Meet the Maker: Sarah Carroll Kelly, Shock of Grey

Posted 15.04.21

Sarah Carroll Kelly is the woman behind Shock of Grey. She is a jewellery maker and DCCI member based in Kilmainham, Dublin. Sarah's work is bold and unique, she creates handcrafted statement jewellery that is wearable art. Sarah's work is available to purchase on her website www.shockofgrey.com.

What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
Lately the typical days have not happened due to lockdown and homeschooling but now that things are opening up again I'm back to starting at 8.30am in my studio (which is in my attic). I print out orders in the evening so they're waiting for me when I start. I set alarms on my phone to remind me to take breaks, 11am for coffee and 1.30pm for food, because I can just zone out and not remember the time.

I'll check my calendar and my production wall, this is where I've mapped out what I'm making on what days based on direct sales or wholesale orders. I usually pick and sand all the wooden parts and put them on sheets of paper with post-its noting what colour to paint them. Once they're all painted I'll work on the edges and then move on to glueing. Once that's set aside I'll start on the metal parts and assembly, then finally boxing them up and getting them ready for dispatch. I shop twice per week as the time going to Post Office eats into production time. I only check my emails after I've gotten what I planned done, otherwise I get sidetracked.

What do you like most about your work?
I like being able to work with my hands and create physical objects. I especially like the smells: cut wood, paint and white spirits and glue. I reminds me of art college and my Dad's shed.

What do you like least about your work?
The accounts fill me with horror. This year I outsourced it - best money ever spent. Last year I did it myself and it worked out but the mental drain psyching myself up to do it wasn't worth it. I'm not so keen on customs forms for shipping either....

What's your favourite craft item in your home?
My favourite craft items I own are my 9 Yard ceramic mugs, I use them every day and they make my coffee break even nicer.

What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
Don't put too much pressure on yourself to make a profit straight away. Join a community of likeminded makers to share in the good and the tough times. Make a plan that fits into your life. If you started in craft instead of a 9-5 make sure it stays being something you love.

What's your favourite time of the day?
My favourite time is around 7.30pm when the dishwasher is on and everyone is fed, kitchen is clean and I've a cup of tea in my hand! And then I remember I have to make lunches for school - but at least they are not back at school!

How do you switch off?
In normal times I would hang with pals for dinner, a drink or a film, go to pilates or a gig. Different now for the moment. I love a good drama....nearly finished Deutschland 89 on Channel 4 and I love Greyson Perry's Art Club and The Great Pottery Throw Down.

How do you start your day?
Coffee. Lots of.

What's the first thing you do when you leave the studio?
Scrub my hands with Swarfega. It gets all the glue, metal marks and paint out from under my nails and skin.

Favourite book?
Haruki Murikami Kafka on the Shore is probably still my favourite book.

Favourite film?
I recently loved Tenet. My favourite classic film is The Shining.

Favourite meal?
Thai Curry, green or red.

Best concert you have ever been to?
I saw The Horrors in The Royal Albert Hall 2 years ago for their 10 year anniversary of their Primary Colours album. There was a rumour they were breaking uo and were just playing the album songs. They played the album start to finish and then pulled uo the house lights only to reveal the gig was going to go on and on! I think it was about 3 hours! I was right up the front.

Music when you're working?
Yes

What do you listen to?
I set up playlists on Spotify, and I also love The Tommy, Hector & Laurita podcast.

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