Every month we introduce you to one of the Canadian artists we represent. There is no salt and pepper, we reveal the rawest story on our artists' creative journey. How they met and fell in love with jewellery? What inspired them and how? What was the making process like? What are the tips on being a successfully established jewellery artist? Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to stay up to date on our latest collections. Go to INTERVIEW ARCHIVE to read more stories.

PRECIOUS - Featured Artist : Christine Dwane

May 01, 2019

PRECIOUS is an exhibition that asks us to look at the ways in which we covet and desire some things and discard others; the luxurious materials we revere versus those we so easily dispose of. Lawrence Woodford creates what he describes as, metaphysical landscapes - using found synthetic materials and ethically sourced stoned to create sculptural jewellery pieces that are reminiscent of rugged terrains and geological configurations.

The Road to the Cenote / Way Finding Series sterling silver, green quartz, steel
Photo by John Kane Photography

Q: What is your origin story - what do you think sparked your creativity?

My father was a doctor and my mother was a teacher, but both were makers. My father worked with wood mostly, making a lamp, shelves, a rocking-horse, our impressive deck and my mother created all kinds of things, everything from rice-paper lamp shades, quilted blankets, clothes, knitted and crocheted items to painted murals in our bedrooms. I was brought up watching my parents form ideas about what they wanted and needed in the house and then make them real.

Q: How did your journey as an artist and a jeweller begin?

When I was a child, my mother had a friend, Danielle Aird who was married to a goldsmith, Neil Aird. We visited his shop in downtown Kingston where I grew up and it was jewellery like i had never seen before - completely modernw with non-traditional shapes and compositions. I had never known that this type of jewellery could exist; it intrigued me. By the time I was a teenager, I was looking for an extra-curricular activity and Neil recommended a jewellery course at a nearby college. This was my first experience with metal and although I didn't fall in love with it at that time, when I came back to it in my early twenties I was ready to take the plunge and was hooked for life!

Future Primitive / Stick, Stone, Bone / Specimen I sterling silver, composite material, larimar, copper minerals, steel
Photo by John Kane Photography

Q: Why do you think jewellery as a creative medium or means of expression, is an important or relevant one? How does jewellery, in your opinion, differ from other creative forms of expression?

Mediums that are worn on the body seem more personal to me and have a lot to do with self-expression and identity. I see jewellery as a medium that reflects the different facets of ourselves; there is something in the durability of metals and stones that make this artform unique. It can be wrapped up in cultural ideals and prestige, but can also address other issues and open up a discussion when used outside of a conventional context. It is incredibly versatile - the way it is embedded in the cultural evolution of humans leads me to believe that it addresses a primal need of self expression..

Future Primitive I sterling silver, composite material, rose quartz, rope
Photo by John Kane Photography

Q: Where do you find inspiration as an artist?

I find inspiration all around me. For the last several years, my focus has been on what I perceive as metaphysical landscapes. Topography, crystallisation, rock formations are subtly intricate. Protecting the environment is also integral to my process. I see divinity in the earth and that divinity is the biggest source of inspiration. I live in an off grid spiritual community, where the work I produce is made in an ecological studio. Completely solar powered, water from the mountains. It is important to me that my work walks the walk and not only talks the talk, environmentally speaking.

Q: What other artists inspire you?

I have always loved the work of Karl Fritsch, Iris Bodemer and Luzia Vogt. I value and appreciate any artist who is attempting to introduce new aesthetics and questions notions of value. A special mention should be given to Rebecca Hannon who was my studio advisor during grad school, her innovative approach to materials helped inform many of my own material choices.

The Road to Khewra / Way Finding Series sterling silver, composite material, rose quartz, rope
Photo by John Kane Photography

Q: Looking back from your career now, to when you first began - how would you best describe your evolution so far?

Rather than trying to control the materials as I did in the beginning using mostly metals, I now have a more organic approach to materials and allow their qualities be the process as the object becomes manifest.

Q: What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learnt and what advice would you give to artists who are just beginning?

Educate people on your process and engage in dialogue about how jewellery is not simply a strand of pearls or a diamond solitaire. Be strong and confident with the work you are making, in other words be intentional. Make work that you feel strongly about and addresses concerns important to you. It will show in the pieces and galleries will respect that integrity.

Q: What do you hope those who view your work or wear it, take away from that experience?

I would hope that they appreciate how it was made. Not just technically or conceptually, but ethically as well. I would also hope that they feel a sense of transformation / drama when wearing a piece.

Future Primitive / Stick, Stone, Bone / Specimen II sterling silver, composite material, kunzite
Photo by John Kane Photography

Q: Through this exhibition, PRECIOUS, we are asking the question, why do we value some things and so easily dispose of others - an important question when we consider the state of our environment. What role does the environment, consumption or consumerism play in the work you have created?

Well all three of these aspects play a huge role in this body of work. I live ecologically and ethically and this collection was fabricated within that framework. My use of discarded materials and re-purposing them is as a direct response to mass consumerism. I am in love with the idea of gathering scrap steel sheet, raw slabs of stone and cast off composite counter tops and making them into something luxurious.

Q: How do you think we can reconcile the need to create from within an industry that has traditionally relied solely on resource extraction and mining? What role does the environment play, specifically our responsibility as artists to it.

Very important questions. I think it is imperative to use ethically sourced metals and materials. When I was at the Sydney College of Arts in Australia as a guest artist / lecturer I found that it was very easy to have access to ethically sourced metals. I stocked up. I also encourage artists to ask their clients to reuse old metals / jewellery to minimise the impact of extraction and mining. This is one of the reasons I have chosen to mainly use alternate materials that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

The Road to the Cenote / Way Finding Series sterling silver, green quartz, steel
Photo by John Kane Photography

A big thank you to Lawrence for inspiring us with their creative journey and insight! For more examples of Lawrence's work click here. Lawrence Woodford is one of the artists participating in our new exhibition "PRECIOUS", which runs until the end of May - click here to find out more.

18Karat Studio+GalleryARTIST OF THE MONTH - DWANE(2)