Location: Duncan

Morgan Saddington – Ancient Artistry Stands the Test of Time

Morgan Saddington – Ancient Artistry Stands the Test of Time

Often when we think of technology we think of it occuring largely in the 20th and 21st centuries. Technology is merely an advancement of something based on scientific principles. So imagine a technological advance made 1600 years ago that is still in use today. Chainmaille was a technological advance commonly credited to the Celts. Today what comes to mind is the Middle Ages or Medieval Period with the knights, princesses, valour, honour, jousts and of course chainmaille armour. Although we no longer use armour in our society, at least not in the sense of fighting battles, chainmaille is still in use today for things like cut-resistant gloves for butchers and woodworkers, shark resistant wet suits and, in the case of our blog, as a statement of fashion in the form of jewellery.

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Morgan Saddington lives in the Cowichan Valley region of Vancouver Island and like many people she wanted to explore her innate creativity. Her first passion was photography but due to her lifestyle circumstances at the time it wasn’t going to be a fitting choice. She started out buying beads and components to assemble jewellery and later became interested in silversmithing which gave her the ability to hand-make every piece for her designs from start to finish. When Morgan kindly agreed to an interview I was anxious to hear why it was chainmaille that was the primary component of her jewellery designs. My own imagination “swept me off my feet” as I began thinking about The Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Guinevere! As it turns out, chainmaille was simply happenstance for Morgan and part of her art education. Alas, my fantasy was dashed! But seriously, Morgan found her niche and has been creating gorgeous jewellery ever since.

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Morgan primarily uses traditional chainmaille patterns with signature clasps and pendants that give her designs a unique perspective for the modern jewellery era. Her pieces are an elegant combination of ancient history blended with avant-garde. The clasp and pendant designs remind me of miniature shields that could have been fashioned after that which may have been used in a joust or to protect the face of a knight. The sterling silver used to make the chainmaille is all hand cut and then linked together by hand, one by one, to form a pattern. Morgan loves the contrast that chainmaille lends to her jewellery. It has strength and yet it has flow and movement that is wonderfully appealing. Her pendants are inspired by nature and embrace a simplicity that I just love. They are hand cut copper pieces. The surface is scratched, a layer of gesso is applied, then she uses coloured pencil, a spray fixative and finally comes a layer of micro crystalline wax. This can be repeated for up to 8 layers depending on the effect Morgan is looking for.

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As you probably have guessed by now, this is not a creative outlet for the hurried. Morgan loves the meditative feeling that creating her one of a kind artistic adornments give her in the making of each piece. Please join us as Morgan talks more about her jewellery in her video interview. Don’t forget, we love comments and share all you want with social media!

Norma Jackson Lives a Creative Life

Norma Jackson Lives a Creative Life

When we planned a trip to Vancouver Island in April our intention was to meet with some of the artists we didn’t catch up with the first time around. One of those artists was Norma Jackson. Norma lives in Duncan, B.C. with her husband Rodney and their cute little pooch. She is an award winning, eclectic, acrylic painter who often incorporates sculpture into her pieces. When she is not working on her own projects she spends time sharing her knowledge and inspiring others to discover their creative potential in various workshops she holds in her studio or takes on the road.

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It was wonderful talking with Norma as she reminded me that when you have an intention for your life you must pursue it no matter how scary it may seem at first. Norma started out like many of us, myself included, speeding down the life long job highway only to discover; “this is not for me!” Not to say that a job doesn’t serve a financial purpose and is even sometimes fulfilling, but this route, from beginning to end, doesn’t suit everyone. I can’t say exactly how Norma came to this crossroads in her life, but perhaps it happened because she was open to the possibilities of what might, and did, cross her path. One day she found herself playing the role of a business executive with little opportunity for creative potential, and the next she was living a creative life painting and sculpting for a marionette company. With the help of a wonderful lady who became her mentor, Norma discovered many things that lay dormant within her and so put herself through many firsts such as painting, sculpting, set design, public speaking, puppeteering, writing, directing and performing to name just a few.

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Eventually Norma found herself in the field of healing, and she discovered the healing properties of creativity, whether from creating for oneself or sharing one’s creativity with others. Norma discovered that it doesn’t matter if we are at the beginning of our life or coming to its end, the power of creativity can heal the smallest or biggest wounds. Her experience and her desire to help others led her and her band of marionette’s to visit people in hospice care, and later she developed a highly effective marionette program for youth contemplating suicide. In her video interview Norma shared with us some heart wrenching stories that left a lump in my throat.

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Often we think of art and creativity in such a limited way; something to be admired or something that only people with excess disposable income can enjoy, either to pay for art school, lessons or just to purchase someone’s creative accomplishments. Norma is one artist, of many I’m sure, who have taken the merits of art to another dimension in society and as Norma says, “art is the life’s blood of our society.” Although her hospice work and the youth suicide program have been dismantled because of government funding cuts, her creative endeavours have changed the path of those who were dying by giving them comfort and peace, and to those who wanted to die by giving them a reason to live.

Today, Norma works on her own art and with great insight and a deep connection to her surroundings wherever she finds herself and with whomever she meets. She is interested in people, rituals, nature, abstract and just about anything that her open mind welcomes in. I was fascinated to hear her story and what led her to where she is today. These are the stories that keep me going in my life when the demon of doubt sometimes shows up unexpectedly. Perhaps they may do the same for you.

Please join us as Norma shares her journey by way of living a creative life. We love to hear from you so please leave a comment and share on social media. Thanks.