A few pics from Industrious I: Moratorium

It was a lovely night. Many thanks to family and friends who came out for the show, to Caitlyn and Sarah for hosting me as an artist in residence, and to The Periwinkle Cafe for their beautiful location and fabulous opening night refreshments. 

Hopelessly Entwined, mixed media

Hopelessly Entwined, mixed media

Moratorium, The Weight II. Rope and concrete

Moratorium, The Weight II. Rope and concrete

Moratorium, The Weight I. Mixed media

Moratorium, The Weight I. Mixed media

Tough as nails and a heart of gold. Steel and Bronze brazing rod ends

Tough as nails and a heart of gold. Steel and Bronze brazing rod ends

Top: Repaired Buoy. Styrofoam buoy, cement Bottom: Welcome home. Lobster trap fragment and rope

Top: Repaired Buoy. Styrofoam buoy, cement

Bottom: Welcome home. Lobster trap fragment and rope

A little spread put together by The Periwinkle Cafe for the opening.

A little spread put together by The Periwinkle Cafe for the opening.

Evening of the show

Evening of the show

Fresh Paint/New Construction

I was just sent a number of images from Fresh Paint/New Construction, showing now at Art Mur in Montreal. Fresh Paint/New Construction is a juried survey of Masters of Fine Arts student work from across the country. I was happy to be selected to exhibit my large repaired industrial chain, titled Resurrection, and an embellished spike nail, titled Refuge, in this year's show. 

From flipping through the photographs, it looks like there was some exciting new work included in this year's show!

Photos are by Mike Patten of Art Mur. 

Exhibition in Montreal

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I had some exciting news late last week. My repaired industrial chain and my embellished spike nail have been chosen to be exhibited in Fresh Paint/New Construction at Art Mur in Montreal this summer. 

Fresh Paint/New Construction is an annual juried exhibition of works by Masters of Fine Arts painting and sculpture students from across Canada. I am honoured to be included in the exhibition, and I wish I could be there for the opening, but I will be in residence in Ingonish at the time. 

Have a look at the works that were included in last year's exhibition. If you will be in Montreal between July 16th and August 28th this summer, pop in and have a look around! 

Long Time No See

Well hello there. It's been a little while. I know, I'm sorry. I got all wrapped up and neglected you for so long. I'll try to do better...

School has been pretty intense for this past term and a half. It's hard to believe that I am 3/4 of the way through the first year of my MFA already. Time flies when you're having fun. I've been teaching too, of course, and since it's been just so long, I thought I would share a few images of my work and my students hard at work with you. 

Ralph is making hundreds of jump rings in our Notable Neckpieces class for his chainmaille pieces.

Ralph is making hundreds of jump rings in our Notable Neckpieces class for his chainmaille pieces.

Katherine has been experimenting with sand casting letter press type.

Katherine has been experimenting with sand casting letter press type.

I have collected industrial refuse from around Cape Breton which I intend to repair, rebuild and repurpose for my MFA thesis. My collection lives on the floor of my studio where I visit it in contemplation each day. For the past five weeks I have been working on repairing a worn industrial chain I found near the site of an abandoned cannery in Sydney, just around the corner from my parent's house. 

The industrial chain I have been repairing with bronze in the welding shop at NSCAD for my MFA thesis.

The industrial chain I have been repairing with bronze in the welding shop at NSCAD for my MFA thesis.

Filing the bronze smooth after grinding. 

Filing the bronze smooth after grinding. 

Almost ready to photograph it with my sister. This piece will be photographed on and off the body. 

Almost ready to photograph it with my sister. This piece will be photographed on and off the body. 

End of Term

We've successfully wrapped up another term of Remarkable Rings with some beautiful projects from my students. It's impressive how quickly they have learned new skills and implemented already learned ones to create some pretty stunning rings.

Some of the techniques we learned this term were: cuttlebone casting, bezel constructing, shaping and forming metal, stone setting as well as polishing and texturing the surface of the metal. There was some troubleshooting and some pretty inventive tools made to help complete these beauties within the allotted timeframe.

Very proud of my students, but very sad to see the end of another term. 

I thought I'd share a few photos from the last class of the season.

I made this magnificent stone setting tool out of a nail that was hanging around the studio. The opal Lara was setting was relatively small and in a pretty confined space. This little tool worked like a charm, though.

Lara using her new stone setting tool held in a pin vice to set the opal in her ring. 

Kyle's ring consists of a cuttlebone cast ring shank affixed to a bezel base and held in place by ball tipped prongs.

From left to right, clockwise: Lara, Colleen, and Kyle - proud owners of new rings made by their own hands!

Rings and Things

I absolutely love teaching my classes. It is always so much fun to see the projects that my students dream up, and it's so satisfying to help them make those dreams tangible, wearable objects. It really doesn't get much better than that!

 At the moment I am a little bummed that my classes will finish at the end of June and won't begin again until September. In the fall I am hoping to run Remarkable Rings, Notable Neckpieces and I have been dreaming up a new course that I plan to propose for fall. I'll keep you posted on that one.

At this point in my Remarkable Rings class, my students have their projects well under way and are making some serious progress. I thought I would share a few photos with you from our Sunday afternoon class.

Enjoy!

Kyle is bending the hefty ring shank that she cast in a cuttlefish bone. 

Kyle making her oceanic ring shank round.

Lara is prepping her ring to solder the layers of her flower onto the shank she made. 

Colleen is ready to clean up the inside and outside of her assembled ring to prep it for stone setting and engraving.

The beautiful turquoise and snowflake obsidian that Colleen will set in her ring next week. 

Very exciting progress!

Before I sign off, I should mention three things:

1. The Aestival Festival, the annual fundraiser for the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council, is happening this coming weekend. Lucky attendees will snap up some fine locally handcrafted items for a song on June 12 - I donated a bronze Ouroboros Bangle with black spinel eyes. For more information, please visit the NSDCC website. 

2. Pamela Ritchie is a professor of Jewellery at NSCAD University. She is also a recognized artist and lecturer within the international jewellery community. Currently her exhibition, Worlds You Can Wear, is on display at the Mary E. Black Gallery at the Nova Scotia Centre for Art and Design. It is a fantastic show, and I encourage Haligonians to go and take in the treat of a world class jewellery exhibit on our very own Port. You can read more about the NSCAD Jewellery Department in this great article for a few weeks ago.

3. This coming weekend is also the Halifax Independent Film Festival. As a part of HIFF, on June 12th, Brooklyn based film maker, Jem Cohen, will screen his film Museum Hours. He will also screen excerpts from the non-traditional documentary film he made about Cape Breton called We Have an Anchor. We Have an Anchor has been screened only three times before: in New York City, London and Texas with the original score preformed live by members of Dirty Three, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, White Magic, The Quavers, and Thee Silver Mount Zion. The live score won't be preformed at this partial screening, but I have been dying to see this film and am really excited to have the opportunity to view some excerpts. The Director will be in attendance for Q&A.

To learn more about Jem Cohen and We Have an Anchor, check out this fantastic New Yorker article, I would also encourage you to  look him up on IMDB!

 

How about a little romance?

It's a new year! Welcome to 2015.

After a very busy holiday season and a long overdue visit with my family in Cape Breton, I am getting into the swing of 2015. Looks like this is going to be an exciting year with big changes and some wonderful trips - and one of them has nothing to do with work! GASP. That's right a vacation.

Between now and then there will be plenty to wade through,and at this very moment I am thinking about Valentine's day. To be honest...I always kinda liked it. When I was a schoolgirl, I always loved the little paperbag mailboxes we'd make for our classmates to put our Valentine's day cards into. They were so much fun to decorate! I also loved all those cards with the corny jokes on them. Not to mention the lovehearts and cinnamon hearts candies.

I still try and make special things for Valentine's day: heart shaped croutons in the salad , decadent and tiny heart shaped cupcakes, little bunting decorations, chocolates, poems, cards. Nothing beats a handmade gift! Maybe I can make something for you?

I'm now taking custom Valentine's day orders! Let me know what you have in mind for your sweetheart we can bring it to life together!

                         Custom stacking rings: White gold/ruby, rose gold/diamond, yellow gold/ruby                       

                         Custom stacking rings: White gold/ruby, rose gold/diamond, yellow gold/ruby               

       

                         Custom rose gold and sterling silver engagement ring with a rose cut diamond. 

                         Custom rose gold and sterling silver engagement ring with a rose cut diamond. 


Swirling Around

Gosh, there are about a million things swirling around right now and despite my feeling not productive enough, it seems that I have been relatively busy!

Luxurious new studio space in transition

Luxurious new studio space in transition

Just over a week ago I moved into a beautiful new studio space that I am renting from Chris Joyce and Suzanne Saul, artists, designers and the owners of Attica in downtown Halifax. It's like a little dream to me at the moment and I have been whiling away my afternoons at work in my darling new space. I haven't quite arranged it just so yet, but it is coming along and I will post some photos very soon.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am exhibiting with 15 other members of the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council at the Mary E. Black Gallery down on the seaport. The show is called Peacework and we have been getting some press lately. I was happy to be asked to be involved and if you haven't seen the news piece and newspaper article I am linking them for your perusal. 

Rebecca took this photo of me during an interview with Erin Eileen Casey in the common area of my new studio space.

Rebecca took this photo of me during an interview with Erin Eileen Casey in the common area of my new studio space.

Just Monday, Rebecca Slipp Taussig and I announced that Angela Grace Jewelry would be getting on board with The Strong House. If you haven't read about the Strong House yet, please visit the website and have a gander. I have thoroughly enjoyed my relationship with Rebecca for the past year and I think we are going to be a match made in heaven.

The holiday season is rapidly creeping up on us and I will be involved in a few events this year. Cabinet of Curiosity is a juried Pop Up event in Toronto featuring 14 Canadian producers. I am honoured to be one of the featured artists and if you are in Toronto, you should pop into 2068 Dundas Street West beginning November 8th to get an eyeful!

I will participate in the annual Halifax Crafters Society Holiday Market and the NSDCC Designer Craft Show this year as I have for the past number of years. I can't believe that the Designer Craft show is only 3 weeks away and the Halifax Crafters Market is only 5 weeks away! How did this happen??? Wasn't it just summer?

Better go carve my Jack'O'Lantern. Happy Halloween!

A Gorgeous Weekend

This weekend was stunning. The sun was shining brilliantly and hotly on us and we had a successful Etsy Made in Canada Event. The Forum was hopping and there was a HUGE line up waiting to get in before our doors opened at 10am. I, like many other vendors, was bowled over by the massive response from Halifax! Well done Angela, Lisa, Fatima and Jessika!

All set up at the Etsy Made in Canada Pop Up

All set up at the Etsy Made in Canada Pop Up

One of the things I love about taking part in markets is the other vendors. I love seeing all of the familiar faces and grabbing a quick catch up in between waves of old and new clients. Can't ask for much more than that!

Sewn by Blythe

Sewn by Blythe

Double Dare Print Studio

Double Dare Print Studio

While I was preparing for the Etsy Show last week, I managed to pop into the Anna Leonowens Gallery to check out the collection of vintage Kimonos that were on display - Meisen: From the Collection of Haruko Watanabe. The gallery looked incredible, decked from floor to ceiling (almost) in rebelliously colourful and boldly printed Kimonos from midcentury Japan. I was very happy that I managed to catch this exhibit before it closed this weekend. 

I also caught the exhibit of new acquisitions by the Nova Scotia Art Bank and was so happy to see the works of two of my favourites included: Sarah Burwash and Ambera Wellman. I first saw Ambera's paintings while I was working at NSCAD a few years ago. I was immediately enchanted and their lusciousness prompted me to sign up for an oil painting course and try my own hand. That class was so much fun and I would do it again in a second (if it didn't run in the exact time slot my own course is scheduled).

Two paintings by Ambera Wellman 

Two paintings by Ambera Wellman 

Sunday was brilliant. The sun was high and hot and I soaked in as much of it as I possibly could. I walked the cliffs in Purcell's Cove and hit the beach to have one final dip and partake in my favourite pastime ever - reading in the sand. Not a bad way to welcome October. I'm certainly not complaining! 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

One of my favourite places to walk

One of my favourite places to walk

Breathing in the warm spiciness of sun soaked sand, grass and sea air in the dunes

Breathing in the warm spiciness of sun soaked sand, grass and sea air in the dunes

Perfect happiness

Perfect happiness

PS - My class, Remarkable Rings, starts on Wednesday night. There's still time to squeeze in if you'd like to try your hand at jewelry making!

Two Exciting Events This Week!

As the title suggests, there are two  very exciting events happening this week and I hope that you can make it. 

On Thursday night Peacework is opening at the Mary E. Black Gallery! Stop in and see the juried works of 19 Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council Members who created special works interpreting or incorporating the theme of "peace". I can't wait to see everybody's take on the theme! 

You can check out the lineup below!

PEACEWORKINVITEIDEAFINALsingle_Page_1.jpg

Saturday brings the Etsy Canada Pop Up Market at the Halifax Forum! Approximately 50 Nova Scotian Etsy sellers will be showcasing their work in this juried, day long show. This is going to be a real treat and I just know that you don't want to miss out! 

You can RSVP for the Etsy event over on their Facebook page

Procrastinators Unite!

Okay, okay, I've been a giant procrastinator lately. I can admit that. I have been meaning to follow up my post about Renegade since I made it and every single day I found a reason to procrastinate. Sigh - that's just the way it goes sometimes. 

There have been many exciting developments since I last wrote:

  • My work was in Flare Magazine, then I was contacted by another magazine.
  • My brother is visiting at the end of this week with Anna which means family fun times in the Highlands.
  • Visited family and participated in a jewelry show with some great jewellers out of Montreal and Germany/Cape Breton at Salty Rose's Local Crafts in Ingonish
  • I attended Diner en Blanc, the Halifax edition.
  • My new ring titled "Bird of Paradise" was one of 19 pieces accepted for the Peace Works exhibition opening at the Mary E. Black Gallery on September 25th,
  • I'll be participating in the Etsy Made in Canada show at the Halifax Forum on September 27th.
  • I've been designing a new collection and conducting meeting about photography and make up for an upcoming look book shoot!
  • Last but not least, I've been renovating my spare room for studio space! I'm keeping my Port Studio space too, but I will only be there on a part time basis.  

Phew - all of that followed the trip to California for Renegade, which was really fantastic. I had a great time at Renegade; expanded my West Coast clientele and made new friends from Brooklyn and Portland. I also visited with Michelle of Kiriki Press, who I met at the Toronto One of a Kind Show, and her partner James. We had some wine, some laughs and some dinner together in San Francisco and it was truly a delight to spend some time with them. 

Of course, I had to make some time for wine country while in Northern California, and we took a day to drive through Sonoma and Napa again, visiting some of our favourite wineries (Ramsgate!) along the way. Stephen and Anna have been scouting spots for their wedding in wine country so they showed us some of their prospective locations. I also took some time to visit Velvet Da Vinci for their magnificent exhibition of new work by some outstanding Jewellers from Chile. I visited the De Young museum for their Modernism exhibition but I was infinitely more taken by their Art of the Americas exhibit and their collection of American Decorative Art - it was exciting to see a Nick Cave (not that Nick Cave) piece up close and personal. 

I really believe that I can't travel all the way across the continent, from Nova Scotia to California, and not visit LA, so of course, Elizabeth and I flew down to LA so I could stop into Co-op 28 and see Marci and to enjoy the city for a week. We took in a magical night of opera at the Hollywood Bowl, ran into the Los Angeles Renegade Show while we were downtown, "hiked" the trail through Griffith Park up to the Observatory, spent a night in Venice where we walked the pier and biked the beach, ate some delicious food at the Silverlake Farmers Market, visited some science museums (because we're nerds) and took in a Dodgers game. Never a dull moment when the Arsenaults travel. 

I thought I'd share a few photos with you from my summer so far!

Lapidary Demo on the Last Day of Class

Last week we finished up Remarkable Rings for the season and it won't be back on until the fall. The final class is always bittersweet - freeing up a bit of time is a mercy but I love teaching my class and my students are always fascinating people who bring their particular perspectives and life experiences with them into their ring designs - this makes teaching the class endlessly interesting.

For the final class I arranged for us to view a demonstration of cabochon cutting by a very gifted lapidary who is currently sharing my studio space. Hans Durstling "has studied stone cutting in Germany; has written widely on stone and gem topics; is the originator of the Discovery Channel series, “Stones of Fate and Fortune” has demonstrated at the Tucson Mineral and Gem Show - the largest such event in the world, and has given presentations on the fascinating world of precious stone and related topics to schools and museums, clubs and associations from Germany to California." (lifted from http://www.fogforestgallery.ca/bios/bio_durstling.html)

Needless to say we were feeling pretty fortunate. I'd like to share a few photos of the stone cutting process with you. Hans is cutting a Nova Scotian Agate.

Click through to view the gallery.

If you were lucky you caught Hans yesterday at a special Canada Day Demonstration at the Seaport Market. 

Thanks a million Hans!

 

Greetings from Minneapolis

Well, as you may have gathered from the title, I am currently writing to you from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I'm here for the 43rd annual Society of North American Goldsmiths conference and here is an interesting fact for you: The very first SNAG conference was held right here in Minneapolis 43 years ago. How's that for a home coming. 

I've only been in the city for about 24 hours now, but par for the course, I have made the time to walk around and get a little acquainted. So far I have only seen the space between my hotel overlooking Gold Medal Park smack on the Mississippi and the conference hotel further inland and into the core of the downtown (27 minute walk according to google). I'll see more tonight though while I take part in the Gallery Crawl!

Room with a view: Looking toward the Mississippi River from my hotel room

Room with a view: Looking toward the Mississippi River from my hotel room

Walking down Marquette Street downtown Minneapolis

Walking down Marquette Street downtown Minneapolis

My impression of Minneapolis so far is that it is a clean, friendly and artistic city of people who appreciate the beauty of their industrial past and present. The modern, the historical and the industrial architecture are seamlessly woven here and as always I am soaking in the Art Deco structures that I don't get to experience on my coast.

This has been a day of scholarly application as we enjoyed a provocative lecture titled Let's Print out a Gun: Craft in the Age of Pervasive Computing by keynote speaker, Dr. Tanya Harrod a research fellow at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. We also experienced a beautiful and passionate address from George Sawyer, Mokume gane master, titled From Tattoos to Bamboos, Inspirations that Spark the Flame.

Ok, I'd better hustle. We've got free  admission into the Walker Art Museum this evening and I've got a Gallery Crawl to catch!

A sculpture by Mark di Suvero, right around the corner from a Botero Sculpture!

A sculpture by Mark di Suvero, right around the corner from a Botero Sculpture!