Side-stepping Into New Territory

I have been without access to the studio for the past two months due to renovations, and have had to improvise a bit in attempt to work at home. I decided to take this as a challenge to explore and incorporate different processes that could allow me to sidestep the limitations of not having a torch. It has proven to be a great opportunity to switch things up, and move my work in a new direction. I am currently wrapped up in the beginnings of a new body of work that will be exhibited at the York Quay Gallery at Harbourfront Centre in January.

Recently, I have shifted focus from jewellery to small-scale sculpture, and have really been enjoying the freedom my explorations. My painting practice has taken on an important role in these new works, and the process as a whole has become more intuitive. My painting and metalsmithing practices seem to have formed a new unification that I am quite excited about.

Here are a couple sneak-peek shots of some works in progress. Stay tuned! : )






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Embracing Intuition

Over the past few weeks, I have been working hard to tie up some loose ends in the studio: finish unfinished pieces, sort through accumulated inventory, and recover my organizational skills that seemed to have wandered off somewhere. All this had to happen because the studio is undergoing a major expansion/facelift, and with renos underway, we all had to pack up and take a temporary leave. It will strange to be out of the studio for a while, but I am trying to stay positive; the end results will be well worth the wait!

While preparing to pack up all my things, I came across a small casted angular form that I had never used in any of my pieces. It suddenly struck me that it might be an interesting part of a ring. I haven’t made any rings in such a long time; I couldn’t ignore the idea, and started working right away. This was the resulting ring. I darkened the interior of the angular component to create a nice contrast.


Sterling silver ring prototype

I was generally excited by the result, and knowing I only had about a week left to work in the studio, I immediately made several more, exploring different variations in shape and size.


Sterling silver rings

On my last day to work in the studio, I fell down a path that I feel I’ve never travelled before in my jewelry exploration. What began as a blatant act of procrastination from packing turned into an unstoppable flurry of sawing, drilling, riveting, connecting –for hours! I wasn’t thinking about the what, or the why of what I was making, I somehow just let go, and allowed myself to just make. It was intuitive, it was free. This is something I have been striving for in my creative process for some time now. I find it easy to get caught up in the logical side of making; particularly as a jeweler, I feel impelled to create objects with function to give reason or legitimacy to my creations.  Tossing this notion aside was a liberating experience that I hope to pursue further.



I was happy with the progression of this form because it really seemed to embody a more emotive character. I find using metal as a vehicle for immediate emotional expression to be challenging because I tend to plan ahead and map out what I am making. This piece, however, was an immediate, uninhibited act of expression.


Final Form

Learning to embrace and trust my intuition more in the creative process will not be an easy endeavor, but one I am willing to attempt, and look forward to exploring, even if I don’t end up being happy with the outcome of every piece. I remember one of my professors in university once said “you always have to make a bunch of “bad” work before you can make something truly great”.

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Look What’s in Store!

A selection of some of my smaller works are now for sale at the Centre Shop at Harbourfront Centre! I have a variety of earrings with and without painted components, some brooches, and a new neckpiece. Here is a preview of some of the available works. If you are in the Toronto area, stop by to check it out! : )











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Repeat, Repeat

I’ve been working on producing a small limited production of a recent earring design I came up with. I decided to fabricate each pair instead of using casting because the metal is thin, and easy to manipulate. Fabricating each pair enabled me to allow for a bit of variation between each pair. The basic design is the same for each pair, but the angles of the shapes vary slightly. If you are interested in a pair, you can contact me at, or stay tuned for the opening of my online shop! …


I am also excited to be able to say that I have finally ended my painting hiatus! I got back to my easel this week, just started with something small, but at least it’s a start! : )


I have been  gathering up ideas for some new pieces that will be made from this painting. After making my limited production earrings, I am looking forward to bringing my painting back in to some more elaborate, one-off pieces!

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Working through procrastination

I have to confess that although I’ve been keeping busy, I have also been procrastinating. Picking up my paintbrush to start some new paintings has been building up into a very daunting and intimidating task…it’s been a while since I last painted, and putting it off is only making me anxiously question my practice and use of paint further. Not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose, but really, I think I just need to go ahead and dive back into it, and shove all apprehension aside!

In the meantime (while avoiding painting), I have been productive in designing a new pair of earrings that I plan to produce in a limited production! They are based off of some of my recent neckpieces that utilize angular components.


I have also been continuing to play with different compositions in wax (which can be later cast in metal). Possible booch or neckpiece components…


And lastly, I took a plunge into exploring some completely new forms- tiny synclastic oval forms. I am very curious about re-exploring the direct application of paint on metal, but within a concave or partially enclosed form. I extensively explored the use of oil paint on metal when I was in my third year of my undergrad. It was a challenging investigation (see post on my former blog), but I may revisit it at some point.



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Design Time

I have spent the past few weeks immersed in the design process. I have been sketching, cutting, pasting, model-making, arranging and rearranging. Some days it feels like I have gotten nowhere, other days are more promising, and I can begin to envision the direction I want my work to take next.

After the SNAG conference was over, I took some time to reflect upon my own art practice, and my processes of making. Only recently have I started to utilize casting as a method of creating multiples of my work, and thought I should continue exploring its place in my practice. I’ve really enjoyed working with angular components, and wanted to try making molds and casting these forms. I decided to start by playing around with scale: scale up? scale down? I worked with paper cutouts to get a feel for scale.


I also used the paper cutouts to create some patterns and compositions.


I decided on seven different sized forms, made a metal frame of the silhouettes, and took them to be molded. With the molds I can create the framework in wax- perfect for playing around with compositions- and later cast the wax forms in metal. Here are a couple compositions I tried out in wax:


I haven’t done any painting in a while, but it has been on my mind constantly. I really want to push my use of paint, and its incorporation into my jewelry pieces. Taking some time to focus on the material properties of paint and its potential not only to contribute color, but also texture and volume into my work, is something I feel I need to do. Experimenting with paint thickness is going to be forefront of my upcoming experimentation.

Stay tuned! : )

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SNAG Conference 2013 Highlights (Part 2)

Here is Part 2 of my highlights from SNAG 2013:

Professional Development Seminar: Sacred Cow, Purple Cow, Cash Cow

This seminar was all about how to stand out in the jewelry market. The theme of the seminar, how to become a “purple cow” was inspired by marketing entrepreneur Seth Godin, author of the top-selling book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

There were four speakers who each gave a short presentation on a range of topics relating to innovative marketing strategies for contemporary craft. Topics included

-Exploring the experiential economy (engaging audience in the creative process)

-Use of alternative (and unexpected) exhibition and commercial spaces

-New trends in media technology (web optimization, use of apps)

-Effective documentation via photography and video

-Tapping in to the fashion industry

The seminar was very informative, and provided well-rounded insight into the world of marketing. Of all the speakers, I was most inspired by an excellent segment on effective photo/video documentation delivered by artist Rachel Timmins. She emphasized the importance of knowing the focal point of your photos, and establishing a “mood” that supports the intent of your work. The concepts she discussed in her presentation were made clear by strong support photos/videos of her incredible work.


Jennie Lee 2012 by Rachel Timmins
Image courtesy

Gallery Crawl

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, the first ever Toronto International Jewelry Festival (TIJF) was launched in conjunction with SNAG 2013, bringing about a large stream of jewelry/metalsmithing exhibitions throughout the city. Some exhibitions ran only throughout the duration of the conference, however, there are many exhibitions still up! Take a peak at the TIJF exhibition schedule to see what you can still catch.

Gardiner Museum:

A Bit of Clay on the Skin: New Ceramic Jewellery

A Bit of Clay on the Skin: New Ceramic Jewellery was one of my favorite exhibitions. It features 140 works by 20 artists from around the world who have explored ceramics as a medium for contemporary jewellery. I loved this collection of work because it really pushed the definition of both ceramic and jewelry arts in their traditional context. The merging of disciplines encourages an interesting dialogue that investigates contemporary craft in today’s culture.


Girandole-Mokume #1 by Shu-Lin Wu
Earring- porcelain,silver, 2010.
Image courtesy

18 Karat:


 Ferrous was a showcase of jewelry that made from ferrous elements such as iron, steel, and stainless steel. The designs varied greatly from fine jewelry to more sculptural and conceptual works. Although ferrous materials have been used to make jewelry for thousands of years, it was great to see them being utilized in a more contemporary context.

Trunk Show Sale

On the last day of the conference, I participated as a vendor at SNAG’s annual Trunk Show- a 2 ½ hour show and sale of jewelry and metalwork by over 60 artists from North America. This was a great experience for me, as it was my opportunity to sell work at a show. The event was open not only to conference attendees, but also to the public, so it was quite busy! Selling work at a show like this was such a great way to meet other artists, and get feedback on my work- a wonderful learning experience!


My table at the Trunk Show


I made a line of earrings and a few brooches based off of my larger neckpieces:

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NSCADers Unite!

I cannot neglect to mention that one of the biggest highlights of my SNAG conference experience was reuniting with many of my fellow classmates and Profs from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. It has been a year now since I graduated from the NSCAD with my BFA, and it was so energizing to catch up with people I had worked and grown with for many years. There was quite a strong NSCAD alumnae representation at the conference- a group photo was taken at one point and there must have been about 30 of us! Living in Toronto this past year has been amazing, but Nova Scotia will always be home for me.

It seemed a funny coincidence that there was a tourism campaign running throughout the duration of the conference while many Nova Scotians were in town; my Maritimer studio mate and I discovered this on a busy Toronto street corner while on the gallery crawl! : )


All in all, SNAG 2013 was pretty great. I hope someday I will be able to attend another SNAG conference!


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