waterford-crystal-frontThe world-famous skills of former Waterford Crystal master cutters and engravers are to be documented in a new Crafts Council of Ireland-backed research study on the heritage of Irish glassmaking.
Thanks to the Council’s Irish Craft Bursary (worth €15,000); glass artist Róisín de Buitléar will create a new historical record of the techniques employed by former cutters and engravers at ‘The Glass’.
The fruits of Ms de Buitléar’s labour will go onto to form a significant exhibition, which is due to be held during 2011.
When completed, the research is to be donated to the National Museum of Ireland, with data gathered during the research set to inspire new glass work based on traditional Irish cuttings and engraving.
Much of Ms De Buitléar’s work will entail several visits to Waterford, where she will interview many of the master craftsmen who honed their trade in Kilbarry over several decades.
“We are delighted to be able to provide the means to carry out this research which is of huge national significance”, said Úna Parsons, the Craft Council’s Chief Executive.
“In light of the closure of Waterford Crystal factory at Kilbarry, it is imperative that we document our glass history and Róisín’s unique research will become a vital historical record – of glass production at Waterford Crystal and of Irish brilliant cutting and engraving which is acknowledged and admired around the world.”
Ms Parsons, a welcome supporter of The Munster Express/Dooleys Hotel Heritage & Culture Awards, referred to the closure of three of the world’s great glass factories over the past year. With this in mind, Róisín de Buitléar said the timing of this bursary couldn’t have been better.
“It is important to collaborate with our master glass craftspeople to mark our glass history and create a turning point for a new expression in brilliant cutting in Ireland”, she said.
During her research, Róisín will also create a photographic record of Waterford Crystal pieces, to include the work of craftsmen, along with items from private collections.
Launched in 2005, the Irish Craft Bursary provided artists with an opportunity to “develop a body of work that they would otherwise not have had the time or resources to develop” according to Ms Parsons.

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