Note: apologies for the poor quality of some of the images.
I first wrote about talented goldsmith and designer Deirdre O’Donnell back in November 2011 when Deirdre was setting up a jewellery school and was navigating her way through the establishing-a-business- maze. The business seemed fair set for success as it was plugging a gap in the market and because of Deirdre’s stellar reputation as a craft jeweller and her passion for passing her knowledge on.
I caught up with Deirdre recently to see how The School of Jewellery her created-in-a-recession business is faring. We met at the school which is based in the large basement of her charming period home on Dublin’s North Circular Road. The good news is that The School of Jewellery is alive and very much thriving despite the glacial winds of economic austerity swirling throughout the land.
The School of Jewellery offers an extensive range of courses: traditional jewellery skills; silversmithing; bead making; how to cost, market and sell your craft … The butterfly and the rings you see in the images are the pieces that students make when they first enroll: Deirdre has picked these to start with as the making of them touches on many of the basics skills. The courses fill up very quickly and about fifty per cent of those who sign up for a set of classes come back again with many doing multiple sets. I knew the school was doing well not just because Deirdre told me so but because it was evident: there was a palpable energy about the place; I could see how organized everything is; I could hear Deirdre’s passion for her craft in her voice; and I could sense her great determination.
I wondered what Deirdre put the success of the school down to aside from hard work and a commitment to high standards, so I asked her. One of things she mentioned was how important she felt creating a warm and welcoming place for her students was and the School of Jewellery is such a place from the pretty front garden to the many homely touches inside. She also believes in giving back in some way to the students and one way in which she is doing this is investing time and energy in training some of them up as tutors.
While I was there I met Tracy Gilbert who is the School of Jewellery’s first Student of the Year. Tracy is lovely but I did feel inadequate as I chatted to her. Why? Well, she has a fairly full-on day job as an actuary – admittedly part-time, however she also lectures at Dublin City University, and she has two small children, yet she has somehow found the time to set up a new jewellery business called Celtic Twilight (http://www.celtictwilight.ie). Kudos to Tracy.
I wish Deirdre and The School of Jewellery well and Tracy every success with her fledging business.
Note: The School of Jewellery’s address is 87 North Circular Road and the web address is http://www.theschoolofjewellery.ie
13 responses to “Deirdre O’Donnell and The School of Jewellery”
Lovely jewelry and what a wonderful idea. The pieces are beautiful.
It is a wonderful idea – a place where jewellery making skill are thought and creativity flourishes.
What a lovely update on Deirdre’s school. I am a huge fan of Deirdre’s skill to make beautiful jewellery and it is so satisfying to see others getting the opportunity to learn from a real master of her craft. H
I feel it’s so important that craft skills are passed on so it was good to find out that The School of Jewellery is absolutely thriving. And as you say it is great that students have the opportunity to learn from a master of her craft.
What a wonderful place to take one – or many – classes! Her work is beautiful…
Deirdre’s work is very beautiful. And yes a great place to take a class.
My best wishes to your friend and her school. Such a wonderful project!!! Since you are into jewelry schools and into Paris so much here is a little tip for you. Did you know that Van Cleef & Arpels opened its own school? Just go to http://www.lecolevancleefarpels.com and enjoy! As you will see, the class fees are expensive but after it is Van Cleef we are talking about! 😉
Thanks Francesca for your good wishes to Deirdre and her school; I am pleased for her that the school is thriving. But I am also pleased on a wider level because it shows that if a business is well run with high standards and meets a demand it will thrive even in the midst of recession and in so doing create jobs and economic activity.
Thank you for the link to Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery school, I had no idea about it so I will enjoy checking it out.
Lovely jewelry, inspiring progress for a beautiful craft-based business. You have no reason to be shy around Ms. Gilbert’s accomplishments, though, for after all you produce a marvelous blog in addition to all of the ‘real world’ life you carry on, as is evident in your posts and your attitude!
Thank you so much Kathryn for that encouraging comment. I know it’s not a good idea to compare ourselves to others but I still do it from time to time.
Passing on your knowledge in a craft is a wonderful thing…I’m glad she is doing well.
I so agree Karen. I love craft and I love the idea of skills being passed on.
Those are gorgeous!
My wife has made bracelets:
How to make a beaded bracelet?.
Happy New Year!