Roaming around the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit

   After a morning of laundry and discovering my new cat’s hiding place I made my way over the Nathan Phillips Square to enjoy the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit.  It was wondeful to see so many great artists gathered together to show new work and sell it directly to the public, I’m always excited to browse around all the booths.

I visited Emily Gill to give her a small break to buy ice cream and to congratulate her on winning the “Best of Jewellery” category.  Congratulations Emily, looks like all the hard work you have been doing has paid off for the second year in a row, woohoo! 

I stopped by Amanda DelaCruz’s booth to check out her new work.  I first met Amanda at the 2009 grad show at the Ontario College of Art and Design and since then she has taken an enameling course at Jewel Envy.  She has been busy ever since, got herself a kiln and has been creating lovely work combining enameled pieces with fabric and ribbon. It was wonderful to see such a breadth of new work from her, keep it up Amanda!

I passed by Joyce Jia-Yi Yang‘s booth and paused to look over miniture trowels and spades made with mokume handles.  Also an amazingly constructed umbrella fabricated out of metal – truly amazing!

Another jeweller that I took note of was Ko Park.  She has created amazing CAD created rings that you can assemble together with alternative acrylic parts, they are so much fun!

I ended off the day chatting with Kristofir Dean catching up with him since his visit to Toronto from B.C. is coming to an end and I left the show with one of his paintings, I’m such a lucky girl!

I had a good time browsing around, if you didn’t be sure to check out the artists links I attached and take a peak!  You can also check the online catalogue of artists from the show.


Giving Back to the Community

Hi Again,

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!


So you make jewellery? Now what?!

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!

Party details:
MAG head office
88 Elm Groove Ave
Toronto, ON

Come join us and meet your co-workers, friends, and metal enthusiasts!


Introducing: small town, BIG city

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!
Laura—natural beauty
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.

Nicole—classic beauty

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!

Kathryn Rebecca
Life is short – do what you love!

Pounding headaches, incredible beauty

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

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

This month I have lots coming up.

I just finished up teaching the second 8 week session of Introductory Enameling. We also had one student at the intermediate level who got to learn how to bezel set enameled pieces and explore his own jewellery designs with colour and fabrication. The results were great, and I think we will have many more classes to come! What better time than summer to make some bright cheery jewellery. A new 8 week class with begin Monday, June 7th and 1 day workshop on Saturday, June 19th. Come fire something in our kiln!

I received my acceptance to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition a few days ago. This will be my second summer in the show, first year as a professional artist. Last year was great, winning best jewellery gave me great exposure, and was an excellent networking opportunity for me. I hope this year will be just as successful. I just invested in a HUGE tent to  call my own which currently takes up way too much space at my apartment. It will be put to good use July 9, 10, 11th at Nathan Phillips Square, come visit!

But before the Outdoor Show, I have to finish and send new work off to Halifax, NS for the Adornable Show curated by my friend and talented NSCAD Alumnus Vanessa Neily. Here are some pictures of my initial ideas, will be a series of several working toy cars, planes, automobiles that can be worn as pendants as well.  (above and right, photos by J. Katz)
The show opens June 24th at Hydrostone Gallery and will run until August 1, 2010.

I am off to garden the day away! I will take advantage of this long weekend before a busy week, as I am moving to a new apartment (very exciting!). Hopefully I can squeeze in enough studio time next week with all the packing I still have to do….then once that is all settled, its back to work for real, I have lots to make for the Outdoor Show.

Have a nice sunny Sunday and Monday!


You just never know

As a jeweller, you often don’t know what you’ll be doing that day or what job is going to come in.

Someone recently brought me this 15 year old Zuni bangle. It has tiny pieces of  turquoise epoxied in and after 15 years, the epoxy is breaking down and loosening up. Stones are already missing.

It’s not a difficult repair just tiny and time consuming. I have removed the turquoise and epoxy but seeing as    I’ve decided to reuse the tiny turquoise pieces attempting to get every bit of epoxy off  has been difficult. I couldn’t save all of it so I’ve had to find a perfect color match to add some more pieces.

Now I just need to decide on a durable epoxy and reset them….

Quincy @ Quincy Jewels & Design


Happy Mother’s Day!

Hi everyone! It’s my turn to blog for this week! I would like to keep you guys updated about what I have been doing recently. First of all, I want to show my student’s final projects from Introduction to Fabrication class.

Amanda always finds that the bangles she has bought never fit her quite right; therefore, she decided to make herself one. The plate riveted on top of the surface will be engraved with a special message.

Alynne made herself a ring which was inspired by her vintage jewellery. Even though the fabrication of the ring was a little complex for a beginner, Alynne certainly conquered the challenge!

Now, I will share some of the process of an upcoming piece I am making for a group show that our studio is making inspired by “Red.”  I finalized my ideas into three containers which are related childhood stories. I will use different media such as polymer clay, resin and objects to create the imaginary world that the stories gave us while we were children.
Tomorrow is Mother’s day! Has everyone decided what to do with your lovely mother? If you don’t want to do an ordinary event, our studio has mother’s day workshops: cuttle fish casting or bangle design! There are still spaces, but not too many left!! Hurry up!

Have a Good Weekend!
– ChiaChien-


Hi there ,
I’ve started teaching my first 8-week fabrication class at the studio and I have to say that I absolutely enjoy every minute of it. I have a great class of 6 eager students. In the last class they learned how to form a sterling silver band ring and in the third class they will be introduced to different techniques of finishing and adding texture of their choice. In the last two classes they will start work on their final project and I am sure they will put to use all their new skills to create an interesting piece of jewelery.
Till next time,

Work in Progress

Alexis here, back from a 10 day vacation.  I have to say though, I was antsy to get back to work to try and figure out a piece that I am working on.  I was so excited about it that I kind of jumped the gun on my design process.  I did a few sketches that are mostly vague ideas.  Then instead of making a prototype I went ahead and made Mokume Gane to use in the design instead of doing things logically.
(Yay, sketches!)
I don’t always make prototypes, but when I am preparing to make a complicated piece of jewellery and I am not completely sure about how the construction of the piece is going to work it is always a wise decision to make a model.  That way I can troubleshoot without wasting materials.

However, here is what my thought process was as I came up with my idea:  I am going to create a piece that looks like scale armour, Oh! I should use different colour metals to create contrast OH! I should make Mokume it goes so well with the theme of my piece, OOH! I’m going to make Mokume NOW!
That is what happens when I get ahead of myself.  Now that I have accomplished making Mokume (a feat in itself). I then cut a pile of scale pieces and now I have to go back and build a prototype to figure how to make something out of them.
Stayed tuned folks, I will eventually figure things out and something will get made.  Hopefully.