Winter's Slow Burn

I love witnessing the seasonal shifts. I get pretty quiet in the Winter.  Besides the general and constant moving and shaking that a coupla kids & a coupla jobs requires, I tend to stick close to the woodstove, try to catch up on some reading, and percolate.  It can be a dry time of year, but I try to keep the creative juices flowing.  Scheming, drawing, dreaming, reflecting, reconnecting.   It's slow going, but it goes.

In the studio I've been working on some custom projects, some fun custom horsehair pieces (with hair trimmed from the family's horses), a few very special rings for very special lovers, and then some sketching and experimenting with some ideas for new designs.  I've fallen in to a pit of sand casting glory.  By that I mean I've been stuck on it.  Playing, experimenting, guessing, going, experimenting more.  I've been using the process/materials to invite an element of the unknown, of suprise, of the potentially unexpected to my work.  Metalsmithing can be a prettycalculated and exacting craft---so I revel in finding ways to subvert that a bit.  We'll see where it all leads...

 

 

(winter reading included She of the Mountains (Vivek Shraya), Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (Compilation), A Queer and Pleasant Danger (Kate Bornstein), Briarpatch Magazine, Chani Nicholas horoscopes and the usual smattering of self-help books re: chronic pain/mental health, etc.)

Black Tourmaline/Schorl

Last winter I spent a bit of time in and around Austin, Texas and I brought back some lovely black tourmaline that I've been waiting to work with.  Here you can see a bit of the transformation:

Black tourmaline (schorl) is a powerful stone for protection against negative energies and for spiritual grounding. If this sorta thing floats your boat, you can read a bit more about some of Black tourmaline's properties here and here, or pick up a book about crystals & stones at the library, cause books and libraries are where it's at.

Upcoming 2015 Holiday Shows/Sales

You'll be able to track down some Fervour's Own Jewellery at the following holiday season events!  Come on out to see some stunning handmade goods, support local makers, and give me a high five or flash me a smile.  It's always appreciated.

 

DARTMOUTH MAKERS HOLIDAY MARKET

November 28 & 29, 2015    10am-5pm  

50 Kings Wharf Place, Dartmouth NS        

https://www.facebook.com/events/895293617187227/ 

 

HALIFAX CRAFTERS WINTER MARKET  

December 4, 5 & 6, 2015 (Fri 5pm-9pm, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm)

Olympic Community Center, 2304 Hunter St. Halifax, NS

 http://halifaxcrafters.ca/

 

WISHBOOK at FRED.    LOCAL HOLIDAY POP-UP EVENT

November 27-December 12th, 2015    

 2606 Agricola St. Halifax, NS      

Hours of Operation:  Tuesday- Friday: 11 am- 6pm.
                                      Saturday: 10 am – 6pm .
                                      Sunday & Monday: Closed

https://www.facebook.com/events/1855016184724791/                                                            

 

 

ARTIST: Pinar Yolaçan

I stumbled upon the intriguing work of Turkish-born, Brooklyn-based artist Pinar Yolacan a few months ago and I keep returning to it, the imagery so provocative.  Talk about adornment.

Here are some images from her 2004 series "Perishables," portraits of English matrons outfitted in animal:

 

And below are images from her "Maria" series (2007), featuring poignant portraits of Afro-Brazilian women, also uniquely outfitted:

S T U N N I N G.

Below are some links to articles/interviews with Pinar Yolacan so you can read about her work in her own words:

Interview with ArtSlant HERE.

Greater New Yorkers interview, HERE.

And to check some more of her recent work:  PINAR YOLACAN

The New Year, turned March

Somehow it is March.  Halifax is almost through the toughest part of the year...this winter's been a a heavy hitter. We've seen some sunny days over the last week and it really is a beautiful thing. This city is still mostly blanketed in ice, which makes for a blinding glare, but I'll take it.  It's pulling me through.

With winter prompting an inward turn, I've been focusing on reconnecting a bit.  After the rush of late 2014, the rather hectic Christmas season, and the turn of the year I've been shifting energy and emphasis towards self, family, the woodstove.  I've been hunkered down, healing up, loving, processing.  As a working artist/parent, I'd say I'm learning to put less stock in the idea of any sort of solid and lasting balance---I'm thinking fam/art, work/life balance.  It just seems a bit impossible and unrealistic these days.  Everything is a big old messy mix of it all so instead, I try to consider conditions in a constant state of flux; a series of back-and-forths, adjustments and tweaks.  It feels better to roll with what the seasons and circumstances call for, than to resist it in aiming at an improbable state of equilibrium.  Sure, sometimes I can hit a bit of a groove with all the balls in the air (read: "Whoa, I'm ON it!").  And often I crash, hard (read: anxiety/depression).  But I try to remember that, in either case, it likely wont last too long. If parenting has taught me anything, it's that nothing lasts forever and you have to be fluid on your feet.  I consider the ocean inspiration, grateful for its proximity.

This is not to say I have been letting work & making fall completely to the wayside.  My studio time over the last couple of months has been spent working on some custom work; wedding rings (re-purposing family jewellery), Valentine's/Pink Triangle Day gifts, a fun commission for a local songstress, and playing with some new pieces.  Always scheming and sketching.  Here are a few snapshots:

 10K gold custom wedding ring.

10K gold custom wedding ring.

 A very fun pair of commissioned earrings in process.

A very fun pair of commissioned earrings in process.

 A sexy Valentines Day/Pink Triangle Day present.

A sexy Valentines Day/Pink Triangle Day present.

 Getting a start on carving some waxes for a pair of wedding rings that are to be cast in gold, melted down from rings that belonged to the client's grandparents. 

Getting a start on carving some waxes for a pair of wedding rings that are to be cast in gold, melted down from rings that belonged to the client's grandparents. 

 These new Hexi Rings have emerged over the last month or so...they match nicely with the Hexi studs pictured above in oxidized bronze (also available in polished bronze or silver).  Made from a mould of old upholstery studs.

These new Hexi Rings have emerged over the last month or so...they match nicely with the Hexi studs pictured above in oxidized bronze (also available in polished bronze or silver).  Made from a mould of old upholstery studs.

 

 

 

Halifax Crafter's 10th Anniversary Winter Market

The Halifax Crafters 10th Anniversary Winter Market was an incredible (as expected) 3-day event this time around---packed to the gills with people in great spirits, amazing talent and, of course, tonnes of handmade treasures.  I always enjoy having the opportunity to connect with friends, clients, and other makers.

Below are links to two blog posts by two lovely Halifax-based phototgraphers/bloggers, Lindsay Duncan (of Eldie Photography) and Katie Tower, who both covered the event and happened to feature some Fervour's Own Jewellery:

 

http://www.eldiephotography.com/blog/2014/12/halifax-crafters-society-winter-market

http://www.katietower.ca/post/104461337511/hands-of-the-maker

 

As always, big thanks for everyone who made it such a great event, from crafters, to shoppers to organizers and volunteers!   

 

 

Custom Ring: Al + Mg

Back in the spring I was contacted by a client who had been thinking about having a ring made for his partner and was ready to see it actualized. I had been suggested to him, as a maker who might be open to working with unusual or unconventional materials, as he was interested in having this ring made out of aluminum (Al) and magnesium (Mg).

He described their relationship (breifly) as such:  "My partner and I have been together for a long time, are tight, and not likely to split. That said, we are not ever going to get married either."  He was hoping to have someone work with him to design and produce a ring that he could give to his partner and be like a metaphor.

 Terry Fugate-Wilcox's 1974 installation, 3000 A.D Diffusion Piece, NYC.   

Terry Fugate-Wilcox's 1974 installation, 3000 A.D Diffusion Piece, NYC.

 

Aluminum and magnesium do interesting things when stuck next to one another.  If left in contact for an extended period of time, these two metals will chemically bond together through the process of diffusion.  An artist by the name of Terry Fugate-Wilcox explored this idea through a series of sculptures, perhaps most notably a public installation in J. Hood Wright Park, NYC in 1974 called 3000 A.D. Diffusion Piece.  

So, with this process/behavior serving as an apt metaphor, and the appeal of these two metals being common and non-precious, we set to work on designing and making a ring out of aluminum and magnesium. 

I was excited to have the opportunity to be working through this process with someone who was thoroughly engaged with their idea and taking a creative and thoughtful approach to the making of a meaningful, handmade object.  Also, the opportunity to be researching and experimenting with new materials and processes is always thrilling for me. 

After discussing a design idea and researching the properties of each of the metals, I began to discern which processes and techniques might be applicable and started in on fabrication.  So much is learned through the handling of materials, the experience of working with the metals themselves, so at that stage there was quite a bit of hypothesizing and experimentation going on.  And so the real research began to unfold. 

I worked through different problems and glitches over a period of months (in and around other projects), experimenting with processes, learning through trial and error, testing the limits of the materials, and combining processes; from casting and piercing to stretching and compression.  After a (good) number of attempts to fabricate the design we'd originally decided to aim for, it became clear that the approach I'd had in mind was asking a too much of the materials---stretching them (literally) beyond their limits.  So, we decided to revisit the design to make some revisions. 

Things began to move much more smoothly after revising the design.  You can see a couple pictures of the final product below.  One bar of each aluminum and magnesium were set side by side in a ring band cast in an Al/Mg alloy.  Each length of the Al and Mg bars span just over 1/3 of the diameter of the band.  Aiming for a clean & minimalist aesthetic, I think it came together quite nicely with the texture of the cast Al/Mg body (small crystalline shaped pits) lending just a bit of ruggedness around the edges.

Thanks for the challenge and the studio adventures---it was a rewarding learning experience.  All the best R & T!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOj Photoshoot // Behind the Scenes

In late August I had the pleasure of working with an amazing team of folks to actualize a photo shoot that had been in scheming for a long time.  The finished product photos you can see throughout the website and will be used for an FOj lookbook, but here's a peek behind the scenes. Big thanks to Meghan Tansey Whitton for her patience, artistic vision & technical wizardry on the camera, Melissa Dube whose helping hands and experience were indispensible on site, Emily Moore who works magic with hair & make up, and Yailen who did an amazing job as a model who's not a model, rolling with it all, and lending her ingenuity to wardrobe glitches.

We shot in two locations throughout the day; spending the morning in a lovely pocket of forest, with the sun filtering through the trees, and the afternoon in a metal scrap yard I'd been dreaming of shooting in for years.  It was a bit of a mad shuffle but we made it work,  with snacks, wardrobe, hair and make-up changes on the fly.

For the forest shoot, we'd decided to run with the idea of building a structure using yarn (an elaboration of an idea that Meghan had explored through a self-portrait project she'd worked on a number of years back) to create an interesting graphic effect to combine with the natural backdrop of the forest. 

Meghan and I spent the evening before the shoot building the structure out of rebar and yarn on site.  This involved tying up each individual length of yarn, which took a while.  We ran out of sunlight, eventually busting out the flashlights and working into the night.  Fine tunes, beer and nuts kept us fueled and on track.

 Meghan getting started tying the first few lengths of yarn.   

Meghan getting started tying the first few lengths of yarn.

 

        The view at dusk.   

       The view at dusk.

 

It was pretty amazing walking up to the site in the early morning after having finished it in the dark.  Here's what it ended up looking like:

yarnframe.jpg

And here are few more snapshots of our shoot in the forest:

After packing up, we headed to the scrap yard for round two.  This place was/is such a marvel---it was really a treat to wander around amongst the most magnificent mountains of rusty metal.  Here are a few snapshots from our time there:

It was a super day, a ridiculous amount of photos were taken, and I'm thrilled to have had the chance to make this happen with such lovely & talented people.  Here they are workin it:

 Meghan Tansey Whitton, photographer, in some serious action.

Meghan Tansey Whitton, photographer, in some serious action.

 Melissa Dube (photo assist), Yailen (blurry but beaming model) & Emily Moore (Hair & Makeup Artist)

Melissa Dube (photo assist), Yailen (blurry but beaming model) & Emily Moore (Hair & Makeup Artist)

THX ALL!!!

 

Autumnal shifts

The cold seems to be settling in as of late, after a warm and beautiful fall season on the east coast.  It is now dark around 5:30pm here in Halifax.  The optimist in me holds onto the resolve that the long evenings of the colder months are great for scheming, production, organizing & making. The animal in me responds to the darkness with an unwinding of fortitude---drawn towards warm resting places to surrender the the pull of the slower season.  I hope to maintain a balance.

Shifting into production mode in the studio, I'm preparing for the upcoming bustle of the holiday season.  X-mas orders have already been coming in!  Fervour's Own will be at the Halifax Crafters Holiday Fair this year on December 5, 6 & 7th, 2014.  If you are in Halifax that weekend, be sure to drop in---it is always a great time with so much incredible talent to check out.  I usually bring along with me a collection of pieces that I produce in limited runs---made of salvaged & reclaimed materials---that aren't available via the website or for wholesale (button studs, leather pieces, etc).  So come visit! 

Besides being a blur of sun-soaked swimming adventures and other summertime spectacles, the past number of months were spent producing work to send off to shops, planning and organizing a pretty epic photo shoot that happened in August, working on a new website, and designing/making a few custom pieces.  These custom pieces were fun and challenging.  One commission was quite simple and smooth to roll out while another turned out to be quite the adventure; a longer haul, full of experimentation and learning.  Both satisfying in their own ways.  I am thankful for having been connecting with some really super clients.

Individual posts about a couple of the projects I just mentioned will be on their way before too long.  For now, let this be a brief overview of what my hands have been dirty with, and an acknowledgement of the shifts in seasons and energy.

 

FALL SONG

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

                                                        -Mary Oliver

screen time=shake it time

Having been editing photographs and working on a website over the last while, much too much time has been spent in front of the screen.  This body needs to move.  The grey in this video matches the weather and I am inspired by this movement to abandon the computer to shake it out and generate some steam for the final push.

CAMERA MAGIC

In pulling things together for a photo shoot that is coming up soon, I am reminded of these INCREDIBLE handmade cameras by Hyun-seok SIm with whom I studied in 2003 when he was visiting from South Korea to teach at NSCAD. Check them out:

These cameras were so amazing to look at in person--and they are functional (pinhole cameras) too!  Quite stunning.

Where'r We At?

Somehow the winter has slipped by (mostly).  It’s been a slow one, and yet we are rounding the corner to spring…Where have I been?!?  Squirreling around in my home and neighborhood and studio—-working, little by little, on a slew of things in that way that makes real forward moving progress hard to see, what for the spreading out of efforts.  Now the sun shines more, the light sticks around longer each evening, and things have grown and changed and are emerging.  Slowly, like snails.

Speaking of snails…

image

I stumbled across this here ditty, while doing some internet research on African Land Snails after my daughter’s pet had a slew of babies earlier int he winter. This snail necklace is by London based jewellery designer Dominic Jones who has some interesting work, certainly worth taking a look at—often shiny and sharp. Here’s a few examples:

image

As for news, you can now find Fervour’s Own Jewellery in Ottawa at Jasmine Virani Studio Boutique. Here’s a pic of the lovely shop at 1282-A Wellington Street West.  There is an impressive collection of great Canadian designers in there, so if you are in Ottawa certainly check it out.

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And coming up in Halifax, on Saturday April 5th & Sunday April 6th, is the Halifax Crafters Spring Market.  There are always so many incredibly talented folks at these shows, it is always worth stopping in.  Great food and music too.

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I will be there with some FOj, and am thrilled to be bringing with me some NEW WORK!!

I have been percolating on some new pieces for a good while now, and am excited to be getting them out of my head/hands and off the bench.  The designs for this small collection have developed alongside contemplating, talking about, and reflecting on themes of trauma, healing, and self-preservation/self-protection.  Thinking about the ways in which some of the things we carry with us and adorn ourselves with can relate to our own histories and sometimes serve as a form of armour as we move through and interact with the world.  Gateways and Guards.  Some sneak previews will be coming soon, but in the meantime, here’s a link to a short article that touches on the idea of fashion as armour, that was sent my way following a conversation about this new work.