Jewellery Making – an interview with Fiona of DinkDesign (15/12/15)

As part of our ‘Start With Art’ New Year’s Resolution campaign, we sat down with Fiona Fewer of Dink Design to help showcase a little bit of what she gets up to in our Adult Jewellery Making class.

Tell us a bit about your background.

Fiona is a graduate of NCAD, who worked in Graphic Design for 15 years before starting her jewellery making business She tells me how she always had an interest in making jewellery. As a teen, she would regularly frequent bead shops in Temple Bar where she would buy the “ingredients” to make her jewellery and would learn her craft. As her skills developed, she would make little bracelets and necklaces for family and friends.

When Fiona was pregnant with her first child, she really got back into jewellery design – she really appreciated the freedom it allowed her to work at home. She began making jewellery and selling it at craft fairs and started her website. Eventually, in what was a ‘big jump’, she left “the real job” of graphic design and began working on her jewellery business full-time.

What do you get up to in a typical Jewellery Making class?

Fiona describes her method of teaching – how she goes through the basics of jewellery making such as clasps, necklaces and earrings. She mentions how she revisits these basics every few weeks – therefore people are welcome to join her classes at any stage.

Fiona elaborates on how the variety in the classes each week keeps it interesting for her as a teacher and for her students. Each week, she focuses on a different theme and / or technique. This allows her to encourage more experienced students to work on complicated pieces. For example, in the run up to Christmas, some students created snowflakes using wirework to great success. One more thing Fiona loves is that most students will complete several pieces each week that they can bring home or gift as presents. It’s the kind of hobby where you can see results almost from the first day. “It’s not like knitting where you could end up spending a month working on the same sock!” Fiona says with a smile.

Fiona also runs jewellery making workshops and parties for kids; these are always a great success! Whether kids are creating clip-on earrings or stylish bracelets, Fiona notes that jewellery making is suitable for all ages & skills. She notes that sometimes kids can get frustrated when they see a friend’s work which they think is “better than theirs” – she loves that kids are “only delighted with themselves” when they have a beautiful accessory to wear home and show off!

What kind of skills do your students develop?

Fiona is quick to emphasise that all her students really get an eye for colour from her class. Each student chooses their own colours for making their accessories and bracelets and most would usually have a preferred colour scheme when they start off. As their confidence grows, she loves seeing students branch out and try exciting, new patterns.

Fiona loves that Jewellery Making is such an accessible craft. Her students are of all abilities – from absolute beginners right up to “the pros”! Some of her students have even gone on to sell their own pieces at craft fairs, have set up their own shops on Etsy and even progressed on to do gold- and silver-smithing courses.

“The main thing about jewellery making is that it’s addictive,” I’m told. Many of Fiona’s students end up continuing their passion at home, by buying their own beads and creating jewellery whenever they get a chance.

What really WOWs you teaching your classes?

“All my students amaze me,” Fiona tells me. “The variety of combinations that my students come up with, even for something as simple as a charm bracelet, always inspires me”. She also loves how the students inspire and influence each other’s own personal styles.

The most important thing about the classes is that it’s “like a social club” – where the ladies come along for a natter about the weather, life or who they fancy in Strictly Come Dancing! Like all of Artzone’s Adult Classes, the chance to spend a few hours creating something beautiful and developing a skill while having a chat with a cup of tea is one reason why so many of Fiona’s students keep coming back.

Fiona’s Jewellery Making classes take place in Artzone Studios on Wednesdays 10am – 12pm or Thursdays 7 – 9pm. You’re welcome to join at any stage by calling 01 499 0614 or by signing up online. Each 8 week term costs just €120 and includes all the materials you’ll need to create your own gorgeous jewellery.

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