth century. It is a two strand competition where the work of emerging and established makers is be judged separately with specific prizes to support emerging craftspeople.

To be eligible to enter the emerging maker strand, entrants must be able to show that they are either: Students studying craft in a third level institution, or have within the last five years set up a craft business, or are new to a craft discipline within the last five years, either studying via an apprenticeship or are a life-long learner on an informal course.

The prize fund this year is in excess of €30,000 with two top prizes of €5,000 on offer for the two winners of the RDS Award of Excellence. The RDS IACI Muriel Gahan Award of €2,000 is specifically for an emerging maker as is the National Crafts & Design Fair Award which consists of a free stand worth €2,000 at this busy annual craft fair. For 2016 graduates there is the opportunity to win the RDS Graduate Award of €2,000.

The twelve €500 category prizes in each strand are sponsored by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. See www.rds.ie/craft for details of the many other sponsored prizes, to view the rules of entry and to access the online application form.

Winning and selected entries will be shown at the RDS Craft Awards Exhibition at the Dublin Horse Show, RDS (July, 2016) before being shown at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Co. Mayo (August to November 2016). Award winners will also be exhibited at the National Crafts & Design Fair, RDS (December, 2016).