home away from home

I write this as I lounge in the comforts of my guru's quaint home in false creek, just moments away from granville island where I have had the pleasure opening the doors daily of his baby "forge and form" his gold and silversmithing workshop in the big wild hippie city of Vancouver

it's where I began the delicate art of mixing gold alloys and learning the traditional methods of goldsmithing and silversmithing (catch the full story here)

Jürgen is authentic, kind, and a generous human, and he happens to be the second person (my husband is the first) that believes in me, embraces me with the most trusting open heart and encourages me to bloom like the wildest flower. his encouragement is the kind that resulted in entrusting me with his workshop, a gesture that speaks volumes 

these past few weeks I've encountered so many faces from all over the world, experiences and delightful memories that its simply overwhelming and I can't even begin to share my stories!

I invite you to contribute to that smile on my face and that happiness in yours, and come for a little visit on the island! share with me your love for jewellery, lets have a coffee and lets design something awesome for your body

soaking up every minute of this most enchanting experience ♥

xo O

a diamond in the rough

they say a diamond is a girls best friend ...

in my world, it's my guru that gifted me this raw diamond, and my darling bilic that gifted me this gold

together I am bound by this exquisite creation of immeasurable love; and to top it off .. I made her! 100% all me ~ that is the greatest gift of all, creating something magnificent from raw materials gifted and wholeheartedly made with love xo

for my birthday, jurgen gifted me a shimmering piece of mother nature's raw goodness, this 1.2 carat raw canadian fire yellow diamond

I poured my 17g ingot of 750 dark yellow gold with bilics gift of gold, and asked Jurgen to create a beautiful ring for me; he suggested I make her myself - I giggled yet was flabbergasted as he was damn serious! after the rush of christmas events, shows and darling custom orders, the holidays were a success and the new year began with my gift to me: in the seat of the student learning the delicate robust art of forging this beauty!

a true blessing and an honor to learn this tension setting technique which originated in germany in the late 70's. an approximate 10,000-12,000 psi (pounds per square inch) pressure is literally holding (pinching) this diamond in place. 16 hours of damn fucking awesomeness with (of course) the fortunate guidance by my guru

featuring a 1.2 carat raw canadian fire yellow diamond held by a 750 (18 karat) 4.2mm thick dark yellow solid gold band

2017 is flourishing with delicious love, xo O

give love & receive love ♥

since 2011
the tradition of creating a special limited edition christmas ornament continues

this season I present to you mr. moose, my most darling dude ornament!
welcome to this year's holiday collection mr. moosey, I am certain your sweet sparkle shall brighten each tree you'll adorn ♥

as a token of gratitude and pure love, during the month of december I am delighted to gift one mr. moose ornament with each piece of jewellery purchased* only from the two ever so fabulous and exquisite Craft Council of British Columbia galleries: crafthouse gallery (granville island) and crafthouse gallery (YVR) locations. (*not one per customer, but per piece!)

happy shopping my friends and merry merry christmas! LOVING you all from my heart to yours xo O

once a year

in the fall of 2013 I took an immersion blacksmithing course at my local village forgery .. this day introduced me to the 3000 year old traditional technique of hard core dirty down right blacksmithing!

I heated steel using a coal fueled forge; hammered, tapered, twisted and anvil'ed the crap out of them, then quench hardened and tempered each piece, and formed a fabulous series of tools for my trade, one of them being this beauty - my urchin pik:

that holiday season .. my sea urchin cuff was born 

I vow to offer original hand forged pieces and when it comes to the sea urchin cuff I hold her creation deep in my heart. although thru the years she's been replicated, each cuff is unique and authentic - every blow of that hammer creates its own identity made with unfiltered love; no two look alike, feel alike or worn alike .. they are truly one of a kind

a little glimpse of her forging:

once a year another hugs a sweet wrist, those who have them can vouch their love for them .. she may come with a story, but its up to you to give her the journey xo O

XXX

30 years ago, it happen by chance

ok, scratch that ..
I was driving my girlfriend who wanted to sneakily attempt a "drive by" on shelbourne street, where a boy lived that she had a fancy for. as we drove up (there were six boys playing street ball) one of them was bilic. that was thirty years ago this spring. we were pals all summer until he officially asked me out on a date that october. took him another month to finally kiss me.  thirty years ago

I decided to have an excepionally talented and dear fellow artist create a special treasure locket of hers.  this secret locket ring signifies much love, power and diligence with heaps of goddess strength

its the story of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife Faustina the Younger. a Roman coin of a woman is a rare find - its perfect

a woman who was ahead of her time. in the history writings Marcus Aurelius describes her as affectionate, genuine and a brave warrior. he portrayed such love for her and accepted that she was a determined deligent woman. Faustina chose to travel with him to the battlefields and share his hardships, not the norm for noble women of her time.  Fausina's legacy reached as far as to draw attention to injustices against women; empowering and loyal to her tribe. a true warrior

the creation of this locket signify partners in life. one side Marcus Aurelius, whose words of wisdom and actions of strong leadership, still meaningful today; and on the other side Faustina, warrior goddess woman of love, determination and strength

marked with roman numerals XXX
me and bilic thirty years later, longest journey I've ever been on .. who would of thought! xo O

gift of gold

christmas time at our home is sweet, subtle and not big on gift exchanging. we've always been that way; small stocking stuffers, a fist full of divine chocolate, pairing it up with exquisite soul food and the odd surprise of cuban cigars. but 2015 bilic stepped out of the safe box into the wild with an extraordinary gift of one troy ounce of pure gold

I generally take january off the bench so to get mindfully and physically ready for the year; this year my heart was set on stepping it up a notch .. gold is on the menu!

being self taught leaves a lifetime of room for growth, I am beyond grateful to my guru in guiding me deeply in the learning of gold alloys

and so the goldsmith in me ignites!

from left to right are my alloy mixtures
yellow gold (75.0%) aka 18k*
orange red gold (58.5%) aka 14k*
dark yellow gold (58.5%) aka 14k*

(*the common measure reference of gold is in karats, it is roughly 4.2% of pure gold per karat, hence 14k = 58.5%)

three pours formed back to back in one ingot

from left to right:
yellow gold
orange red gold
dark yellow gold

started to mill out that sweet orange red gold first

practice practice practice at turning solid ingots to square then round profiles by some good old fashioned forging and pulling (sweat and grunting is an integral ingredient to this recipe of smithing love!)

me: Jurgen what is the secret to a super high mirror polished piece?
Jurgen: the secret is your trusty hard working hands, good ol' fashioned fine fine eight thou polishing paper and heaps of time time (patient) time

and so it is!

here before you is my very first bangle of orange/red solid gold (aka "rose" but not really rosy more like blood orange with a romantic pink hue) created with the craziest amount of fucking love .. you have absolutely no idea how much love went into this bangle, but you get the drift .. 

some fella's buy jewellery. my fella comes home with pure gold.  I really digg gifts of raw unfiltered love, thank you bilic xo O

dream a little dream

a cozy familiarity I felt when I first stepped into Crafthouse on Granville Island many years back, a quaint space where all that is made with local hands and local love is curated. a powerful feeling envelopes me as I know each piece is made with the utmost care paired with magnificent stories. I get a sense of excitement, which enthusiasm drives my curiosity, which powers endeavours, which fosters my growth

what was once a nonchalant breeze of imagination, has grown into a reality. not knowing then that I would pour my heart in this passionate trade for many years and devour it dearly to muster up the balls and submit an application to this distinguished council

my heart sings! I am delighted to share and feeling quite honoured to be an artist accepted and recognized by the Craft Council of British Columbia and proudly sitting in their display at Crafthouse is my hard loved playful work

it doesn't hurt to dream, but when ambitions become reality the feeling is riculously grateful as I witness myself grow into this little dream xo O

 

(my delicious primitive choker and wild reticulated moon pendant is part of a collection of pieces showcased in Crafthouse; please take a trip into the infamous Granville Island and enjoy all that is made with love by impeccable british columbian artists)

THIS PIECE IS SOLD & PROUDLY ADORNING A TORONTONIAN'S GORGEOUS NECK XO

enough

every so often I get little reminders from Bilic (that's my awe-inspiring dude) today's little nudge was "all I need is enough" 

the crazy thing was back in the spring time I was approached by jason weisgerber author and founder of the enoughness sessions, jason's belief is that a full life includes the right mix of personal peace, self expression and measured accomplishment, he collaborated with sixty individuals to dig deep and express why they feel their life is fulfilled/enough; and here is my sweet sixty seconds of pleasureable unapologetic fame

I consider myself a pretty laid back groovy kinda gal, but I too have days that overwhelm me, perhaps feel off my game, maybe a little shaken and stirred, kinda losing my marbles .. 

I play this little diddy and I'm back where I belong.  I have enough xo O

stay the course

I once asked my dad, "if you had to live your life over again what would you change?"  "I would make the same mistakes, only sooner" he said. 

I am that kind of person that looks back, observes where I came from, analyzes my mistakes, critiques my judgements, mulls over situations and scenarios, and plays over conversations.  is that any way to create harmony? no. will it change anything? nope. does it make for a good productive life? absolutely not!

so here I sit in the heat of a holiday rush contemplating some choices I've made, why? because I allowed others to plant one too many tiny seeds in my mind. thankfully I grounded my soul with the delectable taste of espresso, walks in the woods and my love reminding me of our most imperative rules in our little world; why look back when all you need is right in front of you, stay the course he says, stay the course!

I am on track with passion in my veins fuelling my authenticity

driving ms oats.jpg

lets get out of that crazy back seat and jump in the drivers seat that's been hollering your name, me n' ms Oats will lead the way

we all yearn for it, we may not all find it but if you dig a little deeper, you will unveil what thrives in your soul and never lose sight of reminding yourself to stay the course 

xo O

are you my guru?

you may have caught the odd emphasis here and there of a teeny (big) mention about a master goldsmith, Jurgen Schonheit of forge and form on granville island, vancouver that I've taken a shine to? he is my personal goldsmith that created me and my husband's wedding bands many moons ago. pleasantly for years I visit him to re-brush the finish of our bands and I sneak in the suggestion of apprenticing under him. he normally shrugged it off, maybe threw in a little chuckle like I was on drugs. up until this year, he bit the love bait (must of been that charismatic charm I ooze!) and genuinely offered to teach me the craft of silversmithing (hand forging silver into cutlery, bowls) from a freshly poured silver ingot forged into the final piece.

since the start of that guidance I have moved into his heart as he has in mine, I travel many miles from fort langley to granville island to spend this cherished time with him,  it began as a once a week little gig and it has thrived into a regiment of even three times a week, and now bloomed into learning the phenomenal craft of goldsmithing to a deeper level. he is my master. the gratitude I have for this incredible human is immeasurable.

I once asked him "why me Jurgen? I've never gone to school or studied this, I'm just self taught" he looked at me and said "your husband never went to school to be a builder, yet he single-handedly built your home; you need not have to school yourself into a skill or profession, the only qualities you necessarily need is the passion and yearning for it. I have had hundreds of students enter thru my doors to be an apprentice, and none held the gleam in their eyes and the passion in their heart as you have olympia, that is why you are welcomed here" well that made my heart swell with gratitude and then some!  

when Jurgen was 14 he enrolled in the goldsmithing trade in Germany, he carried on into Sweden to hone his craft of silversmithing, fourteen years old. fourteen! he only chose goldsmithing as his mother promised to pay for his driving school if he graduated as a goldsmith. when he sat in his classroom that first day of school, his master said "before you begin to learn the art of making jewelry you first must make your own tools" and that's how the story goes. 25,000 hours later, he has earned his master goldsmith credential honorably, and undeniably one of the best using old world goldsmithing techniques.

my time with him is precious, I listen I ask I learn I do and in between we giggle, we eat (we eat a lot!) we tell stories and we kiss kiss hello and kiss kiss goodbye. I am blessed to have him in my world. I may never be a master goldsmith but I am honored to have the best one in my life.

they say you never look for your guru. when you are ready, your guru finds you.

miracles do happen xo O

power of art

I am the daughter of immigrant parents, at the start of my life we lived in Montreal modestly and quietly, our funds were of little amount therefore arts and crafts was out of the question. one of my favorite past times was drawing birds, horses and flowers in the tiny corners of my school note books. my folks refused to believe that their daughter was going to express art as a means of talent let alone a career. they were passionate Greek parents with visons of success as a doctor or a lawyer. but drawing was the way I communicated and the way I expressed myself, its what inspired me, it was my language; nobody listened or recognized my skill, they just reprimanded me for making a mess of my schoolbooks. inevitably it had to stop

fast forward to my mid thirties, after heaps of years in the perpetual battle of the concrete jungle in the oil and gas industry, I unleashed my freelancing craft of metalsmithing, where did this talent bloom from?

it ignited from within. it never left me. I create all which inspires my soul, my mind and all that radiates my heart out of silver and gold

flashback to my favorite intricate drawing, this majestic arabian horse (pointillism sketch) 

although my passion was sketching everything I desired, the power of art aligned my journey and lead me in this destination of creating art from precious metal. I no longer sketch rather free handedly create my goldsmithing techniques on a sweet whim; creativity stayed within and continually stews into some delicious pieces daily xo O

inspired honey

that time bilic decided to make me a ring

it was seven years ago, I tossed around some new ideas and creating silver beads was new to me, but I gave it a swanky try. this was when my shop was in an old barn, I shared space with raccoons, rats, bats and bilic with his dirty mechanical seal days. we worked side by side in this dingy cold barn, he watched and gave me pointers. I created. then he surprised me one day with this ring made of domed copper halves forming a bead and outlined it with silver rods. one may think he inspires me, clearly I inspired him

clever, cool and original. I would refrain from recreating it, but he might if you asked sweetly :)

xo O

oh hello, I love you!

there are best friends and then there's this fella; bear bear, my salt of the earth 

there comes a time in your life when you settle into your skin and feel good about where your heart is and where your mind relaxes. the past few years I have found it nestling more in the little things that make my heart sing. we have three dogs, (bella, bruno & bear bear) this snout belongs to the kindest soul you'll meet by far and the rock that lands at my feet when I'm at my bench pulling those delicious late nights. his loyalty surpasses many humans I know and he expects nothing but honors me with his presence. 'my work is inspired by my surroundings' most artists claim; my surroundings don't stop at the wild forest, the chickens, the flowers and boulders rather they go beyond that to my precious dogs that bind the love in my heart which inevitably reflects into my pieces

I invite you to tap into my journey and encounter little nuggets of what truly transpires in my world and at my bench; you will enjoy the tidbits and processes of what this incredible craft has to unveil. brought to you with love from my bench to your heart

xo O