"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.
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.
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.
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
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved