2016 RDS Craft AwardsWith a total competition prize fund of over €30,000, the RDS Craft Awards is one of Ireland’s most important annual showcase and competition opportunities for craft makers living and working on the island. Showcasing and rewarding excellence in Irish craft since 1968, this is the second year the RDS Craft Awards is a two strand competition with an independent panel of craft experts assessing the work of emerging and established makers separately. This allows the Awards to celebrate the best in Irish craft, as well as provide a platform the next generation of makers.Picture by Shane O'Neill Photography.

Roger Bennett is well-known in the Irish crafts world for his very distinctive coloured bowls and vessels. These are surprisingly thin, gracefully shaped, and many of them are dramatically inlaid with hundreds of silver dots arranged in constellation-like clusters or formal geometric patterns.

He has also developed a complementary jewellery range - pendants, brooches, earrings, cufflinks. These are in the same idiom as his bowls, coloured wood inlaid with silver: they are wonderfully easy to wear, light and silkily sensuous.

Roger’s work has featured in numerous exhibitions in Ireland, Britain, France and the USA; he has shown at SOFA New York, SOFA Chicago, CraftBoston and Origin (London). He is included in the Irish Crafts Council’s Portfolio selection, and has twice won the woodturning award in the RDS National Crafts Competition. Examples of his work feature in many public and private collections, including those of the National Museum of Ireland, the Ulster Museum, the OPW, and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

He was a member of the Board of  Visual Artists Ireland from 2005 to 2014.

A former teacher, Roger has a degree in English and French from Trinity College Dublin.  He is a graduate of the Crafts Council of Ireland's Craft and Design Business Development CourseOriginally from County Laois, he lives and works in Dublin.

Further reading

"I love wood, the uniqueness of each piece, the history of the tree’s life preserved in the ring patterns and figuring. I delight in the daily interaction between maker and material, the magic of shaping, turning argument into conversation.

I dream of making a bowl as strong as an eggshell, as heavy as a whisper. Of capturing and fixing my favourite colours – drake mallard green, oil on water, midnight in midsummer, frosty night skies.

And with silver I can indulge my love of order, imposing my markings on the wood’s surface, complementing the natural flows and eddies of the grain with my precise patterns of dots.

A completed bowl should satisfy all our senses. Line and form above all else, traced by eye and hand, from rim to base and all around. The smell of wood and oil. And whenever a bowl is right, it sings."