artysmarty – our story (or how do you get from a heart shaped island to an oval shaped island?)
Making and designing fun, playful jewellery really started in Tasmania, when I was a small. I had a burgeoning business in high school where I was making earrings from fuse wire and seed beads and selling them to girls in my class. My best sellers were in a peace sign shape which were all the rage at the time (for Australian readers, think Dolly magazine circa 1990). Thankfully, I managed to keep quiet about those when I applied at the Hobart Art School, was admitted and I studied ceramics there for 3 years. I think this was where I started to develop the ability to create 3D objects and really form opinions about design and manufacture. I topped up my design knowledge at the art school COFA, at University of NSW with a masters specializing in ceramics and busted a move from a heart shaped island to an oval shaped one.
I love bright colour and the way that putting different colours together can bring outfit or a room alive, it’s a bit of alchemy. I’ve always had a bit of an eye for jewellery but my fickle nature means that I want to buy new things all the time and I couldn’t really find jewellery out there that was bright, didn’t have the bling factor and wouldn’t break the bank. I started to think maybe other people wanted more design lead accessories too. These really were the two big ideas or motivations when I began artysmarty around 2010. So the first collections was made with these ideas and one other element, the input of a bit of divine inspiration. Inspiration is possibly the most interesting and most difficult to qualify when talking about a collection of anything. Why does someone feel the need to collect teacups, write books or make anything at all – well it seems to me that that person has been given 50cc’s of inspiration – straight to the heart.
For me coming from a beautiful island to another beautiful island meant that one piece of inspiration stayed the same – the gorgeous surrounds and how it affected the pieces that I made – moreover, NATURE. How could you not be inspired? (and if you don’t believe me google Tasmania and you’ll see what I mean)! And I think it’s a constant through all of the work that I design. The other big inspiration is really day to day life and the urban environment – living in Dublin, a love of architecture and building. I’d say these really are the two big ones for me.
Our signature piece really has been the brooch. We have sold more of them than any of our other pieces – and we love them. They go with everything, literally. Since the great reception of our brooches we have introduced new collections and new pieces and we now offer earrings, necklaces and bracelets alongside our old favourite.
artysmarty was launched at a series of markets where I got customer’s opinions about the pieces, what they liked and didn’t like, colours, sizes, scale and what captured their imagination. Then it was a bit of a personal project, and I had another job at a dance company, it was only when I saw the huge response to the jewellery and how much people seemed to love the pieces that I gave up the day job! Now I have my own studio on Dame Street where we make all our beautiful pieces.