Design/life: Judy Reardon, Batik artist and craft retailer

"My hand-painted batik greeting cards, sell very well, as I offer a free service of personalising the cards while the customer looks around the shop," says Judy Reardon.

What’s your background?

I graduated with a degree in sculpture from The Crawford College of Art and Design in 1992. I loved working with my hands, creating large forms out of clay and wood. 

Sometimes I miss the process of creating in the round — the work I do now is very different.

In 2006, I decided to return to college and do a Higher Diploma in Arts for Art and Design Teachers. I was very lucky to get a job teaching in my alma mater, Scoil Mhuire. It was while teaching I discovered a new-found passion for batik art.

I opened The Design & Craft Studio in August 2015. I had always thought about opening a craft shop. I spent a month getting the shop ready and filling the shelves with beautiful craft supplied by my friends who are established makers. 

It was a slow but steady process as I went from stocking the work of about 20 stockists to the work of over 70 stockists.

Design/life: Judy Reardon, Batik artist and craft retailer

I am very lucky as my shop is a working studio, so I get a chance to work on my batik art. This offers the customer an insight into how I create my work. Every piece I produce is unique and I do commissioned work as well.

My hand-painted batik greeting cards, sell very well, as I offer a free service of personalising the cards while the customer looks around the shop.

What’s a typical work day like for you?

I get up early for a quick run to clear the head. This is followed by a meet, greet and feeding session with my five dogs, all of whom want my full attention. 

It’s off to work then at 9.30am. I open my shop at 10am. Every day brings something different. My priority is sourcing new and exciting craft from around Ireland.

I like to add to my collection as its makes it more interesting for my customers. When I am not dealing with customers or doing social media for the business, I work on my batiks.

Design/life: Judy Reardon, Batik artist and craft retailer

Tell us about a recent or favourite project that you have worked on?

I think that opening this shop has been, and still is, the most exciting project I have worked on. It is something that I am very proud of. I love to be able to tell my customers about the crafter and how and where they work.

What’s your design style?

My work varies all the time. At the moment, I am working on floral imagery. The style of batik lends itself to a freer method of application, but I like to have clean edges, so my work is a bit more controlled.

What inspires your work?

I look to nature for my inspiration. I have always been interested in organic forms and the texture of natural objects. I especially love the vibrant colours in nature and I always try to replicate this in my work.

What’s your most treasured possession?

My Mum’s watch and engagement ring. I always feel like my Mum is watching over me. I’d also have to say my family, my oldest and closest friends, and of course, my dogs.

Design/life: Judy Reardon, Batik artist and craft retailer

Who would be your favourite artist?

I’ve had many favourite artists over the years. Back in the early 90’s I loved the work of Robert Rauschenberg and I was lucky enough to see his work at the Guggenheim in New York. I also love Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, especially her close-up paintings and drawings of flowers.

What would be a dream project/design for you to work on?

I am always trying to come up with interesting and exciting ways to develop my business. I would hope that in time I will be able to convert the back into a gallery space.

Have you any design tips for us?

Not really a design tip but a tip in general. Always try to shop local and buy Irish. As a crafter, it feels so good when someone buys your work; it is the biggest compliment you will ever get.

The Design & Craft StudioMain Street, Charleville, Co Cork 


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