Every month we introduce you to one of our consignment artists. 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.

Artist of the Month (5): Janis Kerman

June 27, 2017

“It’s the balance, not the symmetry.”

Origin Story

While attending summer camp at the young age of 15 Janis found herself unable to participate in a number of activities due to ongoing knee problems, so instead she spent most of her time at Arts and Crafts. It was here that she was introduced to a beginner’s jewellery class! As soon as she was back home and able, she enrolled in a course at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, then two summer classes at Sheridan College, followed by many more in the US. By her twenties, she was creating and selling her own sterling silver production line of hair ornaments and brooches. Janis had her first solo exhibition at the Canadian Guild of Crafts in 1978, and began collaborating with Nicole Lachapelle two years later on a line of fashion accessories: jewellery, handbags, belts and clothing with handmade metal components.

When Janis’s daughter was born in 1988, she shifted gears from production work to one-of-a-kind pieces made predominantly from precious metals and gemstones. Since then she has successfully made a name for herself among her contemporaries in the US and is currently represented in 24 galleries across the US and Canada! In 2011, Janis and her daughter Erin began Bande des Quatres, a jewellery line inspired by architects, contemporary photographers, the Bauhaus masters, abstract artists and typographers. Their collections are now marketed to fashion and design stores all over the world.

Congratulations to Janis on her recent retrospective and accompanying book publication "Reminiscence | Réminiscence" at The Guild in Montreal!

When asked what makes her work unique in the industry, Janis provided us with some compelling insight. Her design aesthetic has always been based on the simple geometry of the circle, square and triangle, but what makes her pieces unique is her ability to manipulate the same basic geometric elements in endlessly new and interesting ways. Janis prides herself on the timelessness of her designs, and loves seeing older pieces still being worn and relevant today.

So what does it look like to create a piece from beginning to end?

Before reaching for any metal, Janis begins by conceptualizing her pieces with pencil and paper, then she uses scissors and tape to refine the shapes and colour. At one time she worked alone, but as of 1995 she began working with a talented assistant who fully understands her vision and works accordingly. Janis finishes all her pieces by setting the stones and applying any oxidizing or polishing treatments. Each piece passes through her hands to ensure the quality and finish are exactly as she envisioned.



Custom made bracelet covered with cultured Tahitian Keshi pearls.


We asked Janis which craftspeople and designers she admires most. “I have always followed the German and Swiss contemporary jewellery designers”, she says “such as Atelier Zobel, Wilhelm Buchert, Angela Hubel and Georg Spreng to name a few”. Janis also has great love and respect for the excellent craftsmanship of American jewellers Todd Reed, Alishan and Pat Flynn.

For her own work, Janis gathers inspiration from the form, colours and textures of objects both artistic and common: architecture, furniture, paintings, ceramics, fashion… her eye sees and appreciates all these disciplines and translates them into functional and wearable jewellery.

Valuable lessons, advice

As June comes to a close, we leave aspiring designers with some words of wisdom from this month’s featured artist!

“It is most important for someone starting out to understand the market they plan to design for. As a small business owner, it is always necessary to wear many hats - and in today’s day and age, even more so. Being technically proficient and efficient at your craft as well as knowing your way around social media platforms is very important. Be unique and true to what you are making and make the most well-crafted product you possibly can. There is a lot of competition and you need to stand out in the crowd.” - Janis Kerman

Janis believes strongly that each piece leaving her studio should be exceptionally well made and finished exquisitely. The back is always as well finished as the front.

Thank you Janis for your excellent craftsmanship and inspiration!

For more examples of Janis' work click here.