Gentlemoon Metals began in a garage in Minnesota 30 years ago when Tom Coyle discovered the alluring glow of molten metal.
A former psychologist, he became a self-taught jeweller & sculptor going to the University of Trial & Error and later graduating from the School of Hard Knocks. Tom migrated to the Kootenays where he met his wife, Karen Wynn Dubord who was a talented artist in her own right.
Together, they fused their skills, different strengths & artistic approaches to form an exciting new Gentlemoon Metals. They are both inspired by nature’s grace, beauty & dazzling array of colours.
Natural scenes, including animals and sea life, are common themes in their work Their unique metal sculptures are displayed and sold in fine galleries in the United States and Canada.
Gloria Macarenko, CBC B.C. Almanac interviews Sue Hayes of Side Street Studio. 14th December 2016. Sue talks about the studio of 32 years and our 300 + local artists. They discuss ideas for holiday gifts - with a focus on the beautiful work that is hand made, locally here in B.C.
Listen now to the interview
Carolyn and Anthony Green who had a vision, a dream, and determination to create a unique and classy jewelry company founded Flame Work Designs in 2005.
Flame Work's main designers Carolyn and Anthony work exclusively designing the glasswork individually creating each piece of glass from start to finish with perfection and assembles all of their jewelry in their home studio in Victoria, BC.
Flame Work Designs Carolyn and Anthony are inspired by their customers and continue to appreciate all the support and enthusiasm they receive. They strive to provide women with that added touch of flair that gives them confidence and the compliments they deserve.
With each new line, Flame Work Designs reinvents itself, adopting the latest styles and setting new trends. Customers have come to count on Flame Work Designs as a company dedicated to creating jewelry that is enjoyable, affordable, and compliment guaranteed!
They begin the process of Lamp-working by fusing rods of glass around a tool called a mandrel in front of a heat intensive flame of 2000ºF. Each bead is individually created one at a time to ensure quality. Maintaining a hot enough temperature at all times is crucial when creating a bead. If the bead is held away from the flame for more than fifteen seconds the glass can shatter.
Once you start a bead you must give it 100% of your attention until you have completed your creation. Every bead is carefully sculpted freehand to ensure that each bead is unique and individual. All of our work is kiln annealed and carefully cooled down over several hours.
Annealing is the process of slowly lowering the temperature surrounding the piece so that it doesn't stress the glass and cause fracturing. This process, although very time consuming, is a very important step to assuring that you will receive the highest quality piece.
We are writing this article to ask you to please consider supporting these wonderful B.C. Artists and other local businesses before you spend all of your Christmas shopping budget at big box stores.
We believe that one way you can help is to consider buying locally produced goods and services. Below is a short list of reasons to support local, handmade goods.
1. Locally crafted work is unique! Unlike items made in a far off factory; local crafts people make work that is individual and one-of-a-kind. This does not just apply to a magnificent vase or a glass bowl. Even with a humble coffee mug, every piece has a very slight difference. When just one person or a husband & wife team makes an item the numbers are by the nature of the process – small. It’s great to have or give as a gift something that is genuinely unique and locally made.
2. Local artists produce work of excellent quality. They always take personal pride in their handmade work. I have yet to meet an artist who was not passionate about their work! From potters to glass artists to textile makers – this is their life and they are justly proud of their work. If treated well, much of this work can last a lifetime. How many things can you say that about in our society today? How many of those ‘bargain’ mass produced items last more than a few years?
3. Save money! Contrary to what some people believe, buying directly from the artist at a craft fair, market, or their local studio can often cost less than buying a mass produced item from a department store. Reduced transportation costs, no middle men, and modest advertising budgets help to keep costs down.
4. Local artists do really care about customer service! The artists are available to repair, alter, clean or replace your purchase if you should ever need this service. They are genuinely interested to help if there is ever a problem. You never, ever need to speak with a remote customer service person.
5. Personal service is very important to local artists. Many artists will custom make work to your specification. If you need a gift for a special occasion then very often the artist will be happy to make it to your requirements.
6. You can start your own personal art collection with a small budget. We recently had a nice young couple visit our Studio to purchase some Robert Held glass heart paperweights (which start at $45). They were glass heart collectors – and were excited to see some new styles that they could add to their collection! If you are on a budget you can collect individual pieces over time. Many of our customers collect pottery, jewellery, glass art & more!
7. Shopping locally helps your local economy. By supporting local artists it keeps money in the community and ensures that hard learned skills are alive for future generations.
8. Go green and help your local environment! Local arts & crafts produce a minimal carbon footprint – little transportation is involved. Conservation is important to all of us. Much of what local artists use is recycled – including what little packaging is ever used!
9. Fun and Learning. It really can be a fun shopping experience – you get to meet or learn about the artist, find out about their skills, and how they make their work. It’s impressive how much time and effort goes into a single piece. So take some time to visit your local artist’s studio or gallery, or local craft show. It can be great fun! You can check Meetup.com for local art appreciation groups in your area. If you are in Victoria there is an arts & crafts meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/Meetup-art-group-of-Victoria-BC/ The Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria is a great resource as well: http://www.cacgv.ca/
10. Supporting your local community. A locally handmade gift reflects the community and region in which it was made. It has greater relevance for the person who purchased it, and to the person to whom the gift is given. Thank you for taking the time to read our top ten reasons to shop local this Christmas. We would love to hear from you! What will you do to support local this holiday season? Finally, if you would like some suggestions or gift ideas please see our blog here; Gift Suggestions.
If you are short on time, then you can 'Buy on Line' and 'Pick up in Store'.
Please share with us in the comments below. From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Sue & Nigel Hayes
Side Street Studio has been voted into the Top 10 for Best BC place for Themed Gifts by B.C. Magazine. With over 320 local BC artists we are really happy to be included in this article!
You can see B C Magazine's article here http://www.bcmag.ca/10-BC-Themed-Gifts
Darcy Epp began her pottery career in 1993 by taking night classes with a studio potter. She immediately realized that working with the magic of clay on the potter's wheel and individual hand sculpting was something that would be immensely fulfilling.
She has taken many workshops in both functional and decorative pieces at North Island College and Metchosin International School of the Arts, as well as specialized workshops and seminars from Gordon Hutchens (Denman Island), Siegele and Haley (Arkansas), Alan Burgess (Courtenay)..
Not limiting herself to one medium, she has learned and crosses over between traditional thrown pottery to slab work, Raku and porcelain, often incorporating the theory of one discipline to another.
A passion for nature and ocean themes, her attention to the intricate details of Orcas, Starfish, and Maple leaves has earned her pottery prominence in some of the most exclusive resort destinations venues.
Raku is an ancient type of Japanese firing dating back to the 16th century. Beautiful iridescent blues, violets, copper and crackle glazes are produced on either wheel thrown or sculptural pottery.
The pottery is fired to 1800° and then "reduced" in a chamber which catches fire immediately. The fire uses up all the oxygen in both glaze and chamber, thus producing one of a kind results.
Darcy's Raku kiln designed by Randy Brodnax who lives in Texas and still teaches pottery. Randy brought the kiln up to Metchosin and gave Raku lessons and left the kiln behind as it had to welded on site after he brought it up. Darcy bought the kiln from Sandra Dolph bought the kiln home to her studio in beautiful Black Creek on Vancouver Island
Jennifer Miller is the owner and designer of Uniacke Designs and her wok has been seen on Good Morning America and worn by Hoda!
She is a direct descendant of James Boyle Uniacke, the first Premier of Nova Scotia, Canada, during the 19th Century - hence the name Uniacke Designs. The name Uniacke dates back to the Strongbow Invasion of Ireland during the 11th Century. Originally the name was "Unicus Est" meaning "the only one". Over time the name changed to Uniacke.
Jennifer has always lived in Victoria. She has always had a strong love of animals, particularly horses. Since about the age of ten she has trained and very successfully shown horses, both her own and other peoples'. Jennifer's sharp attention to the many complex details involved with successfully showing horses has enabled her to focus her creative energy on designing jewelry -her other passion.
Her inspirations for the colour in her designs are drawn from current fashion trends and the unique and natural landscape that she is surrounded by in the lovely "city of gardens", Victoria, British Columbia.
To create the unique pieces, Jennifer uses a combination of colours, shapes and textures, utilising precious metals, either sterling silver or gold, semi-precious gems and stones, freshwater pearls and other natural materials. Each piece of jewellery is made by the designer herself using proven techniques to further enhance the jewellery that she makes. Jennifer's goal is to continue designing and creating beautiful and unique jewellery for women who love to express their own individual sense of fashion, personality and character.
In April 2010 Jennifer's work was shown on Good Morning America. Hoda was wearing one of Jennifer's magnificent bracelets and speaking to Kathie Lee about the superb jewellery.