The Golden Fleece, a writing about Golden Fleece Award foundress Lillias Mitchell (1915-2000) by her niece and current Golden Fleece Award Trustee Geraldine Mitchell, was broadcast as part of RTÉ Radio 1's popular 'Sunday Miscellany' programme just a few days before the announcement of the recipients of the 2020 Award.
The piece details Lillias' life and work, as well as the establishment of the Award following her death in 2000. Read by Geraldine Mitchell, you can listen back on the RTÉ Radio Player here.
The essay highlights Lillias' great desire to use her bequest to create an Award that would serve to support artists and craft practitioners long into the future:
Lillias was a painter, a sculptor, a spinner and weaver, an authority on vegetable dyes, and a teacher. She was 85 at the time of her death 20 years ago, having spent the last years of her life devising, revising and fine-tuning the award. Like a piece of sculpture, she endlessly honed the legal document that would define her dream, as if she knew it would be her most lasting legacy to the world of Irish art and crafts.
Geraldine Mitchell was born in Dublin but has lived on the Mayo coast, west of Louisburgh, for twenty years. She is a Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award winner (2008) and has published three collections of poems, most recently Mountains for Breakfast, which came out in 2017. Her previous collections are World Without Maps (Arlen House, 2011) and Of Birds and Bones (Arlen House, 2014). Her fourth collection is under construction. Mountains for Breakfast was the focus of an exciting exhibition, ‘Mind Has Mountains’, a visual response to her work by four artists, shown in Westport and at Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway, in 2018. Geraldine has also written two novels for young people and a biography.