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This is me on the left with my dog Toni who was raised by a cat at the local SPCA. The little black one below is Winnie the Pooh who was looking for a home and I foolishly offered to foster her until she got one. That was three years ago. I love bringing my dogs into work - they're amazing employees - I discuss all of my design, marketing and sales ideas with them and their feedback is incredibly valuable; they agree with everything I say and think all of my ideas are fantastic.
Inspiration Animals in action basically. Things that are colourful, working with my hands, reading, meeting friends, drinking wine, attending workshops, going to book festivals, hanging around with my family, walking the dogs, and travelling when I get the chance.
My background I have a B A degree in Sociology and History from Trinity College Dublin, a Masters in Business Communications from Emerson College in Boston, and a Higher National Diploma in Computer Animation from Ballyfermot VEC. I’ve done a lot of jewellery courses and workshops with some well-known jewellery designers in Ireland, England and the USA, but mostly I’m self-taught.
The part of my job I like the most is cutting stuff out with a saw. I love enamelling too - I love using colour. After finishing my MA I worked for several years in design and marketing in San Francisco (the best city in the world!), I travelled quite a lot to various interesting places, moved to Spain for a time and then eventually came back to Ireland. I worked on the Irish series Give Up Yer Aul Sins by Brown Bag Films in Dublin, the original of which was nominated for an Oscar in 2001, and on the BAFTA award winning film Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for the UK's Channel 4. Both really interesting films to work on and the animation has really influenced my jewellery design; I like my designs to have action, strong lines and graphic poses. For me, jewellery should make the wearer smile, or even laugh out loud. Nothing too serious or hard — there is enough of that in our everyday lives as it is, and if my customers feel a connection to the designs, which they often do because people love animals, then I'm delighted. For me, jewellery and art should be uplifting.
Handmade in Ireland
Jewellery: After sifting through hundreds of photos, I settle on a few strong images, sketch them out several times, add things, take things out, exaggerate attributes, postures and physiques to make them more interesting. I try to keep the look animated, as well as making sure the design is simple enough that it works in metal - simplicity is the key really, otherwise things start getting busy and complicated and then the whole idea goes pear-shaped. I often make mock-ups out of cartridge paper during the design process, to make sure that the design will work properly before I commit it to metal. Most of my pieces I make from flat 1mm sheet silver and they are either used as patterns for casting or I continue to cut them out individually - it just depends on the design.
Enamelling: Basically the same process of searching for interesting images and creatures, in action mostly, drawing them out, revising the composition, contemplating the sense the design has for me, the meaning it may have for someone else. Some of the designs I also cut out with a piercing saw (like a fret-saw), some have been cut out by waterjet, the majority however, by hand...which I'm planning on changing as it is tough work and I'll end up with hands like bunches of bananas very soon), some designs are stencilled on, then they are fired. The process I use is mostly sifting powdered enamel onto copper and firing it in a kiln at around 800 degrees (1400-1500 F).
Returns Policy If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me. If you make a purchase, you can be sure that if the item doesn't suit and you want to return it, you will get a full refund as long as you send it back within 3 weeks and in the same condition and packaging that you received it. And I deliver internationally in case you're wondering.