Sunday, November 14, 2010

Its that time of year again.....

Well it is already the holiday season if you make jewellery and I am just like all the others in the thick of creating and filling holiday orders. Not only am I working on stocking my stores and current customers I am preparing for the One of a Kind Show taking place in less than two weeks.

The One of a Kind Show takes place annually at Exhibition Place and will host 800 artists over an eleven day show. Work in all mediums of fine art and craft will be on display for enjoyment and on the spot purchases. So if you feel like seeing what the artists have been up to come to the Direct Energy Center at Exhibition Place from Nov 25th to Dec 5th Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm and Sundays from 10am-6pm. Visit me in Booth E-11 and see what I have been busy creating!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Envy to Covet and Desire

Earlier this week I attended the opening for a show I have work in at 18Karat. The show called Envy brought up some interesting ideas.I was pleasantly surprised to find out I had won best in technical achievement for my Trillium necklace. I always strive for technical excellence in my work, although now I know technique alone is not enough if you want your work to mean something. My artist statement for the show talks about how I came to realize and express concepts in jewellery by feeling the push and pull of competition with envy being the catalyst for it all. Below is my artist statement for the show.

         Envy is usually perceived as a negative trait that we try to hide. But is there a positive side to it as well? Can it not be the starting point for imagination to blossom from?
         I am not envious of obvious things like wealth and fame but I am envious of creativity. It might sound strange, being an artist myself, but I do envy the inspired. I know I am creative but when I started making jewellery I was more interested in visual appeal and technique than the ideas behind each piece. The desire to communicate through jewellery came in time. Eventually I realized jewellery could be used as a powerful tool for self-expression and was envious of those who seemed able to convey ideas through their work. It led to a self-directed examination of my work and what I wanted to say with it.
        Today my work is about re-establishing a connection to the roots of craftsmanship. Techniques previously used for their working properties are used today for their visual appeal. I explore the integration of these divergent uses and highlight the relationship between function and form in contemporary jewellery.
        To illustrate this relationship, I use methods to create volume balanced by structures that create strength. This results in a body of work that combines the appearance of delicacy with the practicality of strength. These complementary ideas allow for the creation of comfortable, sculptural jewellery that stands alone, but comes to life on the body.
        My entries for “Envy” are pieces that came out of this analysis and speak to my growth as a conceptual jeweller. I am pleased with my progression thus far but the “green eyed monster” keeps me focused on my work and allows it to continue to evolve with me. I have found envy, under the right circumstance a critical factor in inspiring me to persist in exploring new ideas in process and form.

Check out the show and stay tuned for more about what inspires me today:o)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hearts, hearts and more hearts!

The Jewel Envy "RED" show is fast approaching and I am in the final stages of attacking hearts. No I am not having a heart attack, I have been working on making pieces about the heart and the sentiments related to it for the show.

I started with a complex piece that the wearer can pump to spray up rubies into the heart cavity. I think it is actually the largest thing I have ever made and it gave me a taste for hollow-ware and all sorts of alternative materials. So with that piece out of the way it should have been smooth sailing. But alas jewellery is never easy. My next few pieces in the series are production hearts to be cast in resin. It has taken me months to figure out how to achieve the desired results. I think I finally have resin worked out and am close to finishing my full heart, shriveled heart, fractured heart, and prickly heart and probably a few others that I have been thinking about.

I am not including pictures for now, you will have to come to the show to check out the work:o) So far the booked locations include Distill, 18Karat, Pearson Gallery and then hopefully in venues across Canada!

Happy jewellery making!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Bring your broken your weary and your dully finished jewellery....

This Saturday July 31st, from a10am-6pm, will be a repair day extravaganza! The jewellers at my studio Jewel Envy will be taking in all repairs and completing most within the hour. Why? Well it is a chance to let the local community know about us and what we offer. The best way to get new customers is not to sell them anything but to provide a service they would like to have done with little effort on their part. So bring in your favorite pieces that need a little TLC and we will do our best to restore them to their former glory! Have a look at the Jewel Envy website for the repair menu.

See you Saturday!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

HOT off the jewellers bench!

Custom work can be a fantastic way to test your skills and broaden your portfolio. It also allows you to strengthen your communication and rapport with customers. But at the same time it can be very stressful!

I just had the pleasure to work with a new client, Steve Skinner, who happens to be a professional fighter. His appearance was quite intimidating to me despite his calm and polite nature and this was only emphasized for me when my brother emailed me a Youtube video of one of this fights. It is probably an occupational hazard for fighters so it is a good thing Steve has a calm and persistent way of expressing himself even when not 100% pleased.

I have to say this was a difficult order. I was presented with an image of a "Jason" mask from the internet and asked if I could make it in white and yellow gold. We spoke for about 10min and I was confident I could recreate the look in a pendant. So I went ahead and made the piece that would hang from his heavy white gold chain. 

Above is the first attempt. This mask was not exactly how Steve had imagined the final piece. He felt it was too thin and did not contour to the face as it should, to be realistic. I pride myself on technical skill and the ability to make what my customers want. Based on the original weight of gold I could not produce the mask exactly as desired. We agreed on a new and heavier piece and I went back to work.

This time I went about it differently and carved a wax first. Again this wax was not exactly as the imagined piece should be. Steve articulated how he wanted the mask to look and what was both good and bad with the wax carving and I set out to carve it again.

Well third time was a charm! I carved the wax and it was perfect! Steve approved it and I cast it in 10K palladium white gold and added 10K yellow gold rivets and spikes to the mask after. I did take some artistic liberty with the size of the rivets and spikes to increase the contrast between the white and yellow gold. Good thing he liked that!
You can see how this mask is heavier and better proportioned to the scale. I was thrilled with the final piece and relieved that Steve liked it. This custom job was stressful but a valuable learning experience that reinforced the importance of communication with new customers.

If you would like to see Steve kick butt check out this video Youtube-Steve Skinner and then you will see why this happy smiling face still intimidates the petite jeweller that I am.

Check back again soon as I will continue to chronicle my work and share the highlights of what I am up to.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Preparing for work work and more work!

This week I am preparing for a jewellery feature at Organic Metal Gallery. I was asked if I wanted to exhibit enameled work as I used to focus on this area of jewellery design. It has been a while since I did lots of enameling but I have been getting back in the groove as I prepare for the show.

In addition to working on both old and new designs for the show I am working on many custom orders right now. Most people do not realize this but summer is the busy season for studio jewellery. There are many exhibitions at this time of year, summer weddings are popular and finally it might just be related to the happy feeling people get when they have lots of time in the sunshine!

That's all for now. Enjoy the sun and support local artisans in your city!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Home and Working Hard!

With the G20 going on and downtown riots I was not able to go to my studio to work. Good thing I planned ahead and brought home the studio computer, my sketch book and a piece that I could partially fabricate at home! With all that going on I felt a little sequestered in my home but that resulted in it being a very productive weekend for me.

I got caught up on all of marking for my casting class at OCAD. I worked on the Jewel Envy schedual and sent out our monthly emails. I added lots of content to and I would have finished the piece of jewellery I was working on if I didn't run out of sterling silver wire and I got some applications ready for shows. So now its Sunday night and for once I feel prepared for a busy week and I know it is going to be productive!

If you are an artist here are some links for upcoming calls for entry! (I entered this one last year! Below is a picture of my dress on their model.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

So many things to make so little time in a day!

Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed about the amount of things I would like to have accomplished in a week. This week is one of those times! In addition to teaching casting at OCAD two nights a week (and writing up my students next exam) I have client meetings and the Metal Arts Guild event that I will be speaking at. All good things right?! I think so, but it does means putting aside a few projects I would really like to get underway.

I guess I will just have to deal with it like everyone else. Weeks like this remind me that when I don't have the time to make everything it is really imporant to keep my sketch book close by so that I can jot down designs and ideas for later when there is time to process them. Good thing I just got a new smaller sketch book that travels with me most of the time to do just that!

Since I am clearly in planning and scheduling mode I would like to invite anyone reading this to come to the Metal Arts Guild event this Thursday June 17th from 7:30pm-10pm. MAG is implementing a lot of exciting changes and this party will be a great chance to mingle with other metal artists from in and around Toronto while hearing about things that can help you in your career and subsequently how to get involved. For more information about MAG and this event please go to www.metalartsguild.c/events/metal-arts-guild-party. MAG is a national Canadian organization with satelite groups across Canada. If you are interested in starting your own satelite group or getting involved and you do not live in Toronto contact MAG there are many opportunities for participation from across Canada!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Welcome to my new blog! I spend a lot of time on the computer so I thought I might expand my reach and let all of you know what I am up to these days. Check back often as I will be uploading info on my work, my studio, and general calls for entry that I scour the web looking for to keep me busy and creative:o)

 I look forward to sharing more with you and hearing back with questions and or comments.