Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Custom Wolf Pin

Here's where it all begins! I google searched these images, the customer was looking for a wolf that had an expression that was somewhere between ferocious and placid. I blocked out the main shape first.

I love adding detail using relief wax. It helps to have the different colour wax and still achieves crisp detailing.

To the left, to the left.

It's important to know your angles... facing left after casting in sterling silver.
Here is the finished piece, looking pretty badass.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Trying out gradient as a background, yay? or nay?

One more for the road.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sunflower Engagement Ring

Mapping out the dimensions/shapes with my sketches as a guide. I made my sketches based on meetings with the customers, discussing all the details and selecting the perfect diamond for the center with them.

Basic shape and dimensions are done on the top, at this point I scheduled an appointment so the customer could try it on to check sizing and to okay the dimensions.

After all the details were added I couldn't resist trying the wax on one last time before casting it in 14 karat nickel white gold.

Just after casting and trimming the sprues (the lumpy parts). I love figuring out the best areas to attach sprues so the metal flows nicely into the piece when I am casting. 

From the back!

After all the filing, emerying, and perfecting each nook and cranny I polished it up and set the diamonds in place. A beautiful .9ct Cognac diamond in the center with 24 accent diamonds around the perimeter and the shoulders of the ring, take a look: 

I am quite happy with my photos, I feel like I am getting a handle on editing them, and I am reminded yet again that practice makes perfect (not there yet, but getting better!)

If only photos could truly capture the brilliance of a diamond... I guess I should be taking video clips, doh! another skill to try out.

I know that I am obsessed and love seeing parts of the process - my phone is filled with either process pics of jewellery and (full disclosure) my cat. Is there any part of the process you would like to get a window into? Let me know!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mood Boards

I have been sitting with ideas and letting them percolate lately. A large part of my creative process doesn't always appear the most creative - to an outsider it's me sitting quietly staring out into space. This morning I sipped my coffee and got to thinking about this year's entry into Jewel Envy's themed competition Winter Wedding. Things are starting to form in my mind...

I wanted to repost the entries I made for last year's competition (Wedding Earrings). I started with my mood boards collecting colours and style inspirations and centered my designs around them. I always get excited to do this type of work because it gets me to step outside of the regular flow of my creative process and center around a specific piece. Each set of earrings is specific to it's mood board.

Lace and Pearls - made with sterling silver and pearls.

Wing Earrings - Sterling and fine silver, enamel, glass.

Chandelier Earrings - sterling silver and garnet beads.

Design inspiration can come from anywhere, and even if you have the slightest inkling of an idea for a custom creation I love to take on new ideas and designs for specific events!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Ring Redesign

Here's the ring pre-redesign. I anxiously cut off the gem/setting gallery before remembering to snap a picture - so it was temporarily held back in place by some red wax. The band is 14kt yellow gold and the setting gallery is 14kt white gold. The customer wanted the ring to be all 14 kt white gold, hence my rush to cut off the yellow gold when I started creating!

I decided to maintain the original setting. I played around with a few wax carvings and wanted to create a more substantial looking band while also modernizing it a bit. It was helpful to have the setting gallery handy to perch in place to check on my progress.

Here it is! Between this set of photos and the last a lot happened... The most obvious being that I cast the piece in 14kt white gold. I had to file and perfect the fit of setting gallery onto the band. I also did a solder check on the old section to make sure it did not have solder anywhere - I didn't want any surprises when attaching it to the band. The great thing about diamonds is that they can withstand being heated by a torch. Once all that was out of the way I carefully held it in position and soldered it onto the new band. In the metal you can more clearly see the two hearts I carved into the band. 

Here's another snap! Here is the ring in what looks like a stock photo (minus my dirty fingernails, of course).

Saturday, July 11, 2015

If you want these lumps, you gotta put a ring on it.

It was... interesting working with Lumpy Space Princess (LSP) for her one of a kind custom ring! Below are the sketches I did for our consultation. 

I immediately knew I wanted to steer her towards a design with a custom carved "lumpy" gem. This design was nixed because it was too solid and she didn't quite like the bumpy lines leading to the claws, "MORE lumps, not bumps." - LSP

For this design, I went with a more open design with 3 bands of wire, "MORE LUMPING LUMPS!"  - LSP

This is the one! Just enough lumps, with some sparkle.

For the ring we'll be using custom carved pink chalcedony and round brilliant cut orange sapphires

Final rendering of the choosen ring. "Mah ring!!" - LSP

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Purple power

Let me gush for a moment, I am honoured that I got to make this ring and ecstatic with the way it turned out! I am normally forgetful about taking pictures of pieces while I am creating them, but I was so giddy at every step of the way that I took quite a few process pictures for all to enjoy. My heartfelt congratulations go out to the newly engaged couple Laura and Josh! You were both such great collaborators, you made my job really easy.
The first design consideration centered around gem choice. When designing a ring it is very dependent on the shape, size, and I would say colour(s!) of the gems so there was a bit of back of forth about colour choices and shape consideration. This is the first grouping of gem choices I offered. On the table were square or oval cuts, I threw the Asscher cut in as an option and I'm glad I did because it became the main contender.

I suggested sapphire because the combination of colour and hardness works really well for a ring. Here you can see the purple Asscher cut Sapphires and a gradation of ruby/sapphires 

With gem choices set I made some sketches to help decide on a design.  I quickly came up with idea #3 and rounded it out with a couple options to choose from keeping in mind my simplicity + combination of antique/modern directives. Along with sketches I like to remind customers that they are a starting point. Adjustments can be made, altogether new sketches can be drawn up, it should be just perfect before creating!
My lovely client immediately chose design 3 and let me know about adjustments that she wanted on the band of the ring, she was able to send me a sketch of the change that she wanted and I let her know that I could easily incorporate it into the design.
Here is a view of the wax I carved, I sent these pics for approval before casting them in gold. This is a great shot of the bottom detail.
The height of the design was a particular concern, so I made sure to send along a photo of the setting height and after getting a reply to move forward it was all systems go!

It broke! Nah. I had made the decision to cast the setting and band separately. This is right after casting and cutting it away from the sprues so it looks a little blah...
Here it is after some sprucing up and I couldn't resist placing the gem in the setting to check on my carving.

After some emerying I soldered the two parts together (in the background you can see my quenching mug :oP).

Here we have the ring finally looking lovely after polishing, including my compound covered fingertips. What lovely nails I have.
Post polish shininess.

The first pic I took after the gems had been set. Oh la la.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Life

Our New Life exhibition is coming to an end at Jewel Envy.  The exhibition was a part of the Toronto International Jewellery Festival and SNAG 2013 Conference.  Coming this Monday I will be clearing out the cases and replacing them with our regular work.  I feel guilty about letting my blog fall to the wayside... Here are my excuses: In the past year I have moved into a new apartment AND the studio I manage - Jewel Envy has moved into a new location.  I am a creature of habit.  The change of environment hasn't tampered with my creative spurts, but my web presence (what little there is) fell off my radar.  I hope this won't be the case and my next update will not be spaced out so far.

Okay! enough with the excuses and ramblings.  I present to you my work and artist statement from New Life.
HANSEL / Vitreous enamel on copper using cloisonne technique, Sterling silver, steel pinback, flocking

ZSADIST / Vitreous enamel on copper using cloisonne technique, Brass, steel pinback, flocking, various chain
MAXIMUS LEONIDAS / Vitreous enamel on copper using cloisonne technique, leather, seed pearls, sterling silver

I am a proponent of the cult of new domesticity.  I have a feverish DIY spirit that keeps me up some nights to randomly bake a batch of cinnamon buns made from scratch or cut apart a pile of cardboard to create a shoe rack.  On the flip side of things I would hardly say that I have bolted upright before dawn to accomplish a DIY project, but there have been a few rare incidences.  That is until I volunteered to maintain my sister’s farm while she was out of town.  There was no question in my mind how much I wanted to do this.  I had reaped the rewards of her laying hens, ridden on her horses, and helped out in the first couple of days when her goats gave birth to their kids.  Now I would be there every day to care for her brood of animals.  I would have to wake up at the crack of dawn to feed them all.  And not to mention all that horse poop.  Seriously, there are hills behind the barn composed of horse poop.

Of the things I learned:

Having the hose handy while feeding the goats is paramount.  They are more excited and friendly when you are bringing them food and lunging goat hooves don’t feel so nice.

 Zsadist the horse will bend to your will if you offer him a treat, this includes clumsily trying to put a horse blanket on him when it’s something you have never done before.

Never leave anything on the kitchen counter that can be consumed.  This includes and is not limited to used Kleenex and sticks of butter.  Adding to the weight of Maximus means you run the risk of being squished when he is in lap dog mode.

The sense of accomplishment and pride of the daily labour involved is like no other that I have felt.  Neither have I ever slept so well.  My temporary new life has instilled a deeper curiosity and appreciation for the rise in small farming ventures and an examination of how animals are cared for on a larger scale for mass consumption.  However, I am (with a twinge of guilt) grateful that I now have the option to sleep in on the weekend.

List of animals:
Dogs: Maximus Leonidas (Bernese Mountain Dog), Detective Olivia Benson (Miniature Dashchund)
Cats: Death Wish Kitty, Tip, Boo, Bob, Zoob (barn cats), Socket Plug (indoor cat)
Horses: Zsadist, Avalon
Goats: Gert, Hansel, Katinka, Tony, Levi
Sheep: 41, 42
Fowl:  24 ducks, Dindin (sole rooster), 8  chickens, 6 guinea fowl

Check out:

AND I have yet to read, but am going to go ahead and plug: Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar

In her own words:

"An examination of the fascination with reviving “lost” domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex & the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?"