From Painter to Jeweller: Influences Behind My Artistic Jewellery Designs

From Painter to Jeweller: Influences Behind My Artistic Jewellery Designs

My artistic journey didn’t begin with jewellery design. My father was artistic and had a very precise eye. We would spend time together drawing occasionally, or simply observing the natural environment. I don’t recall exactly who gifted me my first set of oil paints, but somebody took note of my artistic nature and I received this fateful present for a birthday in my single digits. I immediately fell in love with painting. I loved having an outlet for my creativity that required the patience and attention to detail that oil paints demand. . Even then, I knew I'd always be an artist.

My Long-Lasting Love for Painting

For years, I was obsessed with creating paintings of horses and portraits of people, experimenting with the type of wonder and excitement only a child can conjure. Oil paints, with their rich textures and hues, captivated me in a way that water-based or acrylic paints never did. So, I decided to pursue this passion through formal education.

In 2010, I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto, specializing in traditional portraiture and oil painting. But despite my love for oils and my arts degree, I often struggled to translate my heart’s truest intentions onto a canvas. There was a persistent tension, a push-pull that left me feeling unsatisfied with my work. The flow I used to reach, so easily before, eluded me more often than not… and I was feeling like a “tortured artist.” After graduating, I moved to New York City to pursue the art world, but the Universe presented me with a very different path that led me on a journey of travel and midwifery.

Discovering Jewellery Design

In 2014, my daughter was born, and I set aside the oil paints for a while. But after four years  of raising my daughter as a solo parent, I was yearning for a renewed creative outlet and painting was not calling to me. Inspired by a trip to Moab, Utah, and the stunning Navajo jewellery I saw there, I decided to experiment. On a whim, I purchased some goldsmithing equipment and began teaching myself through trial and error. Despite having no formal training, I found a natural affinity for the medium and a creative flow that I had longed for in painting. Jewellery design quickly became my new passion, and I haven't looked back since.

Jewellery Design Influences

In my paintings, I was always drawn to the natural hues, textures, and imperfections of the human flesh and the natural world. This sensibility has seamlessly carried over into my jewellery work. I'm particularly captivated by gemstones that reflect the organic beauty of nature with their unique colours and patterns. Clear, flawless gemstones hold little appeal for me; instead, I seek stones with inclusions and textural interest that tell a story.

This preference extends to my metalwork as well. I intentionally leave signs of the making process, allowing textures to add to the narrative of each piece. Oxidized silver, with its painterly quality and ability to display a rainbow of colours, resonates deeply with me. It enhances the texture and complements any gold elements in a way that polished silver cannot.

Jewellery Design Inspirations

The process of selecting gemstones is akin to choosing a palette for a painting. I lay out dozens of stones on my bench, experimenting with combinations until something clicks. Mismatched pairings excite me, and I often seek these perfect mismatched sets when purchasing stones. Once the stone decisions are made, creating the rest of the piece feels somewhat effortless.

In more complex designs, I sketch out my ideas to determine the best approach for construction, always keeping in mind the comfort and function for the wearer. As a representational artist, I draw inspiration from the world around me, which explains why I often need to see the gemstones first before designing the piece.

Painting Techniques in Jewellery Design

One of the techniques I use in my jewellery design is “keum boo”, an ancient Korean method of applying 24k gold to silver. This technique allows me to place gold accents on silver, resulting in a painterly effect. For years, I've been toying with the idea of incorporating tiny oil paintings into my jewellery, setting them in silver and gold. While I haven't yet perfected a method that meets my standards, I'm determined to explore this concept further, ensuring the work is of archival quality.

Artistic Jewellery Designs I Love Crafting

Over time, my jewellery style has evolved. What began as an exploration of texture through fusing has shifted to a focus on the natural textures created during the making process. My jewellery is now recognizable by its mismatched pairings, organic forms, and celebration of imperfections. This signature style is a direct reflection of my journey from painter to jeweller, combining my love for natural beauty with the craftsmanship of jewellery design.

In both painting and jewellery, my artistic vision remains the same: to create pieces that resonate with the soul, celebrating the beauty found in nature and the imperfections that make each piece unique.

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