In choosing to name our first collection of jewellery after the women in our families we were set the task of finding out more about these women's lives. I spent many Sunday afternoons last year questioning my parents about their childhoods, trying to tease out of them what they remembered about growing up, and the family stories they could recall.
Kay Halley (née Clarke) was born in Dublin in 1914. She was brought up in a Stoneybatter cottage by her oldest sister Nellie, as her mother passed away when she was just two years old. Her father worked as a cooper for Guinness', making the barrels and casks to store the stout in.
After working as a seamstress for a couple of tailors around Thomas Street and the South Circular Road, she married in 1939 and had four children. Living on a terraced road in Kilmainham, she was always enterprising, finding alternative ways to make a few bob. She organised a furniture club with the neighbours, a way to save up to buy a new sofa or kitchen table, as well as a coal club to budget for the cold months of winter, and used her sewing skills to run up curtains and clothes for anyone who needed them.
My clearest memory of my Nana Halley was spending an afternoon in her kitchen baking apple tarts (she made the the best apple tarts ever!) The radio was on in the kitchen, and Stevie Wonder was singing "I just called to say I love you" and we were singing along while we rolled out pastry. From then on that was our song. But the song I will always remember her by is "I'll take you home again Kathleen" which my Granda would regularly sing to her after a few pints of the black stuff.
Part of our inaugural Names collection, the Kathleen necklace is cut from a thick bar of round brass, then filed and sanded into shape by hand leaving contrasting matte and high polished finishes. It hangs on a long 32" ball chain and is available in either rose or yellow gold.