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8 Reasons To Head To The Makers Gallery In Expo 2020’s Ireland Pavilion

From Ireland with an international impact, the iconic pieces at the exhibition include Lowden’s “Sheeran” guitar and Colin Burke’s statement “Maureen” sweater.

The Ireland Pavilion’s Maker’s Gallery is a permanent, awe-inspiring exhibition featuring a diverse collection of artwork, sculptures and innovations from the country’s most talented creators and pacesetters. The gallery, located to the left of The Courtyard inside the pavilion, displays items from the realms of music, fashion, technology and art. While ‘We Are The Makers’ is the central theme, the exhibition is also a stunning representation of ‘Creativity at the Centre of Human Experience,’ the pavilion’s theme for Expo 2020.

Curated by Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, the exhibition blends craft with tradition and function with creative design. And it derives input from the Irish Design and Crafts Council, Ireland’s national agency for the support and commercial development of the design and craft industry.

Relative to its size, Ireland has a significant contribution to the world’s creative and technological industries, as seen throughout the gallery. From fashion design to financial technology, Ireland’s creative talent, born into a culture that fosters and promotes inventiveness as an expression of national identity, has shaped many of the coveted designs and technology that’s available now.

Here are the pieces by Ireland’s creative visionaries are trailblazers, driven by a world of endless possibilities, which you can view at The Maker’s Gallery.

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‘Axiomilla II’ by Michael Rice
UAE resident Michael Rice’s sculptural works are created using a variety of materials, including stoneware clay, black porcelain and paper clay. The artist creates objects using traditional and contemporary techniques: throwing clay to create 3D printed plaster moulds and cutting and bevelling on the wheel.

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‘Balance in Blue’ by Cecilia Moore 
Dublin-based Cecilia Moore combines ‘raising’; an ancient silversmithing hammering technique with patination to form colourful, playful sculptural metal pieces. The artist works mostly with copper, bronze and occasionally silver in an art form she has spent years perfecting.

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The ‘Maureen’ Sweater by Colin Burke
Colin Burke, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed fashion designer and craftsman, has redefined Irish knitwear with his range of contemporary luxury clothing. He is known for combining traditional Irish motifs and modern sensibilities. The hand-knitted “Maureen’ sweater is made from 100 percent Irish Heather wool and holds a structured outwear form created by directional hand crochet stitch combinations. It is designed in the tradition of Irish Aran hand-knitting, which is unique to the Aran Islands, a small collection of three islands located on Ireland’s West Coast.

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Feather Wreath by Jennifer Hickey
Jennifer Hickey explores porcelain’s delicate and otherworldly qualities using an intricate approach to creation. Her sculptures are formed using thousands of tiny porcelain pieces, hand-sewn onto fine tulle. The slowness and repetition of the making process are key to this creative’s finished pieces.

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Technology and Engineering

MED3DP by Bioengineering Students (Trinity College, Dublin)
Med3DP is creating a digital library of low-cost medical equipment for humanitarian healthcare, available for free download and ‘manufacture’ with a 3D printer. The initiative hosts a wide range of projects with ready-to-print files and documentation.

Every year, students in the MSc Bioengineering programme come together to brainstorm, prototype and develop 3D printable medical devices for the project, mentored by the college’s professors, Michael Monaghan and Conor Buckley. The objective is to deliver sustainable, valuable healthcare in the most challenging situations to those who need it most.

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‘Torpey Bambú’ Hurley
Renowned for breathtaking skill and speed, hurling is an ancient Irish sport played by two teams of 15 with a hurley (stick) and sliotar (ball). The hurley is traditionally made of wood from the Ash tree, which provides flexibility, strength and a natural feel. However, diseases such as Ash Dieback have hampered quality hurley production. The “Torpey Bambú” hurley is a 2021 IDI award-winning sustainable innovation, designed, engineered and produced in Ireland using bamboo particles. It combines engineering and sustainability to produce a greater strength and strike consistency for players.

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Lowden ‘Sheeran’ Guitars
Designed, engineered and produced in Ireland, the “Sheeran” guitars by Lowden were born out of a friendship between international singer and songwriter, Ed Sheeran, and luthier, George Lowden. They offer a musician a friendly sized guitar with great playability and tone. Lowden envisioned a range of affordable guitars with compromise on sound quality. By adapting hi-technology and aerospace manufacturing techniques, he developed a unique system that produced quality guitars at a sufficiently high volume. The new system can produce in a day what would have taken weeks using traditional production methods. “Sheeran” by Lowden has opened up a new global market for this 2021 “Irish Times” Innovation Award-winning company.

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Stripe’s Young Scientist Award (Collison Brothers)
In 2005, the then 16-year-old Patrick Collison won Ireland’s Young Scientist award with a new computer language called Croma. Within a further three years, Collison and his brother, John, had sold their first Silicon Valley company. They were soon on their way to setting up what is now the global payments platform, Stripe.

The Collison brothers’ insight was that the web financial structure that underpinned the booming world of e-commerce was old and slow. The genius of Stripe was a software that allowed businesses to plug into websites and apps, to connect instantly with credit card and banking systems to receive payments. In 2021, Stripe was valued at $95 billion.

For more information on The Maker’s Gallery and Ireland at Expo 2020 please visit:

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