My name is Virtue Naa Ayeley Shine, I live Galway.
I am originally from Ghana in West Africa. I was born in the capital Accra and lived there until my early teens at which time I moved to New York with my mother and brother.
About 3 years ago I moved to Galway with my husband and what was then, my small(er) family. We now have four boys.
I am a self-taught ‘crafter’ and designer and a fierce fashionista. It all started when I took up knitting, a very hip New York pastime and perfect for those long subway commutes. I then decided I’d like to move on to sewing. I bought my very first sewing machine in a little craft store in Brooklyn called Daisy’s without having any real knowledge of what sewing entailed. All I had was the drive to learn and a love for the craft.
My influences are wide ranging and start with visiting the fabric stalls in Ma kola market in Accra when I was a very young girl. I am particularly influenced by African fabrics, the stories that the many hundreds of different prints tell, the positive influence it has on women in particular and the many different styles of attire that these fabrics embrace. For example, wrap skirts, which have a simplicity that almost requires no effort on the part of the wearer because the fabrics themselves combine beautiful and vibrant colours and designs that lend a simple elegance. I also take some fashion inspiration from New York in terms of a sense that ‘anything is possible’ and the notion of mixing things up while maintaining a high sense of style.
Indeed style is very important to me and ultimately I want to apply a high degree of craftsmanship to produce very stylish wares and accessories. My ideas are many and are constantly in flux which makes my work that bit more interesting for me and hopefully this is also something that comes through in what I make.
I produce a range of crafts all of my own designs and including skirts, bags, clutches, and cushion covers.
In the last year or so I have put a lot of time in to learning my craft and fine tuning my ideas.
Then last May I started Emerald and Wax, in my kitchen taking over our dinning table and then later as my online store. Emerald and Wax is in its infancy and I’m learning all about what it means to have an online ‘presence’. It has given me a great opportunity to showcase my wares and helped to get in touch both with many other ‘crafters’ and also people who love handmade crafts.