Ayelet Stewart is a goldsmith and the owner of AYDesigns. We first spotted her fine craftmanship at King’s Point Pottery in Newfoundland. Prince Edward Island was to be our last new province to visit on our way back west and luckily for us this is where we found Ayelet. We contacted her for an interview and she kindly accepted. Connected to her house, Ayelet has a wonderful little gallery which is bright and uncluttered. Each piece of jewelry is displayed as if it is the only one in the room, so I could easily admire each piece as I wandered through her gallery.
Over the years Ayelet has had some important influences in her life that have helped to shape her own style. She did her Master’s degree in Japan and has had the priviledge of learning ancient techniques and cultural designs. As well, having the Atlantic ocean, with all it’s magic and mystery, a few steps away from her backdoor has captured her imagination and she has been able to encapsulate it’s beauty within her designs. These two influences have enabled her to fuse an exquisite union between the Japanese designs and her love of nature. Primarily, she does this by using silver as her base material along with gemstone accents and then applying techniques such as etching and enamelling with powdered glass.
Jewelry is very personal for most people. For me, I wear my wedding rings and usually no other pieces. I have a box that contains jewelry that used to be my grandmother’s and now is a collection of my memories about her. It is also the home to other special pieces like the handmade bracelet Gary bought me many years ago. I love the simple beauty of Ayelet’s jewelry and I could see myself owning a piece one day. She brings out the best in the materials she uses to make her creative ideas come alive.
Please take a closer look at some of Ayelet’s handcrafted jewelry by clicking the images below.
Be sure to watch Ayelet Stewart’s interview below. Comments are always appreciated. Thanks.
The heartbeat of the human spirit is creativity. Many of us tend to think we aren’t creative but it is an element that is woven into the very matrix that makes us human in the first place. Sometimes it takes several attempts when exploring our own creativity before we find what “does it” for us.
Andrea Symons is the first artist that we interviewed as we resumed our trek across Canada and she found her creative addiction in lamp work. Simply put, lamp work is a technique used to manipulate molten glass with a torch into beads and vessels. Every chance she gets, Andrea has been working on her art for the last eight years and there is no doubt she loves what she does. She lives in Pemberton, B.C., where even the most passive creative person would succumb to the beauty that is beholden here.
Andrea exudes a vibrancy that is expressed in her beads and she is quite willing to go down any road to explore new and exciting challenges. The day we met Andrea she was wearing a bead around her neck in the shape of the female torso. I never knew glass could look so sexy! Later when we were in her studio she shared with us the story of her friend who looked at her female torso beads and said “she’s not doing anything”. So after some discussion and some laughter, Andrea set out to put her female torsos to work and now you can find some of them wrapped around a pole. These are very popular with women who use poles as part of their exercise regime. Imagine that!
On a more serious bead note, Andrea has wandered into the world of the Coastal First Nation peoples motifs and has given her own interpretation and style to a glorious series of beads. Her relationship with the people she knows and nature sets her inspiration on fire and it burns right into her beads.
Be sure to watch our interview with Andrea and a little demonstration on lamp work. As well, we welcome you to leave a comment for Andrea.
The day we were to head to Campbell River to meet Darlene Ngo and Barb Akelaitis was marginal at best. Our earth mother decided to serve up a little snow that day and although Arty was wearing his winter boots we just weren’t sure what his reaction to the slushy stuff was going to be. We set out anyway on the island highway along the east coastal side of Vancouver Island hoping to catch a glimpse of some picturesque vistas, but it wasn’t to be as a blanket of grey hung all around. We did run into the best gas price this side of Alberta at $1.14/l and were happy to squeeze in every last drop that Arty would take.
It was dark by the time we landed at Barb’s house and Darlene hadn’t quite arrived so in the mean time we chatted with Barb and her husband Anthony. Barb and Darlene have been working together, along with Keenan, Darlene’s son, for several years and formed a business called Rocks Bejewelled after they each gained their own fervent interest in rock hounding and lapidary work. I love it when people are so passionate about their creativity whatever it may be. It means when you make a personal connection with someone’s art form you can be sure their life energy, love and care went into making it and it really becomes long lasting and meaningful for the person who takes it home.
Shortly after we arrived, Darlene came in and we got down to our interview. This was the first interview that was planned on the part of the artist before our arrival. Barb had systematically laid out a story for us starting with some examples of the local geology and then leading through the step by step process after the rock has been plucked from its resting place on the beach or river bed and turned into a beautiful adornment that can accentuate someone’s neck or ears. They introduced us to some glorious examples of what nature has created and how, through their desire to learn, they gave themselves the skills to transform a plain unsuspecting rock into brilliant and awe inspiring jewellery. Barb even went so far as to incorporate some of her favorite stones into the tiled work around her kitchen counters. We could easily see Barb and Darlene’s appreciation for the rocks and the enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge with others. It was a fascinating journey they took us on and Gary and I thank them for taking the time.
Please be sure to watch their instructional “Journey of a Rock” video interview and we welcome any comments you may have.
As children we are always fascinated with the wonder of our surroundings. Any eye-catching object that we can get at is not safe from our exploring appendages. I know for myself that in addition to the buckets of snakes I would catch and release (sometimes in the house!) when I was a little kid, I would also walk the beaches and river banks finding rocks and even pieces of wood that had unique shapes and colours. Why not? As kids our responsibilities and obligations are relatively few, so we had the time to let our imaginations soar. It is our preeminent time of discovery and creativity. So what happens after that? Education, work, family; as beneficial as they can be, can temporarily dry up the creative juices we enjoyed as children. It seems that the only phase in our life that could afford us the same freedom to explore those options once again is in retirement, where we get to go back to being a kid again with no rigid commitments of school, working or raising a family.
Doug and Ruthie Shewan’s retirement plans have enabled them to do just that. Discovering stones and beads with beauty and historical fascination is a passion of theirs that takes them to Quartzsite, Arizona for four months out of the year to not only savour the southern climes, but also to seek out new finds for their collections of beads and precious stones. These acquisitions will lead to the design and making of magnificent necklaces, bracelets and pendants that we have given a glimpse of in our interview and photographs with them.
Click on the images below to enlarge them for a closer look:
Doug and Ruthie tell of the compelling history of beads that were once touched by people in the 14th century and beyond to pre-Buddhist times over 2500 years ago. The brief clip below shows two such rare beads that Ruthie and Doug had acquired.
The first one is a Venetian Millefiori bead with a very unique, hexagonal shape to it. Not knowing much about it at first, they had it authenticated by a lady that lives high up in the Sierras in a gold mining camp with her husband; both of them very knowledgeable. They knew beads like this were made but had never seen one before. Upon further research it was discovered that this particular bead had only been made in the one colour. The Venetians were leaders in Lampwork, which is the process under which this bead was produced. This extraordinary bead was framed by two smaller rectangular Millefiori’s, Russian blue faceted beads and 16th century cobalt Dutch Dogan beads, which are gorgeous when the light hits them!
The second bead is an ancient Tibetan dZi bead that pre-dates buddhism and is carved from Agate stone, then etched through a chemical process with heat. This bead has “eyes” on it in a three and two pattern around it. The older ones are becoming quite prized and expensive to collect. This bead is featured with red coral and copper to accent it, a nice way to display a collectible item such as this.