It has been my dream to have my own, self contained, work space ever since I started GRASSROOTS. It took a number of years to find a property and, when we did, I was ecstatic to see my little 100 square foot studio get built. The excitement was short lived when it turned into our storage facility during our house build and didn't get finished right away. Then came the daunting task of moving it to another location. After many weeks of hunting around I found the option of lifting it and driving it into place. Yes! Lifting it with a crane onto a truck and driving it. There is still much work to do inside and out to get it open for business but I feel like I've taken many big steps forward. A huge relief after so many months of pining over the day it wouldn't be a shed anymore. I can't wait to show you all the finished gallery where I can make and sell my work.
A big thank you to Dustin for coming by so quickly and doing such a great job.
For a long time I was wanting to pass on my knowledge and skills in my craft. Prior to making jewelry I was a private Spanish Teacher and loved teaching small classes and one on one. I especially love teaching children because of their willingness to learn and their creative abandon. The first jewelry sessions are coming to an end and I am so proud of all of the hard work that came from these students.
I have had the pleasure of selling my work at BE Clothing for a few years now. I'm loving the new name and branding..."ARTIFACT comes from the Latin phrase ‘arte factum’ which means “to make by skill”, and has connotations of human craft and the longevity of well made objects."
The shop's name change is "to better reflect the slow fashion, handcrafted jewellery, small batch products & modern ceramics that we carry."
I am honored to have my work in this beautiful store found in our downtown core.
This was the first ever Stagnhare Spring Market and it was just as wonderful as the Christmas Market. There were so many talented, creative, friendly artisans at this event which made it a real joy to attend. Of course I couldn't leave without stopping by the photo booth with a dear friend who helps me sell.
My family has been farming oysters for over 20 years. I suppose it was only natural for my husband to join the family business when we got married. I grew up with the salty smell of sea life and now I continue to enjoy that same smell. If any of you have ever smelled oyster gear...you will read that last statement with some sarcasm. Smell aside, the finished product is worth the effort. My family grows the best oysters in the world (of course I am biased) but if you haven't tried a Kusshi yet, you should. This picture is of my brother serving oysters at a family get together, rocking one of my rings.
When we first decided to make the move to a more rural setting, a jewelry studio was at the top of my list of "dream accessory buildings." At first we weren't going to build the small work space but then decided it would make great storage while waiting for the house to get done. So that is what my studio is right now...storage. I have managed to create a very small work space by turning a dresser into a workbench and leaving a small little walk way. It 'aint pretty but it works. The beauty of making jewelry is that a large work space isn't always needed. My 7 feet of dresser is highly efficient and just enough space for cutting, hammering, polishing and tumbling. The key to my dressers success is having 9 large drawers for storage. I hide all kinds of goodies in there. I'm not going to lie...I am very much looking forward to my studio no longer being a storage unit and being set up as a larger work area and store front, but until then, I'm happy to be back fabricating no matter what the current aesthetic is.
It was such a thrill working with Bellaphoto on this feature in the "Island Made" section of Trio Magazine. There are so many great local artisans and it is wonderful to see them featured.
2017 was a year of big goals and not much action. I was unfortunate to get a concussion at the beginning of the year which took me most of 2017 to recover from. I was producing very small amounts of work and only attended a few fairs (which I didn't even attend in person, I had fabulous staff there for me). Having all of that down time allowed me to think more about what direction I wanted to move in with GRASSROOTS. My husband and I, very recently, purchased a small property and I am in the middle of building house and a studio which will be a small, modern work space and gallery open to the public. When I open the doors I will be sure to announce it! I am looking forward to partnering with some new galleries and stores on the island and will be sure to announce that also. In the mean time, I am getting ready for this years markets - the first of which will be Stagnhare - one of my favorites. I will also be launching some new designs this year that I have been tinkering with for a while.
The Christmas season is the busiest time of year for us artisans. It is also the time of year when we all get to reconnect and catch up from last years fairs or, perhaps, make a few new aquaintances. I had the privilege of attending the Tin Town Market as a vendor at Red Tree Cafe with some other very talented Artisans which can be seen in this video by Island Soul Films.
I also had the privilege of organizing my first fair this year when I volunteered to coordinate the Foire de Noël Christmas Fair at École Puntledge Elementary School as a fundraiser for a new filtered water fountain. We had 25+ talented local artisans, a team of parents selling fabulous fresh crêpes and a photo booth using vintage polaroid film. It was a quaint little fair with a wonderful atmosphere that we look forward to putting on again next year.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
32 years ago my Dad did his last craft fair...or so he thought. Just two weeks ago I had the immense joy of having a double booth with him at Nautical Days, and this post is to commemorate his first show back in the circuit. A little older, a little wiser, and a little lost with the new technology, but it only ended up taking him the first day to master his square reader (with some help from his amazing daughter) :) We didn't know what to expect with a double booth and the introduction of so many new designs. I am proud to say that he very nearly sold out in the first day.
PS. He did not have such a serious face the whole time, he just does that for photos, and actually looked like a kid in a candy store.
For the past two years I have been working on my jewelry all over the house. I have a studio in a spare bedroom, I had things strewn all over the garage and I would have tools all over the living room for multiple days. It got to a point where I needed to have a designated space - not only for my sanity (and my family's) but also because I needed to add some very specific equipment which needed a hard working area. I FINALLY designated that area to be in the garage with my own work bench just for jewelry. I still have my studio space in the spare room which I use for small projects and packaging, but now the majority of my work can be done at my new work bench.
I spent many hours finding the right dust collector, foredom motor and bits and putting together everything I needed. She ain't pretty, but she works. The best part is, she was FREE. Well, not the tools, but the cabinets and countertop (old wood door) were. One day I will have a self contained studio away from the house with beautiful cabinets and butcherblock counters with a nice stainless steel section and wash up station, perhaps a few display cabinets as well and, of course, a TON of storage for my booth displays to be hidden away in. For now I am content with what I have and over the last few days have I ever noticed the difference in ease of use and production quality.
Expect to see new designs very soon!
Coastal Black was my largest fair this year. I say largest because it was more of a market; thousands of people over 12 days. 6 other vendors braved the weather with me and set up every weekend out side the winery tasting room. Fortunately they have a nice sheltered area there and it was only when the wind and rain both came in together that my booth was threatened. I was very privileged to sell with these 6 other vendors (unfortunately not all pictured below). We bonded over mini donuts, hot drinks, Christmas music and "freezing our buts off." I was also very privileged to see people I hadn't seen in years who came out for a fun night and stopped by for a chat at my booth.
While out at Coastal Black I introduced a new necklace design and bracelet design. I was also fortunate to set up a little area on top of a wine barrel where I could do alterations or work on a piece in between visitors.
The last day of the market my son, Isaac, came out to see me. He spent quite some time at the neighbouring booth (Ivan's Natural and GMO Free Truffles - which are amazing BTW) telling all kinds of stories and then writing his own books. In the very last hour when the crowds were slowing and we were starting to take mental note of packing up procedures suddenly two handmade books and a sign appeared on an empty table beside Ivan. A small boy (Isaac) was sitting behind the table waiting for customers. To his delight both books sold. (One purchased by Mom).
None of us knew exactly what to expect going into this market since it was the first time the winery held that portion of the production they put on. I had a great time, the potential is huge and I only expect it to get better.
One of the reasons I started making jewelry was because I continually had allergic reactions to store bought pieces. I cannot wear surgical steel or anything plated. I also found that the designs weren't exactly what I was looking for. I like statement pieces that are still simple with clean in lines. That seems like an oxymoron - statement but simple, but I think that describes modern design beautifully. I thought it was time to post a few pictures of me wearing some of my newest pieces. My jewelry "In Action."
I am often asked to what extent my work is handmade. I always respond with the same answer..."All of it (with exception of the chain - which I still buy in bulk and finish to length, lobster claw clasps and the occasional jump ring)." All of my designs start out as wire, chain, tube or sheet metal and are then cut, formed, hammered and wrapped. Today I spent the morning working in the shop with my Dad designing jigs to accomplish cleaner, better cuts for my tube designs. It is also fun Father/Daughter bonding time.
It is easy to post pictures that are edited to look just right and make it seem simple. It is like those DIY shows that reno a whole kitchen in a half hour. "I could so do that!" Then three weeks later it's still not finished. Coming up with ways to make jewelry is similar. It is time consuming and a lot of it is trial and error. This is the fun of it for me. I enjoy the ingenuity aspect. Shortly after taking these photos a piece of silver went flying and it took us a good 5 minutes to find it. Clearly that jig didn't do what it was supposed to. An hour or so later we worked that kink out, but there are still a few more to work through.
I love the quick clips of each decade of fashion. Take note of the jewelry. I love that 2015 is minimalist. When looking around in magazines or at stores hints of the 70's big bangle earrings and the 80's chunky necklaces can also be seen.
I have just completed my last fair - The Artisan's Festival at the Woodland Gardens - and am now done until Christmas time. It is always sad to see the summer ending because the energy at each fair is so exciting. We were fortunate to have good weather at every location, even this last weekend when it called for rain but held. The woodland gardens are picturesque acres of meandering trails through woods, glades and ponds. It was a relaxing place to have a booth and the social aspect was charming and friendly. I was very fortunate to have the most amazing helper at this Festival - Isaac, my 7 year old.
He spent two full days with me setting up, tearing down and "bringing" customers in, by this I mean "dragging" customers in with his sweet face and truthful love for my booth. To his delight I paid him in Mini Doughnuts and Ice Cream from his favorite shop. And of course a little cash. He took over the neighbours' booth a few times as well. I think we have a future vendor of his own booth in the making.
Now that summer is ending I am looking forward to working towards the Christmas Fairs and developing new designs to show case then.
It was already sunny and hot when I arrived on site for day one. People were milling about and there was a general buzz of excitement. It was new territory for me at this event - new display, new designs, new venue and new equipment. Once the people arrived these things were put to the test. In one word it was "great." I had a blast. Friendly people, great conversation, and beautiful weather. I am already looking forward to applying for next year.
My previous display was made from amazing, rustic, weathered dock boards. It had great character and patina. The down side how much it weighed. These were very heavy boards. (See blog post December 2014). I new I wanted to modernize my display to reflect the minimalist style of my jewelry. I am fortunate to have a Dad who is very good at working with wood and who has a shop. I drew up some designs and measurements and he went to work creating it all. It sounds simple but in reality it took us weeks. We designed, machined, redesigned, remachined and then repeated. the end result is exactly what I had envisioned and I can't thank him enough.
I must say thank you to many people.
My husband, for setting up, manning the booth, taking car or our son, bringing me food and being supportive.
My Dad, for building the display, setting up and manning the booth and cheese cake.
My Mom, for helping me polish and card everything.
My volunteers, helping me sell: Laura Farrant, Sharon Yelder, Kari Dyer and Jessica Titley.
Nana and Papa, who babysat my son.
My son, who acted far older than his years and was such a great help with good behavior.
Everyone who visited my booth and gave wonderful feed back and purchased my work.
Thanks for a great show!
When I first started working on my jewelry with the intention of selling, right away my Mom said, "You should see if you can get some of your work into the stores downtown." I agreed this would be great, but I was no where near ready. My earring cards needed adjusting, my inventory list needed to grow, the materials I was using needed to upgrade and more importantly I wasn't completely satisfied with my designs yet. About a year later, I felt all of these things had come together and it was time to put myself out there. I approached one store on 5th Street that I really liked and they thought I would be a good fit. I am so excited to say that they are now selling my product in their downtown location. This boutique sells all Canadian products that are beautifully made. Clothing, jewelry, leather work, knits and other accessories. I am very proud to have my work in this store and I encourage you to spend some time visiting there when you are downtown Courtenay next. Please go take a peek at my jewelry too, I'd love to have feed back!
I printed the application. I meticulously filled out the application. I edited, printed and inspected all of my photographs. I packaged everything, said a prayer, sent it off and then nervously waited for a response. "How much longer?" My parents would ask. "I'm expecting any day now." I would answer. If this seems important it's because it is. This was the ONE fair I really wanted to get into. Comox Nautical Days. 3 days of thousands upon thousands of people. The only problem, I had never submitted an application for a large fair of this kind. I had to be jurried in and there are always lots of people in the jewelry category. Would my work be acceptable? I thought so, but I am biased. Today the news came. I hardly made it though the letter at first, I just wanted to find the words accepted or - hopefully not - not accepted.
"I would like to thank you for your application and am please to advise you that you have been accepted into Nautical Days 2015."
Wahoo! Phone call to my parents. Phone call to my hubby (not such a success since he didn't pick up), but, oh well, I'll tell him when he gets home.
Now I get to put all of my thoughts and plans into action as I will be pulling together my booth space and taking new designs from concept to form.
The Christmas hangover is starting early for me this year as I have just about completed all of my Christmas Craft Fairs and Trunk Shows. I call it the Christmas hangover because vending at shows is full of excitement, energy and buzz then the next day is recover time and a complete slowing of everything.
The first fair I did was the Cumberland WinterFaire. Multitudes of people, chatter and general excitement. It was my first time attending this fair and I loved it. I hope they will have me back again.
The second was the Tin Town Fair. Outdoors in the evening, lights everywhere, live entertainment including music and fire dancers. The vibe at this show was great and the proceeds went to a great cause - Dawn to Dawn: Action Against Homelessness Society.
All in all my first stint of Christmas Fairs was a success. I met wonderful people. Got great feed back on my work and I am looking forward to doing them all again next year!
Christmas is coming soon, for a lot of us it will approach much faster than we anticipate. This seems to happen to me most years, at least. Below are the Canada Post shipping dates to ensure your package arrives on time. I will be doing gift wrapping with Christmas Cards and personalized notes for all of my jewelry. Please state the exact noting prior to purchasing (in the "comment" portion when checking out) and the exact address you would like it shipped to. Please state that it will be a Christmas Gift so there is no confusion and I can wrap it accordingly. Below is the Canada Post Brochure.
Please note that these dates are the final dates for placing items in the mail. I will need a minimum of 3 business days prior to shipping to put everything together. Thanks!
A friend of mine is a wonderful Counsellor and her logo is a dark blue tree with a brown trunk on a white background. Her husband ask if it would be possible to make a Tree of Life Necklace for her based on her logo as a Birthday Present and I immediately felt the creative juices flowing. I did her tree in a reverse colour scheme from the usual. I chose to do a sterling silver frame (mimicking the white background) with oxidized copper tree branches (mimicking her initials). My previous trees have been the reverse, a copper frame and silver tree. I then used real Lapiz Lazuli chips to mimic the blue leaves.
For more information on Elaine Binnema's Counselling Services please visit ebcounselling.com
The Black Creek Fall Fair was buzzing with people, food and entertainment. We had a lovely day in the sun visiting with customers, selling jewelry and connecting with other vendors. I would like to say thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and resources to help Grassroots put our booth together. Your help was greatly appreciated.
I created this cuff bracelet to be simple and easy to wear. The copper has been hammered using two types of tools to give it contrasting textures. It can be worn in the naturally oxidized state it is in for a more eclectic feel or highly polished for a more glamorous feel. This copper bracelet buffs really nicely with a polishing cloth making it easy to maintain. This style of bracelet will be added to my collection in early winter so keep checking back.
I had the priviledge of building this custom order for a friend. The request was very specific and if you look closely a culmination of many previous designs from the past. The tree has been made using two stones, turquoise and blue magnesite, and the earrings are a large blue magnesite stone to complement. This tree is not a family tree of life, the friend simply wanted multiple stones and I love how it turned out.
I am mostly self taught and develop many of my designs through simple experimentation. Discovering a new technique or applying an old technique in a new way is very exciting for me. I often have middle of the night "brain waves" and some not so brilliant, "brilliant ideas." It is what keeps the process fresh.