SPOTLIGHT ON…. ALEXIS KOSTUK!!!!!

Happy weekend everybody!
It’s a beautiful day – the sun is shining and there is still some warmth in the air. Basically, a perfect day to come inside and try on some jewellery, haha! But actually it is…
You all know Alexis, studio manager extraordinaire, and I’m sure you’ve seen her work before. I just thought I would gather some of my favourite pieces that she has here on display. There is quite a wide range of techniques that she uses to create her collections – she really is an artiste:)

 
The ‘Whoops’ pendant is enamel, set in a sterling heart. 
The gemstone stud earrings, and the oval floral pin, are also enamel.
The shark pendant is carved and cast in sterling, with green tourmaline eyes.
The two wedding bands are sterling silver, with nickel silver polka dot inlay for contrast.
The three bands in front are also part of the polka dot collection, also with nickel silver polka dots but with gemstones for added colour. Choose between blue tourmalines, black spinel, or green tsavorites.
The beaded tassel pendant has a periwinkle blue enamel centre, with a small oval onyx set above it.
The initial pendant (which can be customized in a variety of styles, for every letter of the alphabet) is carved by hand and cast in sterling silver.
Stop by today and try something on! We’re open until 6pm this evening, see you soon!
 
 

Oh heeeey Alexis!

In case you don’t know Alexis Kostuk (of Glaciale jewellery design), I want to spend a moment giving you a glimpse into her goldsmithing goodness.
She is an all-around amazing artist, and her talent is more than visible in her carved pieces. Below are some of her statement rings that catch the eye in the best way possible.
The centre stone is a blue onyx, and it’s surrounded by white sapphires. This appeals to my art nouveau/deco-architecture-appreciating self in so many great ways.
This ring has a slightly different design than the one above, with a lapis centre (and don’t you just love lapis?!) and blue sapphires.
 Look at that turquoise! It sits atop a bed of sterling silver coral reef, with a peekaboo texture that perfectly complements the matrix of the stone.
Aren’t they lovely! Get your butts down here and just try to decide which one you like best. I dare you:)
ps – hi Rhonda!

Burn baby burn!

So I dropped some very very hot wax on my arm the other day. It is not a big deal in the grand scheme of potential-goldsmith-injuries, but it is a bit of an eyesore:
 ouch!
So what is a goldsmith to do? Cover it up with jewellery of course! Big and bold bracelets are the perfect disguise, and here is the proof:
(L-R) Arrowhead bracelet in sterling, Archerade by Sasha Oda
Open studded cuff in sterling, Jewelust by Amanda Henderson
Twig cuff in sterling and gold plate, Pash by Gillian Batcher
Wrap bracelet in sterling, Tete Designs by Fatima Tataragic
If delicate is more your thing, we also have a great selection of dainty bracelets that are beautiful and intricate distractions from any offensive scar tissue:)
(T-B) Plain and hammered bangles in sterling, HP Lafaurie Jewelry Design by Helena Lafaurie
Paisley links and cherry blossom bracelets in sterling, Koko Bijoux by Young Kyoung Ko
Lotus charm bracelet with sapphires in sterling, Ellolite by Chia-Chien Tsai
Open shapes bracelet with moonstone beads in sterling, Glaciale by Alexis Kostuk
 
 
Obviously you can arm yourself even if uninjured, so come on by today and try on some bracelets!
We are open until 6pm tonight, you can help me put some aloe on my burn.
~sash

Reigning mad skills

These are some oldies, but goodies.  Last year the studio was tapped to create some prop pieces for the TV show Reign. Below you can see the process of creating pieces that are emblems for Mary, Queen of Scots personal bible. The design was sourced from films stills to recreate the elements of the prop.  The emblems were later attached to a hand bound book by a bookbinder.   – Alexis

Working from a blurry photo still, I first
sketched the pieces out and did a transfer on the wax before cutting out
the shape.  You can see in the photo the drawing/scratch marks that
were my guide for sawing the shapes out. I like to think of piercing
work as drawing with my saw ;o)

 

To prevent the wax from breaking as I was carving the details I glued the pieces down onto sections of scrap wood.  There are few things more heartbreaking than when you are almost finished adding detail and it breaks. With the wax firmly glued in place as I was working all the pieces stayed intact (success!)  

To remove the pieces from their wood bases I simply soaked them in water, here you can see all five designs.

The show needed to have replicas of the props, which meant making multiples. I made molds directly from the wax carvings to duplicate the designs.

Here are the wax duplicates after I attached sprues to each. There needed to be enough to make two book covers with the emblems. The designs in the middle and bottom right appear twice on the cover, so it meant making four (you can see I made extra in case the castings didn’t work.  

Casting these pieces was an ORDEAL.  Between this and the last picture I made the duplicates into a casting tree (which can be seen just left of my saw); I made three separate trees.  The metal I used was bronze… as I was melting the metal in a crucible it started to seize and just would not get molten. My crucible turned into a dirty mess and after standing and heating the first batch of metal with a torch for almost 15 minutes I stopped what I was doing, took a break and decided to try changing my normal casting process. I altered what I normally do when melting metal and was eventually able to cast the three groupings of pieces. 

Here you can see that all the pieces casted well, I even have the extras that worked on the left.  I filed and polished them up before eventually goldplating them. 

Here are the final pieces with antique looking goldplating. Duotang-like tabs were added to the back so that they could easily be attached to the book props as the emblems on Mary, Queen of Scots personal bible.

Sunday Funday

Happy Sunday y’all!  If you’re looking for something to fill your hours, 
Alexis Kostuk of Glaciale Jewellery can help you out.

Today is the last day of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, and she has lots of 
beautiful pieces to pique your interest and unburden your wallet.
So head down to Nathan Phillips Square and say hello. 
(Also say Happy Birthday, because today is her very special day!)
How can anyone resist this smiling face??!
Booth H12, under the charming blue tent.
xx sash

New Class!

Upcoming Saturday August 10th, 2013 we will be offering for the first time our Name Plate One Day Class.
Sign up today to design and learn how to hand pierce with a jeweller’s saw a name plate which you can wear on a necklace or bracelet.  Make one with your own or a special someone’s name or initials or maybe even just a random word!

The class sample made by onsite goldsmith Alexis using brass.

Back in inaction

I am back in the studio after taking part in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit.  I thought I would jump back into work right away, but today is my day of inaction.  

I wanted to thank all the folks that visited me, bought pieces, came to give me treats, or lent a helping hand.   I relish the opportunity to step outside of my introspective head-space to interact with people and chat about my work.  I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the art show this year.

If you didn’t get the chance to visit, you should head over to my blog to check out some of my newest work and read possibly my strangest post yet.  You have been warned!

Alexis

My hand making some adjustments in my jewellery case.

Thank you Ellen, Lianne and Manaf for the treats!