|Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Fabulous Co. Donegal in Ireland.
Describe your artistic style.
Versatile, artistic, adventurous.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature is my biggest inspiration, all the colours, textures and shapes... I am also very much inspired by the people I design pieces for, as well.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Seed beads, wire, gemstones, freshwater pearls and crystals.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Beaded Flower Cuff
What inspired this design?
I had originally made the beaded flower hairpins you see in the photo for a bride to be, and before I shipped her order she came back to me and asked if I would be able to design and make her a cuff to match the hairpins--and the beaded cuff in the photo is what I came up with for her.
How did it come together?
I rarely ever plan out a design. I see the idea in my head, and it tends to go straight from my head to my hands.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began making jewelry in 2004 when pregnant with my daughter. I spotted a beading magazine in a local store and that's where it all began for me.
Who introduced you to beading?
No one, I am completely self-taught and have used magazines, books and the internet as a way to teach myself different techniques...and some techniques I make up as I go along!
Do you have an artistic background?
Yes, I have always loved to paint and draw, and I also love crafts--particularly anything that challenges me to learn new skills.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Through a Google search for bead supplies.
What other hobbies do you have?
Painting, drawing, reading, music, walking, horses, being outdoors, gardening.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
No, unfortunately beading hasn't caught on to a big enough degree here in Ireland for there to be societies as such--YET! But interest in this craft is definitely on the increase.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry-making plays a huge part in my life. It is slowly becoming my full-time career. I work from home so I have had to learn to be disciplined, as it has a tendency to take over my whole day if I let it. Emotionally, art is very much a part of who I am, so the making of jewelry and accessories is the easy part and it fulfills my need to create--but all the other practical things that go along with running your own business often have me stuck to the computer for hours at a time, and it's easy to let your business consume you to the point of thinking about it first thing in the morning when you get up, and it being the last thing on your mind before you sleep. It is so important to find balance!
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I work from home so my main aim is to sell mostly online. People have found me primarily through my BlogSpot (http:www.doylejewellerydesign.blogspot.com) People email me with their orders and I do a lot of bridal work. An awful lot of my work comes via word of mouth--which is pretty good as it helps build a solid reputation. I don't really enter lots of contests. I opened a shop on Etsy this year but I am also currently getting a new website designed and it will have an online shop, as this is something that I get asked about a lot. I am also on Facebook and YouTube--social media can play a large part in getting your name out there and in the last few months I have gotten orders through my Facebook page so it pays off to develop the social media side of your business.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I haven't been asked to as yet!
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
If you want something in life you have to work hard and go after it. Running your own business often means that you have to wear all the different hats that go with it, and it can be very difficult and frustrating at times--especially when you hit a slow patch, but don't give up--it is the best feeling in the world to be in charge of your own destiny! One other thing I would say is try to have a good support network--whether it's through joining a local business group/network or simply meeting a like-minded friend for coffee. It is important to have someone you can talk 'shop' with. My husband is great, but even his eyes glaze over sometimes when I start talking about the wonders of the latest Swarovski crystal colours!