Have you ever wondered how it was made? Take a peek behind the scenes!

Have you ever wondered how it was made? Take a peek behind the scenes!

One of my biggest aha! moments during my journey to becoming a jewellery designer happened about eleven years ago when I was watching a demonstration in the metal studio at NSCAD University. I distinctly remember the sudden feeling of my mind racing and expanding as I watched my professor execute a number of basic techniques that lay the foundation for creating jewellery.

Although I never wore much jewellery growing up, I have always been drawn to it. As a child I had a few special pieces of jewellery that had been passed down to me, and I loved looking at them and thinking about where they had been, and who had worn them. One thing I never really thought much about was how they were made–whose hands made them, and how exactly did they come to be?

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Summer Learning Inside and Outside the Studio

Summer Learning Inside and Outside the Studio

It’s been such a beautiful summer here in Nova Scotia. The summer season certainly got off to a slow start; it feels like not long ago everyone was in a collective slump moping around the city due to the unseasonably cool and wet weather stuck around for a lot of May and June. All good things come eventually though, and here we are nearing the end of August having enjoyed plenty of indulgently warm days and long evenings of daylight. 

It’s been a good summer, and this year I’ve really tried to allow myself to enjoy it, and to take it all in. As a self-employed jeweller it can be difficult to let go of the tight reigns I hold on my business in order to take a day or an evening, or even a whole weekend away from my studio to relax. I realized that by stepping out of my studio to explore and connect with people and places, I end up returning to my studio with a more efficient mental headspace to tackle my work, and a renewed inspiration to create new designs.

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Finding Moments of Calm Through Jewellery

Finding Moments of Calm Through Jewellery

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my surroundings have a significant effect on my day-to-day life, and in particular, on the work I create in my studio. Over time, I’ve come to understand how physical and emotional states influence creativity and focus; paying closer attention to this connection and learning how to better nurture each is something I’m always striving towards. I try to begin each day by embracing those aspects of my surrounding that put me at greatest ease in order to set the tone for a calm and productive day.

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Your Jewellery Needs Some Spring Cleaning Too!

Your Jewellery Needs Some Spring Cleaning Too!

As the temperatures begin to rise, the ground slowly thaws, and the days become more light-filled, it’s hard not to catch a flutter of springtime energy. I often find myself feeling a renewed motivation to clean and organize my home in order to eliminate the stale air that accumulated over winter, and to welcome the fresh scent of spring!

Amidst the flurry of spring cleaning, you may stumble across some jewels that you had stashed away that have become lacklustre, and maybe even badly tarnished. Just like your home, your jewels need a little cleaning sometimes too in order to look fresh, and just like new.

I’d like to share with you a simple cleaning method for removing tarnish, grease, and dirt on sterling silver jewellery. Following these simple steps, you can bring all your jewels out of winter hibernation, and back to their sparkly original state!

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Standing Up to Creative Burnout

Standing Up to Creative Burnout

Nova Scotia is a province with four very distinct seasons. Seeing as there are only twelve months of the year, we find ourselves in seasonal transition about once every three months. As a creative person, my practice also goes through different “seasons”, and just as some seasons, like summer, tend to be more enjoyable than others (ahem..winter) not all seasons of my creative practice are filled with easy, breezy, sunny days.

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Behind the Scenes: Fading Vestiges

Behind the Scenes: Fading Vestiges

The main reason I’ve worked towards maintaining a blog over the past few years is that I love sharing insight into the process behind my work. I’ve always been a huge advocate for taking the time to offer others a glimpse into the “behind-the-scenes” of my art practice; I believe educating others is this is the first step towards fostering greater appreciation for craftsmanship, and all things made by hand.

While I currently have a body of sculptural works on exhibition in a show titled “Fading Vestiges” at the Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some insight into the creation of some of these works. For me, the process of designing and troubleshooting the technical implications of each piece was in most cases, even more satisfying than the finished pieces themselves.

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Paint on Metal: Continued Explorations (2011-Present)

Paint on Metal: Continued Explorations (2011-Present)

Delving into the world of production jewellery, and the business side of my creative endeavours has, and continues to be both challenging and rewarding. Many people may only be familiar with my functional, sterling silver jewellery, however, there is another facet to my creative practise that I don’t often have the opportunity to focus on: non-wearable, sculptural metalwork. For several years, especially after I finished university and was living in Toronto, metal sculpture work was at the centre of my artistic pursuits. My motivation to create sculptural began to dwindle a bit over the last few years as I got more involved in production jewellery, so when my proposal was accepted to create and exhibit sculptural works for a show a the Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax, I was thrilled, and eagerly set to work.

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Touch and "See"

Touch and "See"

In previous posts I’ve delved into the different ways that jewellery can hold meaning. I’ve touched on the symbolism it can carry, the connections it can forge across generations and geographic distance, and the memories it can evoke. One aspect I haven’t really spent much time thinking out is feelings: how does a piece of jewellery make you feel, and what does it actually feel like to touch? It wasn’t until an experience I had recently that I realized how very important these are to creating strong and engaging designs.

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The Heirloom Series: Oma’s Ring Comes ‘Full Circle’

The Heirloom Series: Oma’s Ring Comes ‘Full Circle’

For the second post of the Heirloom Series I am so thrilled to share this beautifully written piece by a dear friend of mine, Laura Smith. I was so excited when Laura told me she had recently inherited a very special ring from her grandmother, and wanted to share the story behind the ring, and its significance to her. This is a very touching story that truly exemplifies the power of jewellery to create strong and meaningful connections between people through time, across generations, and through physical and emotional distance. Enjoy!

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Four Podcasts that Inspire

Four Podcasts that Inspire

I am a huge proponent of continuous learning, no matter how young or old you are, and no matter at what stage of life you are. It is important to keep inspired, and to be open to broadening your perspective by listening to others stories. I’ve learned so much both conceptually and intellectually, often about topics I wasn’t even aware of, over the last couple of years by listening to podcasts.

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Updates From the Bench: A Peek Into My Design Process

Updates From the Bench: A Peek Into My Design Process

 

One of the most common questions I get asked about my work is “How do you come up with your designs?”. I’m going to guess that a lot of creative people get asked this question or similar ones often. “Where do your designs originate? How do you start when faced with a blank canvas?” All valid questions, but ones for which I find it hard to come up with quick, succinct, and satisfying answers.

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Four Simple Ways to Organize Your Jewellery

Four Simple Ways to Organize Your Jewellery

Do you ever go to reach for your favourite necklace only to find it has become tangled up with another necklace? You settle for another piece despite the fact it doesn’t even match your outfit because you just don’t have time or patience to untangle the unruly necklace mess. Then you go to put on some earrings, but oh, where is the mate to this pair? 

I have been there. I have sat in a fury trying to muster every bit of sanity to keep my cool while attempting to solve the “knot puzzle” of untangling necklace chains. It’s not fun. 

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Introducing The Heirloom Series

Introducing The Heirloom Series

This is the first post in a new series on my blog called the “Heirloom Series”. In each post I will feature a piece of jewellery that has a story to tell or is part of a legacy; I want to share the significance behind those jewels that tie people and places together.

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Traces: a sculptural installation for TODO

Traces: a sculptural installation for TODO

In January, I had the opportunity to present a project I have been working on for a good six months. It’s been a while since I’ve invested so much time into research, exploration, experimentation, leading to the realization of a single project. The piece evolved quite a bit from conception to it’s culmination as a sculptural installation for a window display in Toronto. I felt like I had spent so much time with the piece, and having the chance to step back to see it out in the world was an experience that allowed me to detach from the work, and examine it critically.

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News and Updates

News and Updates

As someone who works alone, and spends long solitary hours in a studio, getting the chance to spend a few weekends at craft shows meeting clients and connecting with other makers is not just a change of scene, but also a rewarding experience that reminds me why I do what I do. The month of November has certainly been a busy one! I am very fortunate to have been accepted as a vendor at three local holiday craft shows this year. Needless to say, I have spent most of the last month in an endless loop of being glued to my work bench, walking my dog, eating, and sleeping (probably less than I should!). Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what I do, and show season always reinforces how grateful I am to pursue my passion.

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Diversions Into Sculpture

Diversions Into Sculpture

A visit to the beach last winter presented me with scenes that stuck in my mind, and nagged at me to revisit, and to contemplate. Blistering cold winds off the water swept across and tore through the thin beach grass that had become weathered, and almost colourless. The grass parted into sweeping patterns, splaying fourth from the relentless gusts of wind. The grass was lifeless yet electrified with so much energy. It embodied visible trace's of the life it encountered, both from nature and humankind. It was ghostly, and intriguing; I clung to this image for months.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram, may have already seen how this blustery coastal scene has found its way into my work. I was really struck by the patterns of the windswept beach grass (also called marram grass), and wanted to somehow capture the essence of this through metal. 

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Laying the Foundation for Growth

Laying the Foundation for Growth

It seemed strange to me at first to feel inclined to dedicate a long post to an experience I had several years ago, but to be honest, it was such a profound one, that it is actually worthy of much more than a single blog post. I want to talk about being an artist-in-residence. 

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Being (back) here

Being (back) here

It’s been almost a year since I moved back here to Nova Scotia. Aside from leaving behind a dream job, and friends I adored in Toronto, I anticipated that the return home to Halifax after living away for almost five years would be pretty straightforward. I was convinced that packing up my tools and relocating my studio would be just like any other time I had moved while living in Toronto. It would take some time to reorganize, but I would manage to pick up right where I had left off, and in no time, would be back at my workbench. Sure, trekking all my tools back to the East Coast was not actually that complicated -but everything else was.

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How to Conquer Your To-Do List While Wishing You Were at the Beach

How to Conquer Your To-Do List While Wishing You Were at the Beach

Every year when summer finally rolls around, I find myself struggling to establish some sort of balance between soaking up some sun, and getting things done. After a long, dark winter, I feelit’s only fair to allow ourselves to get out to enjoy a sunny day! Nonetheless, letting all the work pile up because you played hooky to catch some rays is not necessarily the smartest choice either. So what is one to do?

Although I am in no way an expert on time management, and yes, I am guilty of sneaking off to the beach on a work day, I have found a few strategies to help maintain focus during the summer months.

Here are a few ideas that have helped me, and may hopefully be of help to you too!

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A Peek Behind the Scenes

A Peek Behind the Scenes

Over the past month I have been working really hard to complete a few new designs in time for the Craft Nova Scotia Designer Craft Show, at which I will be participating as a vendor this year. (Click here for details).

I love designing new pieces of jewellery. The process that leads to a finished product is always full of new discoveries, surprises, and challenges. I’m happy to say I managed to resolve a few new designs, which I will debut at the show, and thought it might be interesting to share a bit of my design journey with you.

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