The devotee of myth is in a way a philosopher, for myth is made up of things that cause wonder. "
In my second year at university I registered for a course in greek Mythology. My overall focus was pretty aimless at that point. I spent first year in Economics, and disliked every minute of those dry, numbing lectures on GDP etc. Second year was completely general - exploring any other options. I took Anthropology, Geology, Psych, Eng Lit. But I had always liked mythology. I was mesmerized by the stop action storytelling of Jason and the Argonauts. The tragic tales of those mortals punished by the gods. So I went to class.
Each day our professor told us a story. It was a small class in an old building. He had a lovely voice and he would completely captivate me with his recountings. Of course, we had work to do too. We were analyzing all the human constructs of why such myths were created and the moral dilemmas that were explored in each. I ate it up, and knew, finally, what I was to major in.
I have a degree in Classical Studies. That is, a degree based on the study of Greco-Roman history and literature, based on the english translations of the original texts. Classics is the study of the same, but in the original latin. I took latin, but we didn't really get along. In order to round out my knowledge of the time period i was studying, I also took classes in ancient Egyptian and ancient India history. (Yes, I've read the Bhagavad-Gita and I loved those classes too).
So how does that all lead to now?
While life changed my original trajectory of what I had planned to do after getting my degree, I find myself now using my love of those myths to create a collection for Artistar Jewels, Milan Jewelry Week, that will be shown this October.
I have made a four piece collection, MYTHOS, that takes elements of history and myth, re-imagining them as wearable jewelry: AGAMEMNON, ODE (not pictured - it's pretty big), ARMOUR AND GORGON.
I will write more about them as the date draws closer for the exhibition. These have been some of the most challenging pieces I have ever made, and I do want to share my motivation behind them with you. And no, I am not joining the collection in Milan. I need to be here, in my studio, working on pieces for the upcoming season of Christmas shows (including Circle Craft! so excited!!). But I hope you enjoy viewing the pieces here, and I may be able to bring them along to some of the fall/winter shows to see in person.
If you want to find out more about the Artistar Jewels exhibitions, please visit their site at http://www.artistarjewels.com/aj/en/edition.
Even though I was unable to be in attendance, it really was an honour to be a part of the Artistar Jewels Temporary Shop that was part of Milan Design Week. With over 100,000 people visiting the various displays and installations, this international celebration of creativity was truly something to behold.
This installation by Gaetano Pesce is meant to symbolize the treatment of women and the disparity between the sexes.
And this treatment, done to the facade of the building, done by British sculptor, Alex Chinneck, takes my breath away.
To see the range of incredible design,
I highly recommend following @milan.design.week on Instagram.
Here's some of the press release from the Artistar Jewels team:
Milano, 17 April 2019
Din - Design In is reconfirmed among the unmissable dates of the Fuorisalone 2019
It ended Sunday, April 14th one of the most awaited and engaging weeks of Milan, which does’t need too many presentations: the Milan Design Week. Every year the number of events and of the districts, which brighten the city in the name of Design increases exponentially. Among these stands out Din - Design In, an event organized by Promotedesign.it for the seventh year in the underground setting of the Lambrate Design District. Many visitors admired, photographed and appreciated the exhibited works, contributing and confirming the success of this iconic appointment of the Lambrate Design District.
100 are the brands and designer from all over the world who exhibited their products and ideas at Din - Design In 2019. Among the protagonists: independent designers, companies, design academies and artists, ranging from experimental installations to rediscover new materials. “We are really happy to always dedicate space to students, who brought a breath of fresh air into the district, with their creativity and their projects. We are very happy of the achieved results: Din - Design In 2019 once again proved to be a must-visit place for design lovers. ”- says Enzo Carbone, CEO of Prodes Italia.
The Temporary Shop organized by Artistarjewels.com, an annual project of international contemporary jewellery, reconfirmed itself as a great success. Every year, it selects and displays creative pieces of contemporary jewellery, created by designers and artists from all over the world. The display cases were created thanks to the Partnership with Sekkei.
Temporary Shop by Artistar Jewels
ADRIANA GUELFI HERRERA (Uruguay), Angie Wu / AWU Studio (China), Anna Hüfner (Germany), AQVA & Co S.R.L (Italy), Atelier Kirie (Italy), Belle Paiva Jewelry (Brazil), Carolina Ravarini (Italy), Cynthia Nge - Minicyn (France), Dalia AbuSharar Jewelry (Jordan), DOMENIKA KONSTANTINIDI / LA LUPA DESIGNS (Greece), Farah Abdelhamid (Egypt), Francesca Paolin / Paolin 3D (Italy), Guido Guzzi - MYOWN® (Italy), Hawraa Almaqseed/ INDSOPH – aich Jewellery (Kuwait), IMMAGO jewels (Italy), INEKE OTTE (The
Netherlands), IVONOVI (Singapore), LAURA VISENTIN (Italy), LEFFLOW.COM (Greece), Lunante (Italy), Malvina - Body Ornaments (Italy), MARCO DAL MASO (Italy), Midzo (Croatia), Natalia Ntefa Art & Jewellery (Greece), Nera Weiss (Italy - Germany), nooii (Italy), Olga Oblezina (Russia), Pikaya Jewellery (UK), PiLAR BAKER (USA), SEBNEM MELIS YARMAN / UBIK LAB (Turkey), Slate Jewelry by Christine Rio (Canada), Sonja Attar / Wild City (Austria), SUÌ fine geometry (Slovenia), Sunset Yogurt / Cosima Montavoci (Italy)
Communication and Press Office Manager
Tel: 392 47 97 925
Photo: Make It Vancouver, December 2016, 6*6 booth set-up
One of the really cool things to happen at Make It Vancouver in December was all the great feedback I received from other vendors about how much they liked my booth setup - the colour scheme, the lighting, the display pieces. It really meant a lot to me. I have tremendous respect for our maker community in this city, and especially at a large show like Make It, one sees many unique and beautiful booth setups. To be singled out and complemented by more than a few of my peers was something special. It's not easy coming up with an eye-catching display, and even with the praise, I'm no expert.
I had been selling my newbie attempts at jewelry making for just under a year when I did my first market at the beautiful Heritage Hall on Main Street in Vancouver, BC. It was Fab Fair, organized by the talented silversmith Nancy (whose last name escapes me). Her work, and manner, were both elegant and sophisticated. Her table layed cleanly with simple wooden displays that perfectly matched the vibe of her minimalistic and classic jewelry. She said something to me that weekend that I never forgot, and took to heart.
Basically, she told me my table display was a complete mess. It was busy. It was disjointed. It did nothing for my jewelry. She said I needed to think about what I wanted my jewelry to say to people, who I was, and design a display around that.
I was a bit crushed. I had the cute little hot pink mini chaise lounge from Eddie's Hang-Ups. I had proper necklace stands. I had a very busy black and white floral tablecloth....I had my jewelry layed out all over the place. And I finally had an objective look at what I was offering people visually. It wasn't much.
I didn't know anything about branding. Remember, I really did launch into all of this on a complete whim and got swept up in the fun of making, starting out on the market circuit, meeting people, buying more supplies.
At any rate, I did take a step back. I went out and bought black tablecloths right away. And I tried to make a bit more of a cohesive statement. And each year, as my work changed and my confidence grew, my displays kept changing. I used large squares of mirrored glass (not great for transporting). I've used painting canvases (gets dirty very quickly). I really liked my vintage display of white-washed wooden crates, and cool printer's tray. It allowed for height variations and wasn't too bad to move around from show to show.
When I made the change to Slate Jewelry, the look had to change again too. I knew I wanted something pretty stripped down, portable and even leaning to an industrial look. Pinterest is great for researching display ideas, and I spent quite a bit of time mulling over the set-ups I liked online.
But there were key points that had to be addressed:
1. I had to be able to easily transport it, by myself, in an efficient, packable way.
2. It had to embody "Slate" - blank slate, clean slate.
3. It had to have a hard table-top display surface.
This is how I addressed those must-haves:
1. Folding necklace stands and the wooden blocks that stack easily in bins. For a 6" table, I can get what I need into one average sized tote bin, and it's not horribly heavy. As well, the wooden blocks provide me with height variations and a myriad of layout options.
2. The grey colourscheme = slate. The slate place mats (Urban Barn). The uniformly hard surfaces. The tablescape is a subdued landscape meant to showcase the jewelry. When I had the pretty vintage set-up, so many people were interested in the display pieces and didn't even look at the jewelry. It was very frustrating.
3. The topper: I love my boards. No ironing, wipe up spills, no blowing tablecloth. 2*2 pre-cut boards from Home Depot topped with self-sticking vinyl planking. I can fit pretty much any average market table. Works like a charm!
So with market season about to launch into full swing, have a look at how you're showing your wares. We all work so hard to make our best products, but we really need to look at how we're are visually selling them too. Ask yourself - if you were shopping, would your booth make people stop to look? I've got more to say on this if you're interested in hearing it, so I will endeavour to get another blog out on the subject. And if you ever want an objective opinion on your set-up, I'd be happy to offer my two cents.
As for me, Make It Vancouver starts on Friday (April 21), and I'm looking forward to setting up on Thursday. Will my booth look like the picture at the start of this blog? Mostly, but there's a few changes. I have to do what's best suited to the work, and so it goes.
So here I am, waiting for my flight home in the San Francisco airport. I don't like travelling days at the best of times. They are the only days that it seems like time stands still anymore. But it's been a great weekend in this beautiful city, and I'm glad I put on my big girl panties and came down here to learn something new.
I signed up for Chasing & Repousse (I know it has an accent on the "e," but I honestly I don't know how to do that with the keyboard) at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts after my class with another master, Valentin Yotkov, was cancelled at home. It is the time honoured art of creating three-dimensional relief in a piece of metal. For me, I wanted to learn the technique to add even more visual interest and dimension to the cuffs that I do.
With the class set to start bright and early Saturday morning, I flew in Friday afternoon to allow myself a few hours to get in a bit of shopping, then pizza and wine in bed at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. A corner room with two windows and a view of the bay, a bed without snoring pugs.
Saturday morning found me with 15 other students in the well-equipped studio being introduced to Davide Bigazzi, an Italian master of chasing who began his apprenticeship at age 14. The samples of his work that he brought in were completely stunning. We were all given the same image to work on, and in no time the room was filled with tapping hammers. Except for our lunch breaks, the hammering was almost continuous for the two days. It felt like we were elves in Santa's workshop, bent over our benches with intense concentration to make the master happy.
In the end, my finished piece is a fair replica of the original. I can certainly see all the mistakes. But despite the aching in my hand from hammering, I am addicted. Learning C&R has reinforced my committed love of metalworking. It is fascinating to watch the metal flow as one manipulates it with the tools and just the right hammer blow. It may be sometime before you see any chased pieces from Slate Jewelry for sale, I've still got a lot to learn.
So thank you Davide and Sam for all your patient help. And thank you San Francisco for continuing to be such a welcoming city. And thank you for asking me for ID when buying some wine (Twice! In different stores!!)
Sunday night at Vancouver Fashion Week was the culmination of two months of solid creating. With the launch of the Slate Jewelry website in January, this past weekend was the debut of Slate on the Vancouver market scene. Ties to the past had to be cut, both in the my work and my presentation of it. The ideas were overflowing, and there weren't enough hours in the day. As I looked at my table Sunday night, I let myself feel pride in what I had done. It looked good, damn good. The feedback I had been getting all weekend agreed.
Breaking up with Pink Gargoyle, and allowing myself to just go, was right. No more designing for specific markets, demographics or trends. No more trying to please everyone. What was on that table was me, stripped down and bare.
Monday morning - simply exhausted, spent the day reading which seemed an absolute luxury. (Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn)
Tuesday to now - Lull. I cleaned my worktable and stared at it. I cut rings to make chain. I know I'm supposed to be photographing and uploading everything. I have to get ready for the next show. I have to design earrings to enter The Earring Show. I have to make gifting products for The Artisan Group. Frankly, I want to lay on the couch, cuddle Hugo, and watch movies all day. Decided to actually write a blog entry. I know I'm not out of ideas. They're still there, whirling in the background of my brain. I'll be back at it soon enough, and the roller coaster will start again. But right now, I'm enjoying this quiet.
I have a dear friend, who I have been neglecting, coming over for dinner. I'm going to relax and not fret about everything I should be doing. It will get done. I was told yesterday that I look happy. And yes, for the first time, in a very long time, I know I am.