Every month we introduce you to one of the 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.

BIOPHILIA - Featured Artist : Caroline Arbour of SCARO

July 31, 2018

Brilliant, brave and strong - Caroline Arbour is inspired by not just the appearance of the beetle, but also by what it has represented throughout history. Fascinated by their agility, their colours and their anatomy these creatures have come to play a creative role in Caroline’s life and work that is both mystical and mythical.

Caroline Arbour of SCARO

“As a contemporary jeweler, the beetle is my alter ego. As an artist, I am sensitive to my surroundings and fragile at times. And as a businesswoman, I have little room for this sensitivity. The beetle’s shell is mine and it protects me. The beetle’s shell does not prevent it from shining, from being proud and hardworking.”

Q: What is your origin story?

There are moments that change our lives. One such moment was my discovery of the beetle, the coleopterous insect that took an unlikely place in my life. Even my business is no exception and is called SCARO, a combination of scarab and Caroline. I was studying jewelry-making at the Pavillon technique in Quebec City when I spotted this extraordinary creature. On a beautiful summer day, I saw a beetle walking calmly along the hot asphalt. Fascinated by its agility, I stopped the car that was about to run it over. I bent down to pick up this long-horned beetle, hid it in the palm of my hand and observed it for several minutes. Brown in texture with motifs, somewhat shiny, brave and strong. From then on, the jewelry I sculpted would be in the form of beetles. It is more than just a simple fascination; I grew to respect this mythical and mystical insect. As a contemporary jeweler, the beetle is my alter ego. As an artist, I am sensitive to my surroundings and fragile at times. The beetle’s shell is mine and it protects me. The beetle’s shell does not prevent it from shining, from being proud and hardworking. Like the beetle, when I am confident, I break out of my shell and spread my wings. This is when I may seem a little clumsy and maybe even a bit loud, like the beetle who, while flying, notices the buzzing sound of his wings beating against his shell. But he keeps going and manages to reach his target. That's the image of a beetle flying free! Since 1998, the beetle has followed me everywhere…I have even tattooed it on my skin! Every day I sculpt, shape and polish them and insert precious stones. Each day I wear it proudly as one of my creations. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Genuine beetle elytra.

Q: How did you first get started making jewellery?

When I was young, one night I dreamed about making jewelry. I was already a very creative kid but from that night, I knew that this was my destiny to create jewelry and it was going to be my way to express myself to the world.

Q: Tell us about your work process - what materials and processes do you favour?

SCARO jewelry is entirely handmade in Quebec in my workshop in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. To obtain the desired effects, I work my metals using one or both of the following traditional techniques:
Lost Wax: Using this technique, I create complex shapes and volumes. Skilled in sculpture, I favour this technique to sculpt beetle’s bodies, but also to produce very detailed rings and bangles. Pendants, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry can also be made using this thousand-year-old technique.
Directly in the metal: Using a nugget, I create an ingot that I will transform into a plaque or a thread of different thicknesses. I use this technique for many of my creations. This method requires many tools and a lot of patience and dexterity. I also regularly combine these two techniques to make a single item of jewelry, such as my beetles, where the legs and setting are made in the metal itself and the body is made in lost wax.

Galuchat Necklace - Stingray leather is fascinating in its great beauty and toughness - a mix of force and elegance.

Q: What do you think makes your work unique?

My emblem, the beetle. For SCARO, the beetle is a good-luck charm. It symbolizes inner strength, with its shell serving as a protector and invoking courage. The insertion of genuine beetle elytra with iridescent highlights in SCARO’s jewellery adds a touch of real magic. I hope that my creations will bring strength and happiness. As for a good-luck charm, I mould my beetles so that each of them envelops beauty, courage and abundance for those who wear them. SCARO is more than jewelry – it is also an emotion to be worn…

Q: Where do you gather inspiration?

With my sharp eye and endlessly renewed inspiration, I harness the fragile, poetic beauty of my surroundings. While insects are the focus of my fascination with living beings, I also see beauty in the variegated textures of plant life that I transform, through filing, moulding and welding, into jewellery or works of art, forged in precious metals. I really enjoy playing with contrasts, mixing smooth, round pearls with rougher materials and textures.

Caroline hand-sculpting a beetle ring.

Q: What artists have inspired you the most - who do you look up to?

I am fascinated by the extravagance of haute couture and the excesses the fashion world indulges in. I like free, strong and daring spirits like Jean-Paul Gaultier who is a passionate and uncompromising being. I always admired as well the work of Boucheron and Lalique who are significant sources of inspiration for me.

The studio where SCARO jewellery is created.

Q: What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from working in the industry?

Don’t follow the trends, trust your own instinct.

Q: What tips do you have for aspiring designers?

Always remains authentic.

Q: Do you have a motto or a credo - something that defines your work?

Life is more intense and fulfilling when you do not care about what others think.

A big thank you to Caroline for inspiring us with your design journey! Caroline is part of the exhibition "BIOPHILIA: Expressions in Metal", click here to find out more.