Tag Archives: jewelry

A very talented Swedish artist.

The internet can be amazing.  I recently started using Instagram, which I love  because photos are definitely my thing.  I love seeing what people make all over the world.  Shortly after starting to use Instagram one particular poster caught my eye, both because they had the same name as me – Yvonne – and because their work was photos using rich, beautiful colours.  One day their post was particularly striking, a gorgeous bright blue contrasting with an equally gorgeous bright orange.  Although I love both of those colours I rarely use them together.  However the photo appealed to me so much I decided to use those colours in a pendant.

I mentioned to Yvonne on Instagram that her photo inspired my pendant and she was so pleased she wrote about it.  Then, when she found out that she was having an exhibition she decided that she would like to have the pendant to hang beside the photo.  So now my pendant is in Sweden and will be displayed next to Yvonne Kundig’s gorgeous work.  As well as photos she does beautiful paintings of flowers.  If you’re in Sweden stop by 😉

Here is her Instagram:
https://instagram.com/yvonnesgalleri_art/

And her Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yvonnes-galleri/1581226268801209?fref=ts

And the location of the exhibition (which starts on August 22nd):
http://www.lisa.se/

And my Instagram:
https://instagram.com/torched.studio/

Her photo:
Yvonne Kundig

 

My pendant:Orange and Blue

 

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Inspiration – Red Rock Canyon and the Grand Canyon

One of my biggest inspirations in my work is the amazing colours found in nature. Sometimes they seem surreal because it’s hard to believe anything could actually look so beautiful.  I certainly found that was the case in two of the places I visited over the holidays this year – Red Rock Canyon and the Grand Canyon.

Red Rock Canyon is in Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas.  It’s hard to understand why people would choose to sit in a gloomy, stuffy casino instead of seeing this marvel of nature.  The drive there is through desert scrub, which is beautiful in it’s own way with Joshua Trees, yucca plants and cacti.  The mountains look stunning even from a distance but as I got closer I could see the most amazing colours in them!  White, black, brown, oranges and reds!  Each was unique and amazing and every time the light changed they looked entirely different.  And the closer I got the more beautiful they got as I could see the curve of the hills, the roughness of the rock and even more variation in the colours.  This particularly colourful area is called the Calico Hills.  A very apt description.  It was wonderful to be able to get out and walk on the hills for a bit and admire the textures and up close minutiae of pattern and colour.  It was hard to leave and I would love to return and be able to explore the area further.

My other destination this season was the Grand Canyon.  And grand it is!  It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  The weather was very cold and the trails were snow and ice covered so I could only see it from the top observation areas, which gave a stunning panorama of the South Rim.  It’s otherworldly, like being on some unknown planet.  There are so many layers of reds and oranges and browns, and the rock formations themselves are fascinating.  I could have stared at it for hours and everywhere I looked I saw something new.  Unfortunately I was only there for a short time.  For anyone planning to visit I would recommend going when it’s warm enough to hike and staying for a few days.  It is truly, truly breathtaking!

Needless to say, both of these journeys will be inspiring some new work, both in my jewellery and in my enamel art panels.  Stay tuned to see the results!

Here’s a couple of pictures to  give you a taste of what I saw.

Red Rock Canyon, The Calico Hills

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The Grand Canyon

 

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How I make stuff.

Many people don’t realize quite how many steps are involved in making my enamel pieces.

First I take plain copper and heat it in my kiln.  This cleans all the grease off it.

Here’s the before shot.

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Here’s the copper in the kiln.

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Here’s the copper after heating.  It’s a bit dirty looking, that’s oxidation and needs to be cleaned off.  When I clean metal I use salt and vinegar rather than chemicals.

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If I’m making domed pieces this is the time to form them.  The heat of the kiln makes the metal softer and easier to bend.  I used a dapping block, dapping punches and rawhide hammer to shape them into curved domes.  After doming they need to be cleaned again.

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Then I fire a layer of enamel onto the bottom/back of the copper.  These will be bezel set so the backs are plain.  If I’m doing regular pieces I always make sure both sides are attractive.

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My kiln is nice and hot.  This shows the temperature at 1433 Fahrenheit but I often fire at higher temperatures than that.

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After firing the backs I sift enamel, which is very finely ground glass,  onto the top/front.

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This is after one firing.

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This is after several firings.  You can see how much smoother and brighter the colours are.  These are ready to be set, they just need a bit of filing at the edges where the enamel stuck to the trivets (the metal stands I use for firing).

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The little domes are now earrings!

 

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And the big domes are necklaces!  Pretty!

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Vintage or modern?

I have to admit, my tastes have always been fairly eclectic.  Maybe it’s a short attention span but I like to think it’s a love of diversity and finding beauty everywhere.  On a less philosophical note, this leads me to the decision of whether to make vintage or modern designs.

I have always loved gothic, curving lines.  Art Nouveau, swirly, dark, beautiful things.  Deep jewel tones, brass and tarnished silver.  Things that would look at home in a Dracula movie or Pride and Prejudice.  This leads me to make some pieces that have a vintage look and feel.  Still with clean lines, but with a warmer tone.

However I also love the mod look.  Not specifically 2014 modern  but Art Deco and 1950’s modern as well.  Minimal, sparse designs.  Chrome, simple, shiny, bright and bold.

So, normally this is not a big deal.  Most people have a variety of tastes.  But as a jewellery designer I have been told that I have to choose a style.  Create an image, do everything the same so you have a “line”, brand, brand, brand!  Being contrary, to this I say “phooey”.  I make what I love.  If it happens to be trendy, so be it.  If it isn’t, that’s just fine too.  I think when choosing  jewellery, clothes, etc it should be the same way.  Wear what you love.  Don’t worry that your favourite colour isn’t “in” this year.  Or that all the magazines feature short skirts.  Don’t cut your hair because your stylist told you to.  Do what YOU want.  Not what others, the media, or advertisers tell you to do.

Here are a few of the things I like, and make.  They may not all be the same, but they all make me happy.

 

New class – how to make a band ring – textured and/or enamelled

NEW CLASS!
How to make a band ring

I’ve been very well known for my enamel band rings and I’ve decided to share the secrets 🙂

In this class you will learn how to form a band ring from copper.  Two rings will be completed using filing, sanding, annealing and texturing with a rolling mill. You will also have the option of learning to use a disc cutter to add to your design.  You have the choice of enamelling one or both.  Rings not enamelled will be adjustable (unsoldered).

No experience is necessary for this class.  Please be aware that this only covers very basic enamelling, those who want to learn full enamelling techniques should take the beginner enamelling class.

October 29th
10:30 am to 2:30 pm. $125.00 all inclusive.
Please contact me at torchedstudio@hotmail.com to register.

Classes are held at my studio near College and Ossington in Toronto, Ontario

band c

Enamelling at the Yonge St. Mission

Last week I had a great Friday teaching some people to enamel at the Evergreen Centre for Street Youth, which is part of the Yonge St. Mission.  The centre offers a safe place where homeless and street-involved youth can rest, eat, obtain health care and counselling and get help with finding a job or a place to stay or pursuing education.

I taught the enamelling class as part of a program that was started this year by some friends of mine, Michele Witt and Ivanne Binetruy of Connect Studio.  They and other volunteers teach a different jewellery making technique each week in a two hour class at the Evergreen Centre.  There is no charge to the youth and they can drop in at any time during the class.  Techniques including how to make a copper bracelet, wax carving for casting, enamelling and more have already been taught and there’s more on the agenda!

Teaching the class was great, there’s always something new to try with enamelling and each person had a different idea of what they wanted to create.  One person wanted initials of her family to give as gifts, another was finishing up a ring they made the week before and did some fantastic designs with hearts and dots, another did a great collection of earth tones to wear together.  One young man did some very impressive designs that included a lot of glass beads, which were melted into the enamel.  He showed me some of his other pieces that he’d done in previous classes and told me he wants to start making and selling jewellery on a regular basis.  I hope he does, it can be a very rewarding career.  And that’s one of the great things about this program, not only is it a fun way for street youth to spend the afternoon but it also shows them some possibilities for the future they may not have thought of or had access to.

 

The Pipes Are Calling

I’ve been busy making new things again!  Here is my guest post on the Freedom Clothing Collective blog that tells you all about it!

http://freedomclothingcollective.blogspot.ca/2013/10/made-in-canada-series-pipes-are-calling.html

enamel and concrete vase

Photo shoot

I finally had a little photo shoot with some of my pieces on a model.  My friend Amy was gracious enough to help me out by posing in several pieces from my various collections.  And I must say they certainly do look stunning on her!

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Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club

When I was in public school my grade 8 class was the first one to allow girls to take Shop.  Before that girls were limited to Home Economics, where I did a terrible job of making a handkerchief top.  I loved Shop. I don’t remember all the projects but what I do remember is making my first piece of jewellery.  I got to cut, shape and polish a small piece of sodalite that looked like lapis lazuli.  And then I got to set it in a brass pendant to make my own necklace.  It was a life changing moment.

Fast forward many years.  I had experimented with a lot of jewellery making, mostly beading and a bit of polymer clay.  Nothing that truly moved me.  I was temporarily back in Kingston and noticed a tiny little ad in the back of the local paper advertising a silversmithing course.  The Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club was founded in 1962 and not only were they still going strong but they were now offering classes in lapidary – cutting, shaping and polishing rocks – and how to use those gorgeous rocks in jewellery.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, I took the silversmithing class.  My very talented (and patient) instructors were Arne, Bob and Eileen.  I learned an amazing amount there, including making my first band ring and my first bracelet that had about 30 solder joins (for those who don’t know, that’s a lot!).

I also later returned to be a teacher at the club.  I taught one of the first wax carving for casting and cuttlebone casting classes.  When I left the incredibly talented people who were in my class took over and became instructors themselves.  I’m pleased (and a little jealous, lol) to see that they offer a wide array of classes now.  Silversmithing, wire work, casting, repousse, resin, and more!  They have a fantastic shop with amazing equipment and after you take a class you can rent shop time for a ridiculously low price per hour.

So if you live in or near Kingston and you’re interested in jewellery making (or geology) check out the club.  They’ve just announced a whole list of new classes on their facebook page, so it’s a good time to do so.

Here’s the facebook page with the course announcements:

https://www.facebook.com/KingstonLapidaryMineralClub

And here’s their website:  http://www.mineralclub.ca/index.cfm?page=home

 

2012

Wow, I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted anything since November.  So 2012 is here, supposedly the year of the apocalypse according to some mighty old Mayan calendars.  Maybe they just got tired of making calendars and thought that 2000 years worth was enough?   I don’t even look at next year’s calendar, so those folks were really long range planners!

I do have some plans for the year ahead.  The enameling business has been gradually growing.  I’ve got lots of work to do this year, with lots of new things planned.  I will be researching new stores to carry my work, especially outside of Toronto (this is a hint to anyone who might be interested).  As always I’m creating new designs and new products.  I’d also like to get my bowls and/or art panels into a gallery show.  Some of my art panels will be in an exhibition in March, I’ll post on that when more details are available.  And of course, I’m still teaching enameling classes here in Toronto.

I realize this is an incredibly boring post so I’ll put up some pretty pictures of my  newest bowls 🙂

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