Breda Haugh is a jewellery designer, DCCI member and The Design Tower member who works from her studio in The Design Tower, Dublin 2.
Breda’s work is inspired by the urban landscape, culture, nature and our modern world. She studied in NCAD and for her last summer in college she was awarded a scholarship to the Silvershop in the Kilkenny Design Workshops. After college she went to London on a design scholarship to study jewellery making at The London Metropolitan University.
She collaborates with the National Museum of Ireland and creates jewellery inspired by select artefacts. These pieces are subsequently sold through the museum retail outlets and online.
She has developed ranges of jewellery inspired by Celtic studies, culture and travel. This appreciation of our culture has been to the fore in my collaborative work with the National Museum of Ireland.
What’s a typical day in the studio like for you?
No two days are the same. A day could be spent making up an order of jewellery at the bench, alternatively time may be designing a commissioned piece of jewellery for a customer. This task begins with research – which may be out of my studio – and lots of drawings. Depending on the design, ideas are carved in wax or sketched directly into metals. These processes lead on to the final work. I also periodically teach part-time in the School of Jewellery Dublin.
What do you like most about your work?
I love the process of developing an idea from paper through wax and/or metals. I love a problem to solve. I enjoy dealing with my customers either wholesale or personal and giving them work that pleases them. Special times are when I can play with ideas, as recently with the work I made for Made in Ireland. When teaching I love when my students eyes are opened to the possibilities of jewellery.
What’s your favourite craft item in your home?
A small painted carved wood abstract animal that has been on my studio was for years. Made by the Haida First Nations people, it is a reminder of a wonderful time I spent in Vancouver with others jewellers on a NI Craftworks and DCCI project. Besides my jewellery experience, the work of the Haida people was eye opening. At home I love my three ceramic containers by Brigetta Seck – their aura expressed by a soft matt green glaze in intriguing forms.
What other maker in your discipline do you most look up to?
This list is constantly expanding. Those that come to mind are the Swedish silversmith Marika Murnaghan for all she achieved for jewellery and modern design in Ireland, Norwegian jeweller Tone Vigeland and Swedish silversmith Turun Bulow-Hube for the evolution of their work and design aesthetic In the UK. Stuart Devlin and David Mellor for craftsmanship and design, Oisín Kelly for his work for Kilkenny Design Workshops – especially St. Patricks Breastplate. Peter Donovan, Des Byrne and Jim Kelly are wonderful craftsmen who taught me lots too.
What advice would you give someone who is considering this craft career?
To look to get good hand craft skills and a development of design and drawing skills through a college or or recognised course. Research widely. It will be easier for a trained jeweller to get employment in a jewellery workshop. Therefore if possible work in the retail sector, especially where the type of jewellery they like is sold – here they meet the customer. A worthwhile career is possible whether employed or self-employed. Always be professional.
How do you start your day?
With a cup of tea looking out at my view of the canal basin – while checking emails.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the studio?
Take a walk.