Most of the wood I currently use is from the Yew tree, an ancient conifer species native to Ireland with a fine smooth grain. An avenue worth of trees was originally saved from a bulldozer by my dad during some land clearance on a country estate in Limerick in the 1980's. These trees have been in storage at my family home for nearly as long as I have been alive, drying and curing naturally in a shed over time, awaiting their next incarnation!

I am always adding more wood to my collection and currently have pieces of Holly, Elm, Damson, Hawthorn and more Yew collected from the locality, all drying in the same original shed. All of this wood is sustainably collected, often after winter storms or if a particular tree has to be cut down for some other reason. 

When it is ready to be used I bring the chunks of wood to a joiner who kindly cuts them into thin slices for me, after which I sand each board to a consistent thickness and a nice smooth finish. Originally I was doing all of this sanding by hand, but I have slowly been building my arsenal of different powered sanders and my life gets a little easier with each new addition. 

Once I have finalised my designs I draw them out as vector files on my computer, and from these files each of the pieces is cut out using a laser cutter. Following this is a lot more sanding and drilling, and I use an iron oxide (rust) solution to ebonise some of the pieces, turning them a deep rich black. When all of the individual pieces are ready I assemble them with sterling silver findings. 

Finally, each piece is finished with a polish I make using Burren wildflower beeswax from my dad's beehives, combined with Irish rapeseed oil, sealing and protecting the wood and enhancing the colour and the grain. The final product is a range of truly local, sustainable Irish jewellery - a unique Irish handmade gift for you to cherish. 


Rowena Sheen Studio Shot