The blog has been quiet for a long time, but I’m still here :)

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything to this blog.

In fact, I’m kind of shocked to see that this is the first post I’ve made in over a year!

There have been lots of things going on behind the scenes, some personal, some professional.

On the personal side, I spent a good part of last year recovering from an accident – I was hit by a van while crossing the street. Although I wasn’t seriously injured at the time, I developed complications later that required many months of painful physiotherapy. I’m happy to say that I’m now almost fully recovered and pain free!

I spent a bit of time traveling in Europe, soaking in the atmosphere and the history, celebrating birthdays with family, meeting some of my online friends face-to-face for the first time.

On the professional side, live classes have been the focus for the past year. One of my long-time students, Camilla Gryski, completed her course of study with me and last June celebrated her “graduation” with a very successful gallery show. I’m enormously proud of her!

Right now, I’m hard at work on preparing for a new course I’ll be teaching at Haliburton School of the Arts this coming July: Wire Weaving & Coiling. This course will introduce students to the foundations skills used to create wire jewellery using weaving and coiling techniques. If you’re looking for a chance to get away, come join me in Haliburton from July 20-24!

I’m also hosting the Year of Jewelry Project 2015, which is now on Facebook.

Finally, I’m up to my neck in renovations! After many years of thinking and planning, I’ve finally been able to design a dedicated workspace, with everything exactly where I need it. My new studio is taking shape, and I’m looking forward to moving into my new space by the start of summer!

 

Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour – May 4-5, 2013

Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour – May 4-5, 2013

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radiant-circle-necklace-lowreslogo-jpg I’m pleased to be participating in this year’s Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour, May 4-5, 2013.

This year’s tour brings together the work of 28 artists at 15 different locations in and around Port Perry, Ontario.   Eight  new artists are joining the tour this year and I am once again being welcomed as a Guest Artist at the studio of Cathy Mark, 25 Glasford Road, Little Britain (location 1 on the tour map).

For further information about the other artists participating in the tour and a downloadable map, please visit the LSSST website.  The tour brochure is also available at local galleries, hotels and tourist information offices in Durham Region.

Come out for a drive and self-guided tour to Port Perry, located just one hour northeast of Toronto!

Upcoming Workshops: Beaders Best 2012 in Hamburg, Germany

Upcoming Workshops: Beaders Best 2012 in Hamburg, Germany

UPDATE – June 4, 2012

Putting together a trip like this means a lot of planning and considerable expense.  Unfortunately, things have not come together the way I would like, and so I’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel these classes.  I want to thank Verena Greene-Christ of Perlen Poesie magazine, who made a terrific effort over the last couple of days to find a workable solution – maybe next year!

 

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It’s going to be a busy summer!  In addition to returning to Haliburton this year, I’m scheduled to teach five workshops at the Beaders Best Perlenkunst Messe in Hamburg, Germany from August 17-19, 2012 .

Sponsored by Perlen Poesie magazine, this second annual show features beadwork, wirework and metal clay from all over Europe and North America.  As the only Canadian instructor, I’m excited about teaching in Germany – and in German – for the first time.  (The courses are listed as being taught in English with German translation, because I requested a translator in case I get stuck.)

More details about the classes can be found here.

 

Es wird ein arbeitsreicher Sommer sein! Neben der Rückkehr in Haliburton, werde ich dieses Jahr  ab August 17-19, 2012 fünf Kurse am Beaders Best Perlenkunst Messe in Hamburg, Deutschland lehren.

Gefördert durch Perlen Poesie Magazin, bietet dieses zweite jährliche Messe Perlenkunst, Drahtkunst und Silber Clay aus ganz Europa und Nordamerika. Als die einzige kanadische Lehrerin, bin ich über den Unterricht zum ersten Mal in Deutschland – und in deutscher Sprache – begeistert . (Die Kurse werden als in Englisch mit deutscher Übersetzung gelehrt aufgeführt, weil ich nach einem Übersetzer fragte, falls ich stecken bleibe.)

Weitere Details zu den Kursen finden Sie hier.

 

Breathe

Breathe

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Breathe Scent Box (2011)
Copper, fine silver, sterling silver
Constructed, coiled, woven, cold-joined
H: 2.0 cm x W: 2.6 cm x D: 2.96 cm

Alright… I’m back… sort of…

I got hit with a perfect storm of personal and professional chaos in May, and my weekly postings to YOJ were the casualty. *sigh*

This piece, created for the upcoming HSTA Faculty Exhibition, is the only wire my hands have touched in the last month. It’s one of those pieces that has had to lend itself to being picked up and put down frequently while I deal with other pressures.

This year’s theme is “Breathe”. Years ago, during a conversation with a friend about being overworked and looking forward to a time when we’d be able to come up for air, I deadpanned “Breathing is overrated,” and then quipped about how that would make a really good epitaph for my headstone. The comment laid us both completely flat with laughter.

She reminded me of the conversation a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about all the “stuff” going on in our lives. This time she made the observation that it just seems to be part of my nature to throw myself into lots of projects at the same time. It’s true. I thrive on deadlines. However I’ve noticed a change in the last year or so in how I’m reacting: I seem to have developed insomnia. I regularly wake up after only a few hours of sleep, unable to shut off my brain, which spins with thoughts of all the things I need to get done.

I’ve come to realize that I do, in fact, need to breathe and relax.

This insight was reinforced as I was transcribing an interview I did with Dee Fontans, who teaches in the Jewellery Metals Program at Alberta College of Art & Design. We talked about the need to find balance between work and play, about re-energizing and feeding the muse. It’s something she struggles with as much as anyone else. 1

So, I’ve recently started making a more conscientious effort to slow down, go for bike rides, and take notice of Spring. And breathe.

With the lilac and lavender in my front yard coming into bloom, giving off a wonderful perfume, my thoughts focused on how to carry that scent with me. I continue to be obsessed with containers, so I decided I would make a little box for holding a sachet of herbs or perfumed salts. Lavender, in particular, is supposed to be good for helping with relaxation and sleep.

One thing I wanted to experiment with was patterning. Years ago when I visited the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, I was really impressed with the patterns the inhabitants carved and painted onto their pottery. Likewise, I was struck by the patterning on the First Nations baskets I saw in BC. I was able to incorporate a triangular pattern on the rim of the bottom half through a structural change in the coiling of the basket. Because I knew it was going to spin while being worn, I also added decorative elements on the base and top. So there’s lots going on.

Of course, now that this piece is done, I have ideas for a half dozen other pieces, but those will have to wait.

I still have to catch my breath.

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The Haliburton School of The Arts Faculty Exhibition 2011 will take place from July 2 to August 5, 2011 at the Rails End Gallery & Arts Centre, 23 York St., Haliburton, Ontario. Faculty will participate in a weekly meet & greet at the gallery on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
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  1. My interview with Dee Fontans will appear in the 2011: Two “College Review” issue of MAGazine, which is scheduled for release later this month. The audio of the interview will be available online after the issue comes out.

LSSST Preview Exhibition at Scugog Arts Resource Centre

In conjunction with the Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour, taking place  April 30 and May 1, 2011, the Scugog Council for the Arts will be hosting a Studio Tour Preview Exhibition during the month of April, at the Scugog Arts Resource Centre  located at 181 Perry St., Unit G-1, Port Perry.

The Preview Exhibition will include work from some of the thirty-two talented artists and artisans who will be opening their homes and studios to the public.  

The tour will include the following work:

  • Paintings in pastel, oil, acrylic, watercolour, and encaustic
  • Jewelry in many styles in silver, niobium, torch glass and wire
  • Ceramic ware and objects in various techniques
  • Stained  and kiln-formed glass
  • Metal and stone sculptures
  • Photography
  • Windsor chairs and wood carving and turning

For more information about the tour, visit the Lake Scugog Studio Tour website: www.scugogstudiotour.ca or phone:  905-985-7418

The Preview Exhibition will run from April 2 – May 1, 2011, and members, artists and the public are invited to attend the Opening Reception on April 2, 2011 from 1-4 p.m. The resource centre will also be open as the hospitality site, offering coffee and restrooms, during the weekend of the tour.

Please visit scugogarts.ca, or phone 905-982-2121, for more information.

 

Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour – Apr. 30-May 1, 2011

YOJ10-03 Marquise Series:  Pendant 8 Marquise Series: Pendant 8 (2010); Sterling silver, fine silver, tourmaline; Constructed, cold-joined, woven; L 5.0 cm x W 2.25 cm x D 1.0 cmI’m pleased to be participating in this year’s Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour, April 30-May 1, 2011.

“Located just one hour northeast of Toronto, the Lake Scugog Studio Tour is centered around the historic Port Perry area. Described as the newest emerging arts and culture destination, this tour provides a creative journey for its visitors with its annual self-guided tour of discovery.” (from LSSST website)

As one of 31 participants in the tour, I will be a Guest Artist at the studio of Cathy Mark, 25 Glasford Road, Little Britain (location 1 on the tour map).

For further information about the other artists participating in the tour and a downloadable map, please visit the LSSST website.  The tour brochure is also available at local galleries, hotels and tourist information offices in Durham Region.

PASSAGE: HSTA Faculty Exhibition – June 30-July 30, 2010

There are times when a call for entry with a specific theme is put out and I draw a complete blank.  I go through all kinds of contortions trying to come up with some sort of inspiration, and then what I end up with looks equally tortured! So I was really excited when, upon finding out out last summer that the theme for this year’s HSTA Faculty Exhibition was going to be “Passage”, I immediately had an idea.

A former boss made the comment to me once that we are all dependent on the products of mining:  “If it can’t be grown, it has to be mined,” he said.  While this statement could almost be considered a universal truth, it is particularly true for jewelers.

I wanted to show a piece through various stages of its development – the passage from ore to granule, from granule to ingot, from ingot to wire, from wire to jewelry.

Having attended a number of fine craft exhibitions during my time with The Metal Arts Guild of Canada, one thing that has always struck me is how jewellers have dealt with the issue of effectively displaying something so small.

The first MAG show I attended, Behind Glass (2000), directly challenged the problem by asking everyone to display their pieces in shadow boxes.  The pieces I remember were a silhouette of a person – a brooch in silver – attached to a picture of a beach, to give the illusion of it standing at the water’s edge.  Another entry was a ring topped by a tiny sewing machine displayed in front of a old photograph of the artist’s grandmother, who loved to sew.

At the most recent exhibition, MAGC 2067:  Crafting the Future, several of the artists included supplementary props with their pieces.  Anne Lumsden’s piece was displayed over a bed of zebra mussel shells.  Rosalyn Woo’s award winning brooch, “Dear Linda” was envisioned as a birthday gift for its fictitious namesake, and included the “letter” written by the “maker”, Jacob.  Some might argue that the props detracted from the work – turning them into sculpture rather than jewelry – but for me, it added visual interest and helped to put the pieces into the context of the scenarios they were made to represent.

So, for this year’s HSTA Faculty Exhibition, I decided to approach my submission as jewelry cum sculpture.  The pinnacle of the Passage – and the piece that took the longest to construct – is the torus bangle.  Despite my ravings last year after a previous attempt at a torus, the thought of trying again appealed to me.

diannetheprincesswarrior-mini My six year old is currently obsessed with all things LEGO and Star Wars, so when I got the tube to the final length (18″/45 cm) I decided to have a little fun, and took a picture of myself in my best Jedi Princess Warrior pose.
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My wonderful handyman husband whipped up a wooden drawplate with large holes for me.  (He loves it when I give him an excuse to buy tools!)  After drawing, the length of the tube was over 40″ (101 cm). The reason I made it that long was to give me extra material in case I had to try again.

The technique for making a seamless join is called kitchener stitching.  It’s a common knitting technique for adding pockets to sweaters, or fingers to mittens, etc.  It’s tricky to do in wire, because the wire work hardens very quickly and the join tends to have a bit of a bulge.

Passage:  From Ore to Jewelry (2010) Passage: From Ore to Jewelry (2010) Part 4 of 4, Torus; Sterling silver, 1.3 cm dia. tube, 8.5 cm OD; Viking knit, kitchener stitching.I made two attempts at tori before finally working out an effective way of keeping the seam from being visible.

The casting grain and ingots gave me an opportunity to feed my own tool fetish:  I now have a new ingot mold! *grin*

The silver ore came from a vendor at the Bancroft Gemboree last year.  Unfortunately, no locality info was included with the specimen, so I don’t know if the source is a Canadian mine.

The mahogany display blocks play an integral role in delineating the passage through the stages.

I am grateful to be able to work with metal and to make wearable art, and so my submission to the HSTA Faculty Exhibition is really about paying homage.

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Passage:  From Ore to Jewelry (2010) Passage: From Ore to Jewelry (2010) Silver ore, slabbed; Ingot, sterling silver, cast, 6.844 g; Ingot, sterling silver, cast, forged, drawn, 7.992 g; Grains, 18.43 g, sterling silver, cast; Torus, sterling silver, viking knit, kitchener stitching, 1.3 cm tube, 8.5 cm OD; Diplays, mahogany wood, danish oil finish, various sizes

Passage:  From Ore to Jewelry (2010)
Silver ore, slabbed
Grains, 18.43 g, sterling silver, cast
Ingot, sterling silver, cast, 6.844 g
Ingot, sterling silver, cast, forged, drawn, 7.992 g
Torus, sterling silver, viking knit, kitchener stitching, 1.3 cm tube, 8.5 cm OD
Displays, mahogany wood, danish oil finish, various sizes

Every piece of jewelry is the end of a journey.  The metal forms as ore deep underground.  It is mined, extracted and formed into granules, then melted and cast into ingots.  The ingots are compressed and made into a usable shape.  In this case, it was drawn into wire, then knitted into a torus.

We see and admire only the final form, and acknowledge only the artist whose name is attached to it; yet the piece has been touched by many hands.  I wanted to recognize and thank those who labour behind the scenes to bring my jewelry into being.

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PASSAGE: HSTA Faculty Exhibition
Rails End Gallery & Arts Centre
23 York Street
Haliburton, Ontario, K0M 1S0
June 30 – July 30, 2009
www. railsendgallery.com

Starving Artists Holiday Wrist Candy Giveaway – Oct. 26-Dec. 6, 2009

SATeam Holiday Wrist Candy Giveaway

A bunch of members of the Starving Artists Etsy Team pooled their talents for a Christmas Promo this year.  We all contributed a charm, and put together this wonderful bracelet.

Valued at over $400, it will be given away to one lucky customer!  With each purchase at one of the participating shops, your name will be entered into the draw!

For a list of the participating shops, check out the SATeam’s Blog.  Or, do a search on Etsy using the tag SATEAMWRIST.  Members have also contributed items to the SATeam Etsy Shop, so be sure to check it out as well!

This holiday event runs from October 26 to December 6, 2009!

“Moonrise” accepted for MAGC Exhibition!

I’m pleased and excited to announce that my piece “Moonrise” was accepted for The Metal Art Guild of Canada’s national juried exhibition “MAG 2067 – Crafting the Future”!

The piece will be on display along with the work of other Canadian metalsmiths and visual artists at Arta Gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District from October 31-November 19, 2009.  The jurors for the show were:  Sandra Noble Goss, metalsmith/jeweller, long-time MAG member and 2000 Steel Trophy Winner; Jay Ingram, host of Discovery Channel’s “Daily Planet”; and Bob McDonald, host of CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks”.

The exhibition explores what Canada will look like in 2067 – will we have achieved utopia, or will we be living a nightmare?  Artists were given five scenarios from which to choose, and were asked to create a piece that reflected a particular possible future.

MAG 2067 – Crafting the Future
Arta Gallery
Building 9, Unit 102
Distillery District
Toronto, Ontario
October 31-November 19, 2009

Opening reception: November 7, 2009, 5-7 p.m.

YOJ09-24 Shiva’s Pomander

YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009) YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009); Fine silver, sterling silver; Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm; Chain: 88 cm; Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworkedShiva’s Pomander (2009)
Fine silver, sterling silver
Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm
Chain: 88 cm
Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworked

A little over a year ago, Perri Jackson sent me Strange Attractor, a stunning wire bead she’d made as a thank you gift for helping her with a tutorial.  Looking at it, I wondered how the structural coiling technique she used could be adapted to something other than a bead.  Something like a locket maybe… It got me puzzling…

An opportunity to experiment came in the form of a call for entry from Rails End Gallery.  Every year the gallery hosts a show featuring work by the faculty of the Haliburton School of the Arts.  This year, the theme is “Vessel”.

Originally, I had wanted to make the vessel to house this heart, but screwed up – err… made a Design Choice that ended up creating a much larger container than intended. The original design would have hung horizontally, with the chain running through the centre.  With this one, the design lends itself better to a vertical orientation.

This week when I was talking to Perri, I mentioned that I was working on a locket-type piece for the show.  She asked what it looked like.  “Sort of like a Shivalingam,” I said.

So… the piece is heading out the door today to get sent up to Haliburton.  There is, of course, the obligatory Artist Statement that goes with it:

In Hinduism, the lingam is a symbol of Shiva. Worn in a similar fashion as a Christian cross, the intent is to draw the blessings of the Higher Power to the wearer. Using structural coiling and weaving techniques developed by Perri Jackson, I decided to interpret this symbol as a pomander worn over the solar plexus. It allows the wearer to carry a prayer or fresh flowers within: a reminder to always recognize the Source of all life’s gifts.

VESSEL: HSTA Faculty Exhibition
Rails End Gallery & Arts Centre
23 York Street
Haliburton, Ontario, K0M 1S0
June 30 – July 30, 2009
www. railsendgallery.com

More photos:

YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009) YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009); Fine silver, sterling silver; Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm; Chain: 88 cm; Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworked YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009) YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009); Fine silver, sterling silver; Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm; Chain: 88 cm; Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworked YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009) YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009); Fine silver, sterling silver; Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm; Chain: 88 cm; Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworked
YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009) YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009); Fine silver, sterling silver; Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm; Chain: 88 cm; Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworked YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009) YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009); Fine silver, sterling silver; Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm; Chain: 88 cm; Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworked YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009) YOJ09-24 Shiva's Pomander (2009); Fine silver, sterling silver; Pendant: L 6.1 cm x W 3.2 cm; Chain: 88 cm; Constructed, coiled, cold joined, flameworked

The Retro Show

I attended the opening of Zilberschmuck Art Jewellery’s National Juried Exhibition “Connection” on Thursday evening.  Running concurrently with that exhibition (see the outstanding work here) is “The Retro Show”, a retrospective of past shows organized by Zilberschmuck.

It was standing room only at Shao Design, which was hosting the event.  Cheryl Fraser, owner of Zilberschmuck, gave an emotion filled speech welcoming everyone, and thanking Shao Pin Chu for opening his studio for the show.  It was great to see lots of familiar faces and to meet a few new friends.

Two of my pieces from the Karen Kelly Fashion Show (2004) are included in The Retro Show, and I was able to snap this photo of the case:

The Retro Show: tiara & necklace The Retro Show: tiara & necklace by Dianne Karg Baron

The exhibitions continue until May 30, 2009.  Directions here.