This week I have been working on a special piece for a charity. The event is being organized by 18Karat in and will take place in November. I was inspired a couple weeks ago but did not have time to start my piece so instead I did many many many sketches! Finally I had some time last week to start it. The piece is about strength and courage. It will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to support a battered womens help line. I have to say I am going to miss this piece but I hope it will bring in some money for a very worthy cause. Here are some pics of the work in progress!
The left side is marriage of metal with nickle on top and sterling silver on the bottom. The night side if mokume gane with 20 layers of sterling silver and nickle.
At this point I am deciding on the stones for inside the pendant as well as the back of the necklace.
Now I am sewing on the pearl edging. The necklace is far from complete but that is my progress so far. Stay tuned for more details!
Goldsmithing tends to be a solitary activity. Although many people work in group studio environments, the majority of jewellers work in small areas and are in many ways isolated from their peers. The reasons for working alone can vary greatly but the job itself requires so much concentration than even working with others around you does not always pull you out from your own microcosmic world.
So what can you do about this self imposed bubble? One way is to find ways to get involved in the jewellery community. In Toronto, the jewellery community is lucky to have both the Ontario Crafts Council, and the Metal Arts Guild of Canada’s head offices located in the heart of downtown.
Their proximity alone means there must be other solitary workers who may not know how to reach out. Thankfully the internet is a fast and easy resource to find out about what is happening in the city all around you.
Recently I decided it was time to get more involved with the metal community. I have spent the last ten years working as a full time goldsmith and I feel like I should be giving back as I know others have helped me over the years. My first decision was to organize the Jewel Envy group exhibition titled “Red”; with the help of the other jewellers here. With that planning underway I also decided to start vounteering more actively for the Metal Arts Guild of Canada (MAG).
MAG is an organization run on the sheer willpower of artists and business people alike. It has the potential to strengthen the Canadian metal workers presence and bring our artists into a national arena….but only if we get more help from other stranded jewellers at large.
Tonight I am off to the MAG party to bring Toronto jewellers and metal workers a little closer together. We are hoping to inspire others to join in and help us sustain an organization who’s sole purpose is to help us succeed. The party is open to everyone with an interest in metal. We want you to come out and learn how you can help make MAG work for you!
MAG head office
88 Elm Groove Ave
Come join us and meet your co-workers, friends, and metal enthusiasts!
It’s been a very busy few weeks! I have slowly been finishing up my new collection titled “small town, BIG city”. Here are a few examples of the finished pieces!
Materials: Sterling silver, aquamarine and freshwater pearls.
Process: This piece was hand carved in wax and cast in sterling silver. Aquamarine was hand set. Pearl was placed to remind the wear to be true to themselves.
Lisa – bold with beauty
Materials: Sterling silver with 18k gold plating, smooth gold fill spheres, blue Chinese jade, and agate.
Process: Clasp was hand carved in wax, cast in sterling silver and gold plated. Stones were chosen with great care to compliment the clasp and remind the wearer to be proud of themselves.
Materials: Sterling silver, aquamarine, iolite, sea bamboo and freshwater pearls.
Process: Circle’s were hand carved in wax and cast in sterling silver. Aquamarine was hand set. Stones were chosen to bring a unique twist to a classic two strand design. The vibrant sea bamboo was added to remind the wearer to go for their dreams.
A selection of “small town, BIG city” is available at The Coal Miner’s Daughter, a beautiful boutique in Mirvish village.
Looking forward to sharing more on my progress with you!
Life is short – do what you love!
Lately I’ve been thinking that there’s a fair bit of truth to the old proverb “if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” You see, mokume gane is killing me. I might well be talking about a murderous anime character, but I’m actually referring to an ancient (and fiendishly difficult) technique developed by Japanese sword makers to impart dazzling wood grain patterns to the surfaces of their blades. Mildly insane goldsmiths – that would be me – have adopted this technique to create stunning works of jewellery. All it takes is endless hours of pounding and soldering layers of metal into billets which are then cut, twisted, filed, or otherwise tortured into exposing the beautiful patterns within.
Mokume gane is hard to learn: a few extra seconds of heat and you end up with a pile of lousy and expensive junk. It’s also taking a toll on my body, as the endless pounding of silver, copper, gold, or platinum sheets leaves my hands throbbing and my ears ringing.
Mokume gane is hard to master. But I’m harder.
Young Kyoung Ko