Saturday, August 1, 2015

Come on folk, we fest!

No rest for the weary (or fly-bitten); making shepherd hooks on the beach during a camping trip.

It's August!

I used to think this was the half-way point of the summer, but weather-wise I'm having to adjust that mindset.  Maybe as we gather at the folk festival in a week we can celebrate it as the beginning of summer this year - one can hope!

The Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, as I'm sure I've said before, is my favourite event to participate in as a craftsperson.  August 7, 8, & 9th in Bannerman Park will be hopping with folks anxious to revel in this annual summer celebration of fantastic music, food, and craft.  With headliners like Bruce Cockburn, David Francey, Fred Penner(!), as well as well-loved local groups The Fables, Hey Rosetta, the list goes on.... all putting on a great show in the newly renovated Bannerman Park, I do believe it'll be a festival to remember this year!

I've been working on some new jewellery for this event, as I do each year.

There are many tried and true ways of incorporating colour into jewellery.  Unfortunately many of them are also very time consuming, which utltimately adds to the price of the finished piece for the customer.

I've also wanted to explore using alternative materials in my jewellery for some time.  The pieces I've made so far this year may be the beginnings of a whole new line, depending on the feedback I receive on these initial few.

The material I'm using is melamine, also known by the trade names Formica, or Arborite.  Using heat and pressure, resin is bonded with patterned and wood layers to create the durable surface that we more commonly see used in counter-tops.  I'm intrigued with how differently we can appreciate the subtle nuances in the pattern when such a small piece is used, as in jewellery.  These patterns feed my craving for, and appreciation of, designs that reference topography.

The necklaces I've made also incorporate components I've etched, whereas I've left the earrings simpler, as more of an exploration of shape, movement, and the patterning on the melamine.

Of course I also have been hard at work building up the inventory of my more classic designs and a fresh batch of them will be ready by the time we set up on Friday.

I hope to see lots of familiar faces next weekend in the park as we celebrate good music, tasty food, fine craft, and the people who love and appreciate it all.

This is also the final week for the Newfoundland & Labrador Craft Council Gallery's Annual Member's Exhibit.  You can view most of the work online, but to truly appreciate the fine craftsmanship be sure not to miss the opportunity to visit the Gallery on the second floor of Devon House in person.

I'd also like to share the exciting news that a profile of my studio practice written by curator Gloria Hickey, was published by the Metal Arts Guild of Canada in their latest issue focusing on Canadian jewelers.  I was honoured to have my ring, Sedimentary Journey, chosen for the cover image.