With March comes the second month of Spring. The days are getting longer and the nights a little shorter. I welcome this in absolute abundance. It's no secret that if I ruled the world or, if at the very least I was president of Ireland, I would make it law that no-one should have to get out of bed if its dark, except in cases where you're going to the airport to catch a flight and go on holiday. In that case no-one minds getting out of bed early and that can be the mini loop-hole of my law.
March also brings with it, the much celebrated St Patrick's Day. On the 17th day we will all claim in some shape or form that we are 100% or 1% Irish, get our green on and generally drink and be merry and drown a shamrock or ten. With that in mind I have decided to use March as a month to showcase some new and not so new (but always talented) Irish bloggers who are makers and shakers and people who interest, inspire and excite little ole me. I put a call out via t'internet and got a wonderful response from a variety of writers, makers and creatives and I am excit-ra and deli-ra to share them with you all. Share the blogging love and check out their posts past and present and make their day by becoming a follower. It's like giving a blog hug! Aww, who doesn't love a blog hug!
Without further a do, I'll like to introduce our very first creative. The rather talented (and oohhhh isn't her photography breathtakingly pretty!?) Gillian from Resin Road.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! I'm Gillian and I'm a jewellery designer and photographer from Dublin. My background is actually in art history and archaeology, however with the downturn in the economy, work became more and more scarce so I had to admit defeat and try and figure out a new direction to follow.
I've always had a passion for art and photography and it seemed only natural to go down that route. While working as a contractor I began to seriously think about how I wanted to make all my artistic ideas into a worthwhile reality. After work, I would spend my evenings filling notebooks with ideas and doodles and researching online until I finally came up with Resin Road. I wanted to create affordable well made jewellery that was completely unique. Initially, the colourful Georgian doors of Dublin gave me a spark of creativity, as I would pass them on my way to work everyday. I illustrated mini doors and made them into pendants, each one with a little tale to tell.
I like to do creative writing in my spare time, so I decided to add that into the pot too! It felt like it all finally came together after months of research and It was so satisfying to be able to combine so many of my interests all at once- art, photography, writing and crafts. The next step was opening my Etsy shop back in October 2012.
What do you make, how do you make it and what materials do you use?
I make miniature illustrated pendants of Dublin's Georgian doors, with a modern and unique touch. I also press and dry my own leaves and flowers and make botanical jewellery. I work with resin, which offers a 'glass-like' finish and a durable quality to the pieces, while remaining very lightweight. Once the objects inside have been properly sealed, the resin will preserve the botanicals and the illustrations for many many years.
Tell us about your creative process.
The doors require more 'planning' than the botanicals. I usually refer to my own photos I've taken of the cities doors and then sketch them up and select colours and personalities to match. I try not to over-think the whole process too much as spontaneous expression often leads to a better outcome.
With the pressed leaves and flowers the whole process is very organic and free. I would choose a flower or leaf at random and choose a suitable mold based around the objects natural form. The resin part is the only stage where being meticulous and controlled is of utmost importance. It is essential to be prepared while working with resin. I lay out everything I will need on my desk beforehand and cover everything with plastic sheeting.
Next stage is gloves and goggles on, respirator firmly attached and measuring and pouring begins. Safety is imperative while working with resin. I'd always recommend investing in a good respirator. You only have one pair of lungs and you have to look after them!
Resin is a very unstable and tricky medium to use. It took a lot of experimentation (ie. many disasters!) to get my formula and technique right, but I persisted and got there in the end. You always learn best from your mistakes.
Finally, it's a case of trying to remain patient for the resin to cure. After a day the pieces are de-molded (my fave part!) and sanding begins (the worst part!) and then the dull edges need to be re-coated. The next day findings are attached and voila! I've found you need to enjoy the whole process from beginning to end, otherwise it can be quite an ordeal as it's very involved.
Tell us about your creative space.
My 'mini' studio is also a moving one (I'm sure there's not many of those around!). During the colder months my desk and materials are set up in the dining room and in the warmer months, I move everything out into the conservatory as the view of the garden is a lot nicer, plus there's lots of natural light. Resin is very sensitive to temperature, so my studio has to move around for that reason. In the future I would love to have a 'fixed' studio overlooking the sea, but for now that's just a dream :)
My crazy kitty, Billie will often plonk herself next to me when I'm working on sketches or cataloguing materials and we have plenty of one sided conversations. She occasionally gives a little squeak of agreement. She's my little helper, but more often than not, she's just a ninny and has to be put out!
Do you create full time or part time?
At the moment I'm working full time on creating my own little business with Resin Road. I'm hoping the long hours will hopefully make my business a successful one and become my full time career.
Who and what inspires you?
My surroundings inspire me a lot. I love to be outdoors. I go walking everyday to my local park and I'm forever scanning around me for interesting objects for future projects.
Fellow Etsy artists also really inspire me and it's great to get such positive feedback and advice from people. My twin sister is also a great inspiration. She's a very talented graphic designer and we always share ideas and advice about both of our projects, which is always a huge help!
How do you stay motivated?
It can sometimes be difficult to stay motivated when sales are slow some months. However, these things happen and you have to carry on and keep working hard as it will always pay off in the end. I'll just switch on my music and bury myself in my work and all my worries disappear. Doing something that you love everyday is all the motivation you need.
How does art enhance your life?
Being creative is an integral part of me. It's that simple. I've always been artistic and it's my greatest passion in life. I don't feel like myself if I can't create and it's something I must do each day. It's my release and my focus in life.
Best piece of crafty / life advice you ever received
Just keep going! Happiness in what you do will reflect in you.
The fun stuff – five words to describe you
Oh that's difficult! I guess I'll go with;
Creative, Funny, Caring, Daydreamer, Content
Favourite places, food and song
My favourite place has to be Brittas Bay- I love being by the sea and staring out into the beyond. My favourite food..ooh there's too much to choose from! Ehm, Banoffee pie, minus the banana, so just caramel and biscuit pie-yum! Music, Hmm only one?! Well, I'll go for Lateralus by Tool
Thanks so much Gillian! I'll think you agree, a very talented artist with an eye for detail! Now, hop foot it to the links above and get blog hugging! :)