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.

Artist of the Month (19): Amy Bond

February 22, 2021

In Amy Bond’s private Toronto glass studio, she plays with fire and colour. Working in traditional methods with a non-conformist approach to glass jewellery design, Bond’s greatest inspiration is her unabashed love of colour. An irreverent sense of humour is apparent in her detailed craftsmanship, honed through decades of experience.

Q: What first interested you in jewellery, what is your origin story?

My mother says, when I was a child, she could never keep enough craft supplies on hand, and for as long as I can remember I’ve always liked to have something in my hands to work on. Many years of beading led to making my own beads in polymer clay. The coloured clay helped develop my sense of colour and inspired a desire for control of the individual design of a bead. In my early teens, I was mesmerized by glasswork at the Corning Museum of Glass. I revelled in the skill of glass blowers at a Vermont studio where I first saw flameworked beads and immediately I knew I had to learn. After taking a few classes and attending a Conference at The Corning Museum of Glass, I was set to study Craft and Design at Sheridan College.

Amy Bond in her studio

In my career I have focused on glass jewellery as I’m drawn to small details and the intimate nature of a piece that can become part of your personality or change your mood when you pick it up. In 2003, I moved to Toronto to join Fishbowl Studio partners Cynthia Archer and Catherine Allen at the newly redeveloped Historic Distillery District. I worked collaboratively, on and off with goldsmith Cynthia Archer for about 6 years gaining a great appreciation for metalwork. I enjoy the process of working collaboratively to realize something elevated by both maker’s skill. Over the next decade, I had several influential studio partners including Jill Cribbin, and Nadia Tasci under the umbrella of TANK Jewelry where we made and sold our work, as well as teaching and hosting many classes and international guest instructors. In 2014, after my second child was born, I moved to a private studio space in my home where I continue to sell work through galleries. During this phase of my life, I also gain much fulfillment from being part of ‘craft night’ evenings with my community of makers and friends where we work on a variety of projects mostly textile based, sharing skills and materials.

Q: What is your process like? Are there any materials or techniques that you favour?

Generally, I begin with an idea for the glass component(s) and the rest of the design is informed by the glass, silver components are designed to be minimal. The main technique I use is called flameworking or lampworking. This is a process where rods of coloured glass are heated using an oxy propane torch flame at over two thousand degrees Celsius. Molten glass is wound around a coated metal rod (mandrel), to create the body of the bead (bead matrix). Once complete, the bead is annealed in a kiln to stabilize the temperature then it is slowly cooled, cleaned and readied for fabrication or metalsmithing. Stringers, murrines, marvering and sculpting make up my physical process. But most of the work is done by movement, heat and gravity.

Finished glass beads waiting to be transformed into earrings

Q: What makes your work/collections unique?⁠

Joyful use of colour, bold shapes and an irreverent sense of humour, showcased by detailed craftsmanship. ⁠

Bond’s personal collection of jewellery created and collected over the years

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Inspiration can come from anywhere, colour and shapes, natural and not, from a drawing or a snippet of conversation. But I find the physical process of making to be when I am most inspired. Glasswork itself is meditative; controlling molten glass, watching it change state, it’s reliably mesmerizing. I feel energized after working at my torch and often walk away with more ideas.

Bond’s most well-loved flameworking tools

Q: What advice would you share with those looking to develop a career in the jewellery industry?

Make time to create things just because you feel like it.

Tassel Pendants by Amy Bond

Q: Who are some other jewellery designers that you admire? What about their work catches your attention?

Erica Bello, is an American jewellery artist whose work I admire. I love the simplicity of the lines and the way Erica beautifully translates familiar shapes. Glass and sculpture artist Amy Lemarie shows such technical and design ability, creating some of the most unique glass I have seen. My former instructor, Kristina Logan, certainly makes this list – her work is exceptional! The aesthetic that Dushka executes is in perfect combination of modern and feminine, not to mention that she is an incredible photographer. Finally, Montreal artist, Aurélie Guillaume. Her work is so fantastical; she creates such exciting contemporary enamel work. One day I would love to own one of her pieces.

Emo Heart Pendants by Amy Bond

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you feel this industry has taught you?

Trust your gut and make work that satisfies you, fulfils you.

Tubes of You Necklace by Amy Bond

Q: What qualities do you hope your audience takes note of in your work? What do you hope seeing your work evokes in your audience?

I hope people see in glass what I see: a chameleon, inextricably woven into our ancient history. Pleasing its bearer. A plaything. Volumes and textures beg to be touched. Layers are revealed as it turns in your hand. I want my work to make you smile and feel joy.

Sucker Rings by Amy Bond

Thank you to Amy Bond, our artist of the month, for graciously answering our questions in relation to her practice, process, and various insights that jewellery has taught her over the years⁠. Visit our gallery to explore her full collection.

18Karat Studio+GalleryARTIST OF THE MONTH-BOND