Tag Archives: NSDCC

Thank You Vancouver, Hello Halifax!

The CircleCraft Market in downtown Vancouver was once again a wonderful show this year, with tens of thousands of visitors. The quality of work represented there is simply outstanding – I have a tough time every year, trying not to surpass my luggage allowance. This year, I chose a piece by Margaret Forbes from Mountain Path Pottery bring home.

I bought this lovely cup from one of the first time artisans

I bought this lovely cup from one of the first time artisans

Thanks for all the love and appreciation I received from the Vancouver public – your positive words meant a lot! Many people had been eyeing my work for years, and finally took the plunge to buy a piece, which was delightful. It’s nice to start to be recognized “Oh, these are those rings!”

It was a busy market!

It was a busy market!

christmascraftshowI am back in my studio in Halifax, busily preparing for the next show, put on by the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council. This coming weekend, the Designer Craft Show will once again be held at the Cunard Centre at Halifax’s Pier 23 (next to the Cruise Ship docks).  I hope to see many of you there!


        Friday November 18th         10am – 9pm
        Saturday November 19th    9am – 5pm
        Sunday November 20th       10am – 5pm

 

Square One

Materials and Process – Passions of a Goldsmith – that was the title of my graduating exhibition at NSCAD University’s Anna Leonowens Gallery in 2004.  So long ago! Good early perception, though: I already knew that my passion for the materials and processes of this amazing trade of gold/silver/copper/metal-smithing is what drives me.

My heart and soul went into my NSCAD U graduating exhibition

My heart and soul went into my NSCAD U graduating exhibition

That exhibition marked the end of a tremendously important time in my life.  It was hard to figure out the logistics to keep going following graduation, two kids in elementary school and suddenly no studio. But my passion kept driving me further. I set up a studio in the Arts Annex of the Seaport Market and kept working towards another solo exhibition two years later, this time at the Mary E. Black Gallery. It was a time of tremendous outpouring. I think I will post some photos from those shows, one of these days.

Tonight though, I happened to stumble across a poem which I wrote somewhere around that time. It’s a little intense – I hope you don’t mind my sharing it here. Even to myself when reading it again after quite some time, it illustrates what’s ‘behind it all’, this passion for a dialogue with the metal which drives me, and which – incidentally – is also what makes me happy. How lucky is that?

Gotta look for some of those still ‘listening’ moments in the next bit, I think.  I am so glad I found this. Brings me right back to square one. Best place to be, hands down.


 

And such is my passion for making

that the search for the right form to
emerge from the material before me

And such is my passion for making

that this search pains me in the
innermost center of my soul – the same place love hurts –

And such is my passion for making

that when I see a form which is perfect for
its moment in time and space
(some call this ‘good design’)
that such a perfect form brings the sun to my face.
I weep with joy over such good fortune.

And such is my passion for making

that I wither when I stop
that I dream it day and night
completely unshakable.

And such is my passion for making

that I drink its textures its sounds its weight its dirt
I drink them like nectar
like frozen Bombay Sapphire
never enough.

Such is my passion for making

that it hurts.

When I realized this
I became terrified.

Now I stand in awe
before the materials which are
pregnant with stories, laden with hidden forms.

I want to draw them out
I wish to help them emerge
I desire to see them.

I concentrate, still,
examining each step carefully
Listening intently.

Dorothée Rosen, 2006

At my bench in 2007. Photo by Paige Littlefair

At my bench in 2007. Photo by Paige Littlefair

 

Thanks, CircleCraft Market Vancouver!

I have just returned from the CircleCraft Market in Vancouver. I very much enjoy coming to Vancouver twice a year to show my work, and look forward to returning again in the summer, for CircleCraft Summer and the Harmony Arts Festival. Here are a few impressions of my last visit!

Upon arrival to set up the show, one always gets this amazing view of Vancouver harbour from below the Convention Centre West.

I love this view

I love this view

Set-up went smoothly, thanks to my wonderful uncle Gary Zumar, who lives in Vancouver and always helps me out.  Upon leaving on set-up day, I found this:

These banners with my rings on them would greet visitors all week

These banners with my rings on them would greet visitors all week

The ads all over town had caused quite the stir, and so I had a very interested audience for talking about the Onefooter rings, throughout the show.

Photos of my rings, and of my hands at work , adorned the busses

Photos of my rings, and of my hands at work , adorned the busses

Even the subway platforms showed my hands (photos by Paige Littlefair) and my work (photos by Christina Arsenault):

The subway ads were particularly stynning

The subway ads were particularly stunning

All this made mine a very popular booth:

CircleCraft_2015

The flow of people at the booth was steady

People were particularly interested in seeing the many variations of Onefooter rings with colourful sapphires. I even had one with a ruby, and some with very nice tourmaline, one of which found a happy new owner.

Trying on rings

Trying on rings & asking questions

The highlight of the show was when a couple whom I had been working with over the past couple of months, came to pick up their commitment rings. It remains amazing to me that I get to play this huge role in couples’ lives – Thank You!

These two were as excited as I was!

These two were as excited as I was!

the happy couple with their custom made commitment rings

The couple had me make them a 18k palladium white gold Onefooter ring with princess cut blue sapphire, and a white gold MapleLeaf ring

Lastly: I got a treat, too. Craftspeople have a very hard time not falling in love with each other’s work. This time, I returned with a particularly special piece: my epic new teapot, which Lynn from Red Pot Pottery (Surrey, BC) has painstakingly ornamented in her precise yet whimsical way. Here it is, on the wood stove back in Halifax, where I have been preparing for the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council annual Christmas Market. It opens tomorrow morning – hope to see my regulars there!

I love my new teapot!

I love my new teapot 🙂

See you this weekend, Halifax!

NSDCC_FB_banner

As always: come early for the best selection

 

Love from Coast to Coast, and over the pond!

I just finished two outdoor summer art markets: first in Halifax, then in Vancouver, British Columbia, returning today from the West Coast.  As much as I enjoy making things in my studio, it is always such a delight to bring my work in front of real life people. The jewellery I create is meant to adorn bodies, and it is meant to bring delight to the wearer. And so it is always wonderful to explain the processes of head and hand, which are involved in the making of my pieces.

My lovely Vancouverite assistant 'Bob' shows off how well the 'Meeting' rings stack

My lovely Vancouverite assistant ‘Bob’ shows off how well the ‘Meeting’ rings stack. She loves jewellery!

This year, I again had some wonderful encounters during the summer shows.

In Halifax, I met Pati, who was visiting from the US, and who fell head over heels in love with this one footer ring with Aquamarine. And how delightful to speak to Vivian, whose adult children Luca and Julia are about to part ways for the first time, going to colleges away from each other. Vivian wanted to keep her children connected by way of each one having a Onefooter ring. I love such stories!

In Vancouver, I had another good couple of tales:

This was the view of Vancouver from near where I was staying

This was the view of Vancouver from near where I was staying

There was another head-over-heels for an Aquamarine set in 18k yellow gold, when Kathy put it on her finger. Luckily, I had that second one!

Steve and his wife looked for a long time, and wanted to know every detail behind the design and making of the Onefooter series. Their favourite line was “the ring is forged in various directions, just like life pushes and pulls you”. I was delighted when they chose this design to celebrate their 25th(!) wedding anniversary! Steve was sure to document ever detail of this decision and purchase, and said it was surely to be found under the hashtag #25thAnniversary (or is it #TwentyfifthAnniversary ?). Let me know if you find anything!

Here they are, practising for the actual celebration a few weeks out.

They do!!!

They do!!!

"You may kiss the bride!"

“You may kiss the bride!”

Alexandra from London was a complete hoot when she purchased this ring, encouraged by her her two teenage daughters and her brother Edward, who pointed out the very favourable exchange rate.  It was almost difficult to let go of this one, one of my most beloved creations of this last phase: a Onefooter ring in 18k yellow gold, set with this brilliantly gorgeous burgundy sapphire. “Happy 21st anniversary, dahhhling me!” she exclaimed, beaming as she admired the ring on her own hand.

18k yellow gold Onefootere ring with 0.93ct burgundy sapphire ... YUM!

18k yellow gold Onefootere ring with 0.93ct burgundy sapphire … YUM!

I love love love making people happy. And I love that I get to make things with my hands that do just that!

Check this out: I am the feature artist for Vancouver's Circle Craft Christmas Market 2015!

Check this out: I am the feature artist for Vancouver’s Circle Craft Christmas Market 2015!

I already look forward to returning to CircleCraft for the November 11-15th Christmas Market, but first I’ll head to NYC for the trade-only NYNow. I take great care to decide which galleries get to represent my work, and so I look forward to meeting new gallery owners there.

Society of North American Goldsmiths Conference

Did you know that even artists can gather in a nerdy, geeky kind of way? Almost a thousand ‘makers and educator in metal’ gathered for the recent annual gathering of the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ conference, SNAG, held this year in Boston. It’s really amazing to be in the room with so many like-minded makers, even though there was a vast variety of media, style, and ideas represented.

This was the lecture given by Mary Lee Hu, one of my biggest idols

This was the lecture given by Mary Lee Hu, one of my biggest idols

The 'gallery crawl' across the host city is always a highlight. This is Mobilia Gallery, an amazing gallery. See owners Libby and Jo Anne on the right

The ‘gallery crawl’ across the host city is always a highlight. This is the amazing Mobilia Gallery. See owners Libby and Jo Anne on the right

Particularly interesting this year was the presence and reports of the collaborative projects of hand-crafters and computer geeks, for example MIT and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Contrary to prejudice, either side has much to offer to the other. The resulting ‘FabLabs’ are something I will definitely look into further!

Neil Gershenfeld from MIT and Neil Gershenfeld  of Haystack gave a dynamic and fascinating presentation

Neil Gershenfeld from MIT and Neil Gershenfeld of Haystack gave a dynamic and fascinating presentation

Halifax’ own NSCAD university was represented in the attendance by its alumni, such as myself, and of course Sadie Bronffman award-winner Paul McClure, as well as in the student work slides show, and the juried student exhibition.

Shelbey Dodds "South Park Window" is seen as part of the student exhibitions

Shelbey Dodds “South Park Window” is seen as part of the student exhibitions

The somewhat outrageous Dutch artist Ruudt Peters gave the keynote address. We took this photo at the Opening of his exhibition

“Selfie” with  Ruudt Peters during the opening of his exhibition

There is not enough room here to tell you about all the amazing talks, conversations, presentations, and exhibtitions I saw. It simply is amazing to hear people speak whom one has studied all one’s career (like Dutch jewellery art ‘rockstar’ Ruudt Peters), and meet artists one has admired through magazines and books for years, like Linda Kindler Priest who’s work I saw at the Fuller Craft Museum, and who I met the next morning at a breakfast hosted by Karen Lorene of Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle.

I was fortunate to travel with Judy Anderson of Fireworks Gallery, and met her son, Eric Demaine, who also mixes science and craft – he is a professor at MIT, and also creates amazing work in paper and glass. This pieces is in the permanent collection at the Fuller Museum of Craft.

"Green Waterfall" is created from a series of logarithmically related circles on paper, each folded along a series of curved creases

“Green Waterfall” is created from a series of logarithmically related circles on paper, each folded along a series of curved creases

Back home, I’ve been working on getting ready for the summer shows: in downtown Halifax July 17-19, and then downtown Vancouver, July 23 through 26th – mark your calendars! I am super excited to bring coloured sapphires set in silver rings to show you! Vancouverites, please note: I will NOT be at Harmony Arts Festival this year, but at CircleCraft earier in July.

The last evening is always a big celebration, complete with gala reception, fashion show, and dance party

The last evening of the SNAG conference is always a big celebration, complete with gala reception, fashion show, and dance party

 

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