Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

Crafting Your Future


Susan Boland - Potter
Philip Cushen - Woollen Mill Owner
Glenn Lucas - Woodturner
Margaret Reilly - Wood Manufacturing / Finisher


Liz Christy, Textile Design/Handweaver

Liz Christy is a Textile Designer and Handweaver working near Castleblaney, Co Monaghan. After her Leaving Cert she completed a certificate in Visual Education and went on to get a National Diploma in Textile Design. She is now self employed, and operates her own studio, Swallow Studios, where she displays and sells her creations.

Ask me your
first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

There were a number of career milestone decisions which influenced my life including a keen interest in art & heritage activities, which was encouraged by my family & school when I was young. My decision to accept a place in art college over university as major foundation projects were in various textile media and my decision to pursue textile design course. 

Also I chose to make the best use of college facilities available and specialise in woven textiles and an aim to ‘work from home’ with a profitable lifestyle business. 

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Family & friends. Art & Home Economics teachers at school. College tutor Husband, and  Colleagues.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I created it.

Describe a typical day?

Check to-do list written previous evening. Check emails & reply. Weave and organise completion of various production tasks

Allocate time to marketing & promotion, finance management & accounts. Updating my Website. Ongoing maintenance of equipment.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

Keeping up with all my daily tasks on an ongoing basis.

What are the main challenges?

Husband is in full time education and I am the only earner. Staying focused and keeping it going through very tough times. Staying positive.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

The skills I feel I bring are an ability to be multi-skilled and multi-task every day, an ability to bounce back from setbacks and of course a passion for what I do. 

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

The subjects I took at shool all influenced me in different ways. English is very necessary in how I represent myself, Maths is oh so important in so many ways from yarn calculations to understanding numeric’s in business.

Art was very influential in my career path. I was introduced to Impressionism and Monet who is a major inspiration in my current work and marketing mix. 

I wish I was better at Irish and I would use it in my business marketing. History influenced how I relate to current affairs, Home Economics is vital in developing my needlecraft skills which is an important aspect of my business. 

Biology, well I do enjoy gardening as a hobby and my husband is a student psychiatric nurse so a knowledge of biology has come in useful over the years.

What is your education to date?

My education to date includes the Group, Inter & Leaving Cert, NCEA Certificate In Visual Education – Foundation Art & Design, NCEA National Diploma in Textile Design – Woven Textiles with Distinction and AnCo Self Employment as a Career. 

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Project based - developed ability to work individually and achieve targets and goals.
Design – this is an important element in my work.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

There have been a number of rewarding events in my career so far such as winning the IWS Woolmark Weave competition as a final year student. I love the feeling of seeing a stranger wearing and enjoying a ‘Liz Christy’ scarf. I was really chuffed when I met an unknown lady wearing one in Shop Street in Galway as I studied and honed my craft there.

Building and running Swallow Studios along with welcoming visitors and tours to the studios have also been very rewarding.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I don’t give up easily and I don’t like a problem to beat me. I enjoy working with colour and texture. Quality is important.

I get great satisfaction from sending out an order & getting paid for it. I still appreciate it when a customer spends their hard earned cash on my work.

What is your dream job?

This is it, though I am working towards it being ‘better paid’!

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Getting the work life balance is difficult, made even more so by the current economic climate. However the crossover between work and home is something I am comfortable with.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Think long and hard, listen to advise, plan well and be ready to make sacrifices for job satisfaction…

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

The three most important personal characteristics are determination and willingness to really work hard, mentally & physically, creativity both in product development and running of the business and a willingness to learn and use new skills.

What is your favourite music?

It changes daily.

What is your favourite film?

Kinky Boots.

What is your pet hate at work?


What is your star sign?


Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

The training I have undertaken includes a very basic computers course before my first computer purchase, a Monaghan County Enterprise Board business skills course, training with Fáilte Ireland and a Leader funded website and internet skills course/2.0 skills course. 

I am also embarking on stage two of the Leader funded Web2.0 skills course with a view to attaining digital media skills to market and develop online aspect of business. 

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Work in a production based setting, Art & design work, Craft production, Business administration and anything else to equip you with skills to work with people.

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