This, That and The Next Thing

Posted by on Feb 19, 2019

The By Hand Show – Canada’s Artisan Gift Show. Notice that my booth looks very similar to how I present myself at the One of a Kind Shows.

My apologies that you haven’t heard from me since November 2018. This blog post will serve as a mish-mash of topics to catch you up with all that I have been up to since then.

Firstly, I’m sure it’s no secret that as a jeweller, I just get busier and busier leading up to Christmas. Then, since we all deserve a break over the holidays, I took the opportunity to do that!

The new year started, like every new year, getting ready for my annual trade show at the end of January. For those who are not familiar with what a trade show is, in my case it’s where I build an entire booth of jewellery samples to show to my retail clients. They then place orders from the samples, for me to build and deliver at a later date. It’s what’s known as wholesale, and not every craftsperson does it. I actually love wholesale and my business would not exist without it. It means I can spend even more time in the comfort of my studio working away at what I love.

Once I am done building and making for these clients, I pack up the orders and ship to places like The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Art Gallery of Burlington, Corktown Designs and Artina’s Jewellery. It’s a way for my work and brand name to reach across Canada through representation at finer galleries and retail locations. I have been doing wholesale since I started making jewellery in 1992. Most of the clients I forged relationships with along the way I continue to work with today. This year, Artina’s Jewellery in Victoria and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary together!

Secondly, while I was away on business last fall visiting the West Coast (including a day at Artina’s in Victoria!) I discovered this absolutely amazing craftsperson. Meet Micro Woodturner, Wray Parsons, and his extraordinary collection of needle workers’ tools. I have been around the craft show circuit long enough to recognize outstanding talent, and Wray’s attention to detail is second to none. I kind of lost my mind (and pocketbook!), and it took me quite a while to decide which of his wares to purchase. He has many more items – pin cushions, magnetic needle holders, awls, etc. It was a tough decision, but below is my haul of his hand-crafted pieces.

Please visit Side Street Studio for more information on Wray Parsons.

Pictured above from left to right: Acorn Thimble case (with lid off), Tall Chess piece is actually a darning needle holder (top comes off), in front of that, the Acorn Tape Measure – tape is actually silk (where do you find something like that?) It pulls out and you wind the tape back in by spinning the stem of the acorn. Brilliant! Next to that are the scissors in a friction-fitted wood case. You simply turn the scissors to remove and/or sheath them. On the right, the wood-handled seam ripper, with friction-fitted top.

If you are any kind of needleworker (or just someone who does odd clothing repairs but appreciates using finely-crafted tools), please go give Wray some love and appreciation. You can order online from Side Street Studio located in British Columbia.

Next to share is my continuing exploration of my line of “jewellery for your knitting”. Since we last chatted here at my blog, I have designed yet another Scarf Ring which I showed at the Winter One of a Kind Show. It is a continuation of my Bauhaus series of work and this new size of Scarf Ring works well on lace-weight knitted shawls, or any light cotton scarf.

Bauhaus Scarf Rings. Shown are all three styles. One is all sterling with coiled sterling, another is sterling with coiled brass, and the final one is sterling with coiled copper detail. All retail for $225.00 a piece.

Eventually I will design more scarf rings to work with different weights of yarn. I started with the lightest weight and will work my way up as I continue to knit more projects. My current design process is to do the knitting and then design the jewellery embellishment specifically for the finished knitted object. It just makes sense to me to “knit the thing and then design the thing to perfectly complement it”.

And last to share from my work bench, is a special pin I designed for my wholesale market. Look for my new collection of Safety Pin designs at a retailer near you later this year.

Beaded Safety Pins. All oxidized sterling silver with Swarovski steel lined crystal and pearl beads that move on the safety pin depending on how you orient it. Various beaded colour options available. They retail for; small – $160.00, Medium – $175.00, Large – $190.00.

Both styles of Safety Pins come in small, medium and large sizes. I made 3 different sizes because I realized that what you wear them with would dictate which size was appropriate.

Coiled Safety Pins. All sterling silver pins with coiled brass, copper and sterling sections. The copper and sterling coils move on the pins, depending on how you orient them. Retail: 5”:  Small – $150.00, Medium – $175.00 and Large – 195.00.

All these new Scarf Rings and Safety Pin designs will be available for purchase at the Spring One of a Kind Show, March 27 – 31, 2019.

I will also be bringing them to The Toronto Knitters Frolic, Saturday, April 27, 2019. This is a new show for me, and I am excited to be there.

Some other work I’ve been doing away from the bench is setting up a YouTube Channel.  My first short video is up and is a virtual tour of my studio.  If you’ve never seen where I hang my hat and create, please go and take a peek. As an ongoing project, I will be uploading more videos that give a glimpse into my handmade world.

Until then, I’ll be busy making the Beaded Safety Pins in all the crystal and pearl colour variations! And knitting all the things on which to display them.