We are incredibly proud to celebrate some of the endless design talent here in Ireland and provide a base for over 30 independent designers within our shop.
Through this Meet The Maker series, we’re giving you the opportunity to get to know the creative talent behind your favourite brands at The Collective as they share their journey as creatives, their biggest inspiration and their career highlights.
This week, we’re chatting with Abbie Dixon who shares her story, her favourite pieces and her biggest inspirations.
“I was born in Belfast and now live near Dundonald with my husband, 2 kids and dog, Floyd. I studied graphic design at the University of Ulster in Belfast and have been making jewellery for around 15 years.
I like to be outdoors with plants and nature, so I walk every day with my dog. Like most creative people I enjoy making all kinds of things and learning about different crafts, particularly sewing and painting.”
What's been your favourite piece of jewellery you've designed?
“My favourite jewellery designs so far are my spore collection. The original models were made by "growing" copper using the electroforming process. The plant-like structures which form, appeal to me very much. I have experimented a lot with this technique and more work is in progress.”
What inspires you during your design process?
“My inspiration always comes from nature. I am especially interested in textures and organic formations. Small scale appeals to me, the little details and transient moments, such as a tiny bud just about to open. I collect all kinds of things (leaves, seeds, pods, twigs, lichens...) to use for casting or to photograph for future reference.”
Who is your biggest inspiration? (In the design world or beyond)
“In the world of jewellery my biggest influence has been Gerda Flockinger. I saw a bracelet by her on a visit to the V&A museum many years ago, and had never seen anything like it before. It was amazing, and until then, I had not thought of metal looking organic.
Beyond the design world, my dad has been my biggest influence. He taught me to take the time to look at things and appreciate their beauty, however simple. And he was always making something.”
What do you feel is one of the biggest misconceptions about the jewellery/design industry?
“That making jewellery is glamorous in some way. It's quite messy. I love tools and materials and exploring what I can do with them, however my hands are often not fit to be seen.”
If you weren't a designer, what would be your dream job?
“If I wasn’t a maker I would work in horticulture, ideally growing unusual plant varieties.”
What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming a jewellery designer?
“Do lots of research and learn as many techniques as you can. Jewellery is such a wide term and there are so many exciting avenues to explore, before you settle on the one that really makes you tick.”
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
“You can learn to do anything but you must practice. If you solder every day you will be a lot better after a week, never mind a year. All skills take persistence and lots of practice so expect it to take time.”
What's been a real pinch me moment in your career so far?
“Any time someone finds my work interesting is a pinch me moment really. I enjoy my happy little world of making things I like, and when someone else likes them too, it's brilliant.”