There is a diverse range of careers in craft and design which are equally challenging, innovative and fulfilling. A wide range of options are open to you by simply following your desire to express yourself through your skills and creativity.
There are a number of routes to becoming a highly skilled craftsperson or designer.
Ireland has a strong heritage in craft and design, for example the famous Kilkenny Design Workshops. Our skills in creating are renowned worldwide.
Liz Christy is a Textile Designer and Handweaver working near Castleblaney, Co Monaghan. After her Leaving Cert she completed a certificate in Visual Education and went on to get a National Diploma in Textile Design. She is now self employed, and operates her own studio, Swallow Studios, where she displays and sells her creations.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
There were a number of career milestone decisions which influenced my life including a keen interest in art & heritage activities, which was encouraged by my family & school when I was young. My decision to accept a place in art college over university as major foundation projects were in various textile media and my decision to pursue textile design course.
Also I chose to make the best use of college facilities available and specialise in woven textiles and an aim to ‘work from home’ with a profitable lifestyle business.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
Describe a typical day?
Check to-do list written previous evening. Check emails & reply. Weave and organise completion of various production tasks
Allocate time to marketing & promotion, finance management & accounts. Updating my Website. Ongoing maintenance of equipment.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
What are the main challenges?
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
The subjects I took at shool all influenced me in different ways. English is very necessary in how I represent myself, Maths is oh so important in so many ways from yarn calculations to understanding numeric’s in business.
Art was very influential in my career path. I was introduced to Impressionism and Monet who is a major inspiration in my current work and marketing mix.
I wish I was better at Irish and I would use it in my business marketing. History influenced how I relate to current affairs, Home Economics is vital in developing my needlecraft skills which is an important aspect of my business.
Biology, well I do enjoy gardening as a hobby and my husband is a student psychiatric nurse so a knowledge of biology has come in useful over the years.
What is your education to date?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
There have been a number of rewarding events in my career so far such as winning the IWS Woolmark Weave competition as a final year student. I love the feeling of seeing a stranger wearing and enjoying a ‘Liz Christy’ scarf. I was really chuffed when I met an unknown lady wearing one in Shop Street in Galway as I studied and honed my craft there.
Building and running Swallow Studios along with welcoming visitors and tours to the studios have also been very rewarding.
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
The training I have undertaken includes a very basic computers course before my first computer purchase, a Monaghan County Enterprise Board business skills course, training with Fáilte Ireland and a Leader funded website and internet skills course/2.0 skills course.
I am also embarking on stage two of the Leader funded Web2.0 skills course with a view to attaining digital media skills to market and develop online aspect of business.