Hello again, I hope everyone is keeping well. Joining us this week for our Shanahan Studio Session is the artistically talented Amy Lyons, who is the founder and owner of Mandalas by Amy. We discuss how Amy found her passion for making mandalas. Anyone who is wondering what a mandala is, it is a Sanskrit for “circle” or “discoid object,” is a geometric design that holds a great deal of symbolism in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Let's get into it.
When did you first realise you had a talent for art?
This is a difficult one to answer. Since I was a kid I loved painting and creating new things. I always entered into every art competition I could. I have also done honours art for my leaving cert.
Describe growing up for you, did you have any creative family members? For myself, I am the first to pursue fashion.
From an early age my mam always encouraged me and my brother to be creative. During my primary school years, I remember every week I would go with my mam and aunt to my grandaunts house and she would teach us how to paint/ sew and knit.
When and how did you start Mandalas by Amy?
I started Mandalas by Amy just over 4 years ago now. After graduating from college, I decided to take a break from work to travel to India. In India I saw such beautiful designs and colours which inspired me to start drawing mandalas. While searching for a new job once I came back to Ireland, I sold my first piece of art.
Were you nervous to put your work out there? For me it was extremely daunting.
At the start I was extremely nervous. I had drawn many mandalas without showing them to anyone. One day I decided to just go for it and post them online, I was delighted with the feedback I got. From then on, I started receiving many requests for commissioned pieces and I have had the opportunity to create some tattoo designs for people.
I met you in Shannon College of Hotel Management and we both graduated together in 2016. What have you taken from your studies and applied it to your craft? For me, it is the luxury and attention to detail that we were trained in and experienced in the field of hospitality.
I can’t believe it's been 5 years already!! Time is going so fast. I would have to agree with you on that, attention to detail and to put in the hard work to get what you want.
What role do you think social media plays in helping you reach your audience and increasing your brand awareness?
Social media plays a big part in helping me reach a wider audience. Most of my sales come from Facebook and Instagram. Also, if I am attending craft fairs this is where I would advertise it.
Do you plan your social media posts or do you do it spontaneously? For myself I plan 3 months ahead, so I divide my marketing plan into 4 quarters for the year.
I generally just post when I have something to show my followers. As the mandalas take hours to create it's hard to always have content. I like to post progress pictures and videos so people can see how I create a piece from start to finish.
How have you coped with the past year being in lock down? Has Mandalas by Amy helped you? For myself, HannahMaria Shanahan was a huge distraction for what was happening and really helped me.
I moved to Dublin during the lockdown and I was extremely lucky to find a job which allows me to work from home full time. After work I normally spend a few hours painting, so keeping busy has definitely helped me during this difficult time.
What is your favourite part about creating designs?
My favourite part about creating mandalas is that no piece is ever the same. Each mandala has different details and colours that makes them unique. I love seeing the colours come together and making the design stand out.
Do you follow other artists similar to you? When I was speaking to Ed in my first interview we were talking about Salvador Dalí.
Yes, I follow similar artists on Instagram. There are so many talented people out there and it's nice to connect and support each other.
How do you balance your work life and personal life? Do you take a day off for self care? I am still learning to do this, I will get there eventually.
This is something I do struggle with. As I have a full time job as well as doing my art I find it hard to take time off. Normally when I’m free I want to catch up on commissions or create something new. I try to limit the amount of hours I paint and try to take Saturday or Sunday off to relax.
What are you working on now?
At the moment, I am working on some commission pieces and I have recently started making dreamcatchers which are very popular. Hopefully there will be a craft fair in my hometown in June depending on restrictions so I will be busy preparing for that.
Where can people find you?
Thank you so much for your time Amy, really insightful information. It was great to speak to you, I wish you the best for the future. Hannah x