Tag Archives: silver

‘My’ Galleries

This sterling onefooter ring with a sparkling natural blue zircon set in 18k yellow gold bezel recently arrived at Human Arts Gallery in Ojai, California

This sterling Onefooter ring with a sparkling natural blue zircon set in 18k yellow gold bezel recently arrived at Human Arts Gallery in Ojai, California

As I sit in my studio this morning, getting ready to finish some pieces to send out to galleries next week, I am contemplating where their journey will take them before they find a home on a body.

The galleries and stores where I sell my work are an important extension of myself as an artist, like the hands are an extension of the arm, and the arm is an extension of the torso. They must know and understand my work, so that they can properly explain to their customers the inspirations and techniques of each piece. Because this is so important, I choose carefully where my work is sold.

How does an artist find representation in the best galleries? One way is to go to wholesale trade shows, such as is taking place in Las Vegas this weekend with the JCK and ACRE shows (sorry I am not there!), where gallery- and shop-owners come to look at rows and rows of samples, before placing orders. If you have been following me for a while, you would have come across some blog posts about my attendance at such shows in New York City, Philadelphia, etc.

The sheer mass of exhibitors at these shows is truly overwhelming.

The sheer mass of exhibitors at these shows is truly overwhelming.

But more often, and preferably, I travel to cities where I seek representation, so that I can see and experience what a store feels like when I walk in, before committing to have them carry my work. Yes: I am discerning as to who gets to carry my work. Today, I want to pay tribute to the two galleries that have been carrying my work the longest. These two are very different, and equally important.

Since 1977, Fireworks Gallery here in Halifax has been serving families with all their bling needs.  While being a real ‘jewellery store’, they have also been a huge supporter of up-and-coming jewellers in a variety of ways, and always support local artists. Fireworks Gallery started carrying my work over ten years ago, when I was still in art school here at NSCAD University, and they continue to be huge supporters. I have a great relationship with the gallery, and when stop by to drop off some of my work, I enjoy myself so much that I do not want to leave. The staff have become almost like family. Last Christmas, I stepped in to help them out in the store.

Last holiday season at Fireworks Gallery, with long-time staff member, the wonderful Melissa

Last holiday season at Fireworks Gallery, with long-time staff member, the wonderful Melissa

I have similarly close ties with the wonderful Galerie Noël Guyomarc’H Bijoux D’Art, in Montreal. Noel, as well, believed in me early on. He carries the best collection of contemporary jewellery and objects likely in all of Canada, and is a very important figure in this scene internationally, – a ‘mover and shaker’, as it were (there is a great article about him on Klimt Magazine, from where I also ‘borrowed this image, desolé). I am proud to say that Noel himself has been wearing one of my Twofooter rings for over a decade!

Noel in front of his amazing gallery in Montreal. Don't miss a visit if you are in the city!

Noel in front of his amazing gallery in Montreal. Don’t miss a visit if you are in the city!

I am so lucky to be represented by these two galleries, and by the 30 others, including the newest addition, the Grant Berg Gallery in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I shall tell you about them another time.

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

 

One-off Valentine’s

What is the history of Valentine’s Day? Probably some commercial endeavour. Or the lack of a mid-winter holiday? Or a combination of both?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter. And while many folks may end up making empty, half-forced notions due to this holiday, others might use this time to really reflect on what they have, WHO they have in their lives. Let us celebrate being grateful for and to the ones we have in our lives whom we love, and by whom we are loved. Let us celebrate love!

Express your love by the giving of beautiful objects, or simply prepare a loving meal. Create a handmade surprise of your own, or use the creativity of language and a pen & paper, or your voice, to profess your love to him/her/them. Happy Valentine’s Day!

These are the rings with stones I have in the studio right now

These are the rings with stones I have in the studio right now

1st two rings on the left are Onefooter rings in 18kyg, set with Canadian diamonds, sizes 7 and 7.5 (many of my representing galleries carry these; check locally!)

The rest are almost all sterling silver Onefooter rings with sapphires (or other gemstones) in 18k settings.  Each has a number, so that I can keep track!

2nd column has One-Of-A-Kind

#64 with 0.57ct light purple sapphire, size 7 (top), and
#56 with 0.6ct pale blue sapphire, size 7.5 (bottom), and
#49, a Onefooter ring with Aquamarine, size 7.5

3rd column (top to bottom)
#62 with 0.17ct princess cut ruby, size 7
#65  with 0.39ct light blue sapphire, size 7
#48 with 0.47ct pink sapphire, size 8.5,
#57 with princess cut unheated purple sapphire, size 7.5
#53 with 0.17ct princess cut blue sapphire, size 8
#52 with 5mm princess cut cognac coloured sapphire, size 7

4rd column has two sterling Onefooter rings with dark blue sapphires, sizes 7 and 6.5

The 5th and last column has
three Onefooter rings with Aquamarines, sizes 6.5/7 and 8, $916 each, and one with a gorgeous red tourmaline (size 7.5).
The last ring in that row is a stunning Twofooter ring with a large green princess cut tourmaline, size 8.

I don’t normally work in 14k, but I did once, so I have these couple of rings here (will not make that combo again):

This 14k Onefooter ring is set with a dark blue sapphire. It is a size 8.5 $2,640

This 14k Onefooter ring is set with a dark blue sapphire. It is a size 8.5 $2,640

Again 14k, this ring has a almost colourless sapphire; size 6.5 and $2,640

Again 14k, this ring has a almost colourless sapphire; size 6.5 and $2,640

And, miraculously, I still have this beauty:

18k gold with unheated naturally pale blue-green sapphire, size 9

18k gold with unheated naturally pale blue-green sapphire, size 9. $3,120

 

Two very different cities – Two very different necklaces

Oh my goodness, it’s been so long since I wrote. I had told you about three of the one-of-a-kind pieces I create for [email protected], but I have yet to tell you about the last two!

The first is a necklace which I titled ‘Frankfurt, Germany’. It’s made from square wire, but in round shapes. I love that juxtaposition, and often find myself playing with it: square and round.

Square wire, round shapes

Square wire, round shapes

I was partially inspired by a very unusual cobweb I saw on a freezing cold morning in that very city: Frankfurt (I’ll post that photo in a couple of days).

Having family in Germany, I have flown in and out of Frankfurt many times. The necklace talks about the flight paths into and out of that major European hub.

The last piece is very different, and talks about a very different city: Varanasi, India.

"Varanasi, India", necklace

“Varanasi, India”, necklace

Varanasi is a very holy city to the Hindu faith – people go there to purify in the river Ganges, and they go there to die, which makes for a pretty intense experience when visiting. The trek to the banks of the rivers sends you through a myriad of small winding alleys. In the crooks there is always something happening: someone selling chai, someone selling incense, a silversmith hammering religious implements out over an open flame in amazing intricacy.

A dark patina gives the sterling silver its character

A dark patina gives the sterling silver its character

Each of the links in this necklace represent sections of that path to the river. Only one link represents the other face of Varanasi: the richness of its gold and brocades, and of its diamond trade. I set rosecut rough diamonds, as well as brilliant cut clear diamonds into the piece – this shows the variety of the rapidly changing economic situation in India.

The 'other face' of India is represented by this gold link

The ‘other face’ of India is represented by this gold link, set with a variety of diamonds

Creating five completely new pieces for the exhibition at [email protected] was draining and exhilerating. I look forward to taking each series further now, seeing where each might take me, or I it!

 

Pieces about two more European cities: ‘Paris’ and ‘Berlin’

Ah, and it continues: more new pieces, about more cities: ‘Paris’, and ‘Berlin’.  Photo credit goes to Christina Arsenault in Halifax. Two more pieces will follow in my next post!

Here is ‘Paris’:

'Paris', necklace. Black tourmaline, sterling silver, 14k and 24k gold, sapphires, rubies

‘Paris’, necklace. Rough cut black tourmaline, sterling silver, 24k and 14k gold, green sapphires, rubies

I spent quite a bit of time in that glorious city a few years ago, and got to know it a bit more intimately.

round and straight, with ornamentation

round and straight, with ornamentation

I went very much by ‘feel’ with these pieces, worked very intuitively. I decided to hang the piece on a really thin and delicate, almost non-existant vermeil (24k gold over sterling silver) cable. Perhaps the round cable wire speaks of the many roundabaouts in that amazing city. The straight stone, ornamented right and left with further stones, reminiscent of stops along a certain tall structure in that great city, while the whole piece carries notions of art nouveau and art deco. I added the pure gold in the cracks after the recent shootings at ‘Charlie’.

 

 

 

Berlin

‘Berlin’, bib necklace

 

For ‘Berlin’ I based the entire piece on hear-say, since I have not been back since before the wall fell, imagine! What I know of Berlin is this: things are wild, they are not cohesive, not particularly of one nation, but much more cosmopolitan – cultures mixed and matched, and free to do so. Perhaps that’s why I have such separate bits  and moving parts to this piece: many dangling parts. When I think of Berlin, I also think of the great drummer Jerry Granelli, who teaches at the music academy there.  He in turn makes me think of blacksmith John Little and his sound sculptures, which again bring us to moving parts. And there is elegance, and beauty, art. The pearl, courted by the blue sapphire set in gold? Because sometimes Berlin considers itself the centre of the universe.

Berlin_detail

‘Berlin’, detail.  Sterling Silver, 22k gold, 14k gold, rough cut lapis lazuli, chalcedony, pearl, blue sapphire

One of the things I find really exciting about it is the meteoric iron shard that comes off the back of it: if you imagine a woman wearing the piece, the back of her dress might be cut quite low, and the meteor would hang down the back. That piece of iron came from space! It was delivered with a meteor that touched down in Russia. How amazing is that!

 

Berlin_detail_back_meteorite

‘Berlin’ detail of back droplet: meteoric iron, 14k gold claws, sterling silver.

Ok, I hope you enjoyed meeting these new pieces.  I will tell you about the last two pieces next post. Do let me know what you think. It helps me.

 

 

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