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London – the adornment

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I had such a very busy 2014 – that ‘year of the horse’ sure went at a gallop! So it was with great pleasure that 2015 greeted me with the opportunity to create some brand new, one-of-a-kind work.

I had applied to participate in an industry-only special exhibition opportunity, called “[email protected]“. It is part of ACTS – the Atlantic Craft Trade Show. This is a wonderful Halifax tradition, where gallery owners shop for their hand-crafted Maritime items, directly from the makers. The show also beings in, every year, gallery owners from across North America – a great opportunity for local makers! I have written about my participation in the wholesale side of that wonderful annual event before.

This time, I decided to apply to be featured as a one-of-a-kind artist in their special highlight section, the [email protected]. I knew that it would bring a great challenge to me: to create brand new one-of-a-kind pieces.  Still only getting on my own financial feet after my divorce, I had really been too preoccupied just to find audiences of my existing work, to have had the time to be truly creative for new work. I often tried, but as I would say to my friends “design cannot happen in a hurry!”  I needed time and space to devote to the creative process, in order to open the door for real fresh ideas to develop.

My participation in [email protected] gave me the perfect excuse. I had no choice but to lock myself into my studio, turn computer and phone off, and go at it. I did this the minute I returned from Europe.  And I ended up spending a lot of time in that studio … some days even through the whole day and night, finally hitting my pillow at 5am, only to rise again by 8am to keep going. In fact, this wasn’t dissimilar to being back at NSCAD University, pulling a couple of all-nighters before a mid-term!

The funny thing is: I loved it! I had such a wonderful time feeling my creativity begin to flow again much more freely…. this must be what a runner feels like after a hiatus due to injury or something.  Maybe an athlete after a hiatus due to pregnancy? Because building my business has been a very satisfying and fruitful process, in itself. I do not want to equate it with an injury!

In any case, today I want to introduce you to the first of five pieces that were ultimately the result of this creative pursuit of excellence.  Let me know what you think!

As I am always interested in the study of line, I began there. But what emerged, without me really understanding how or why, was a series of necklaces, based on cities:  four European, and one colonial.

This is “London, England”:

 

"London, England". Sterling Silver, Chalcedony of various colours
“London, England” (detail) . Sterling Silver, Chalcedony of various colours (photo by Christina Arsenault)

I think this piece may be inspired by my studies of craft history, which involved Glasgow Art Nouveau artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (June 7 1868 – December 10 1928), whose work I greatly admired. Especially his chairs, the London tea room, and his stained glass work remain vividly in my memory as lighting up darkened lecture hall screens, making such great sense to me.

I only vaguely remember how his work made me feel, and decided to name this piece ‘London’ based on those feelings, and based on my feelings of spending time in that great city with its logical subway maps and highlighted cultural gems. We could have a long conversation about this!

As for Charles Rennie, I have not yet looked him up again … but you can, if you follow the above link! Tell me if I was right to think his influence was there when I created this piece!

The whole necklace, including each hand-made link
The whole necklace, including each hand-made link  (photo by Christina Arsenault – thanks, Christina!)

 

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4 Comments

  1. Saw a show of mackintosh in New York at the Met a few years ago. They had the tearoom set as a display. I can see where you have the same feeling. love the work.

  2. Love this. Very modern architectural in design, but at the same time somewhat natural, like the veins in a leaf with waterdroplets. Certainly something that someone will be proud to wear.

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Custom Gold Ring with Diamond and Sapphire
People tell me they make it their Sunday morning ritual to read my letters. It's a personal look into the life of an artist, with intimate stories, care tips, and of course some exclusive jewellery previews as well.