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Silver Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments

Stuart Duncan of Wren Silverworks produces some of the finest Silver jewellery on the Pacific Northwest West Coast!

Engraved sterling silver jewellery of animals, birds, flowers and sea life – From herons, whales, cedar trees, frogs, eagles and bears to cherry blossoms.



Realistic designs, specializing in wildlife of the Pacific Northwest including earrings, brooches, pendants and bracelets. Each is individually engraved and highly detailed.



As a child, Stuart was always drawing, deriving inspiration from the natural world around him. His ability to draw the world around him led Stuart into a career as an illustrator. He also co-owned an art gallery for a few years. In the early 90’s he apprenticed with master First Nations silver engraver Harold Alfred.


In 1997, Stuart was inspired to produce a line of jewellery that carves realistic lines onto silver. Wren Silverworks jewellery celebrates of the beauty and strength of nature and our connection to it.


Stuart also continues to draw and paint. He lives, surrounded by wildlife, on the outskirts of Victoria, B.C. 


Wren Silverworks jewellery is individually engraved, each line separately carved, and each open area cut out with a jewellers saw. Every piece is handmade – an individual piece of art. On the back there is a sterling stamp, and the artist’s signature.


The first step is to create a detailed line drawing of a plant or animal. Then, the drawing is transferred onto a flat sheet of sterling silver. 22-gauge silver is used for earrings and brooches and 16 or 18-gauge silver is used for bracelets.


Next, the silver is engraved along the design lines, each line individually carved with a variety of gravers (very sharp chisel points). Using a tiny saw, the silver is cut out, following the periphery of the design as well as cutting out any pieces from inside the design (piercing). The edges are filed to a smooth finish. The piece is shaped: this involves using a hammer to bang the silver from the back into a pre-carved shaping “holes”, giving the flat silver gentle curves. If needed, any findings are soldered on, and it is then polished with a buffing wheel and tripoli (clay) compound. The silver is then washed in an ultrasonic washer, dried, polished with rouge (a finer clay) and washed again.


All  earring hooks and studs, and brooch pins are sterling silver. Chains are also sterling silver. Brooch backs have a locking clasp. Brooches and earrings are made in 22 gauge silver, and bracelets in 16 gauge and 18 gauge silver.



A World Made By Hand

Wren Silverworks West Coast Jewellery

Posted in bracelets, earrings, gifts, jewellery, kelp, local crafts, necklaces, oak bay, orcas, pendants, shop local, side street studio, silver, silver jewellery, STUART DUNCAN, tree of life, west coast jewellery, wildlife, wolves, wrens

Phil Cottell – A Suggestion for Politicians!

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments

Phil Cottell – A Suggestion for Politicians!

A short time ago Phil was asked to carve, a ‘Talking Stick’ from locally grown Yellow Cedar. This was designed by the excellent & hugely talented Coast Salish artist, Chris Paul, a member of the Tsartlip nation. Once finished the design will show the head of an Owl – expounding wisdom one can hope….

A ‘Talking Stick’ has traditionally been used by First Nations to pass around from member to member allowing only the person who is holding the stick to speak. This enables all those present at a council meeting to be heard; consensus can force the stick to move along to assure that the “long winded” don’t dominate the discussion; and the person holding the stick may allow others to interject.

And so we come to our two main suggestions: Firstly, that a ‘Talking Stick’ be part of all Provincial and Federal Government meetings and limited to a speaking time of 10 minutes. Some hope! Perhaps we could produce a list of societies, organizations, clubs, mainstream media (or specific individuals) that could benefit from the introduction of a ‘Talking Stick’….Some chance!
Secondly, that a revised form of ‘Talking Stick’ be introduced which discourages speakers from proposing the usual inane nonsense, well beloved by politicians of all parties. This could be called the B….. Stick – no; good manners prevents further discussion.

So on to Philip Cottell; Phil was born at Ladysmith, Vancouver Island. After completing a doctorate at Yale (Phil denies being a member of the Skull & Bones fraternity and so was denied the pleasure of meeting the former President of the US, Mr. George H. W. Bush) he returned to his native B.C. to take up a professorship at UBC. With time spent working in forestry and wood products research, retirement beckoned. Phil returned to the Island in 1997 and with great enthusiasm and skill began devoting his time to woodturning.

From the following images you can see shelves of various woods ‘seasoning or drying prior to being turned. Phil particularly enjoys creating beautiful as well as useful objects, utilizing salvaged wood from local trees — maple, arbutus, dogwood, cedar and others.

Many of these pieces are allowed to dry for up to 3 years before being turned.


Phil’s subjects range from organic burl bowls,  salad bowls and sculptural vessels to coloured, wall-hung plaques that take their cues from the wood grain and figure.
As with many local artists, Phil strongly believes in conservation of our resources.


You can find lots of Phil’s magnificent work at Side Street Studio  in Oak Bay Village or on line at 



A World Made By Hand


Posted in Coast Salish, first nations, fruit bowl, local crafts, maple bowls, oak bay, owls, PHIL COTTELL, salad bowls, shop local, talking stick, Tsartlip nation, wedding gifts, wooden bowls

Art that is Genuinely Beautiful and Practical

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments

Just occasionally an artist’s work is both genuinely beautiful and practical. And this is the case where Wray Parson’s work is concerned.


For over 30 years, Wray has been making magnificent tools for all needle craft artists. He originally began turning wood when making toys for his children and after an early career in corporate banking focused all of his time in developing his micro-wood-turning techniques.


For 7 years Wray worked at Coombes Emporium, Parksville and then as his reputation began to grow he started working from a new studio built in his home.

The tools that Wray crafts are acknowledged to be amongst the world’s finest. They are heritage items designed to be family heirlooms, passed from generation to generation.


Wray’s scissors are made in Italy from Italian steel and are reputed to be the best that you can find.

Using 4 woods ranging from African Zebrano (Zebra-wood) to Pacific Yew to Yellow Cedar Burl to Cocobolo Rosewood, Wray makes a range of instruments.


Needle Holders, Scissors holders (inc. scissors), Thimble holders crafted in various forms, measuring tapes that roll back into Zebra wood holder, needle holders and sewing holders that use rare earth magnets – strong enough to lift a car! Seam rippers turned in Rosewood designed to last more than one lifetime.

Pen & Pencil Set

In addition, miniature vases in a variety of woods including Maple, Yew, Oak Burl and Laburnum are turned in Wray’s studio.



Wray lives in Qualicum Beach, B. C. Canada.

A World Made By Hand

wray parsons pnes, sewing, scissors, magnifying glasses

Posted in Canadian Gifts, drawing, knitting, local crafts, magnifying glass, needlework, oak bay, pen & pencil set, pencils, pin cushons, rug making, scissors, seam ripper, seam rippers, sewing, shop local, side street studio, sketch pencils, tape measure, tape measures, wedding gifts, wray parsons


Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments

With these bright clear days Diane Piercy's  fused glass window displays will bring a burst of colour to any room in your home. Diane creates a huge range of Glass Hangings from Poppies, Orca’s, Sail Boats, Owls, to even Flying Pigs!




Born and raised in Victoria, BC, glass artist Diane Piercy creates eye-catching and original fused glass art called Sassy Glass. She learned her craft and developed her own unique style on Saltspring Island, where she lived and raised her two children from 1992 to 2003.


Now, back in her Victoria studio, Diane first sketches her designs, then draws and cuts each piece of glass used in her creations. The pieces are then meticulously assembled, and finally fused, or melted in the kiln.


Diane is inspired by both the beauty and whimsy in everyday life, and she hopes her work will brighten your window and add a smile to your day!


You can more of Diane’s beautiful work (including the Flying Pig) at


Posted in diane piercy, flying pigs, hanging glass, local crafts, oak bay, shop local, stained glass, wedding gifts

JESSIE PHOENIX – Expanding the Concept of Jewelry

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments



My work expands the concept of jewelry as simple adornment to one that encompasses self-expression and purpose.


All things worn can have meaning. We need meaning to fulfill life and create balance, both within, and between, the individual, the community, and the natural world. Jewelry, when created and worn with intention has the ability to empower and connect us with our deeper selves.


Creating unique jewelry that encourages people’s individuality and connection to truth, nature and beauty is what guides my innovation and fuels my creative fire.

Originally from the islands of BC’s West Coast, I have now returned to my roots in the Comox Valley after some time in the city. I received my diploma in Jewelry Art and Design in 2000 and have since studied at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, as well as with local art teachers.


Jessie Phoenix Jewelry is sold in Side Street Studio, Victoria B.C., as well as at select craft shows. Along with being featured in The Georgia Straight and ELLE Canada Magazine, Jessie has also received numerous design awards including an Accessories Designer decoration at Vancouver Fashion Week.

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Posted in bracelets, Canadian Gifts, earrings, elle magazine, gold, jessie turner, local crafts, necklace, oak bay, pendants, shop local, side street studio, silver, The Georgia Strait Magazine, wedding gifts

Beautiful Local Pottery from Victoria

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments

New! Blue Mountain Range. A lovely new Pottey range from  Libby Wray of Victoria B.C.featuring a sweep of blue mountains against a soft palette of green and copper colours that will suit most decors.

Continue Reading →

Posted in butter dishes, casseroles, ceramics, french butter dishes, libby wray, local crafts, oak bay, pottery, shop local, side street studio, tea pots, yarn bowls

Simply the Best Slippers Ever!

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments

Simply the Best Slippers Ever!

Our Padraig slippers  have been hand made in Vancouver, B.C. for over 30 years.

They are simply the warmest and most comfortable slippers that you can buy. Made with a two-layer sole of sheepskin for comfort and leather for wear these slippers are made to last. Strong enough for adults and teens yet soft enough for the smallest baby.

The upper is made from 100 % pure New Zealand wool which is warm yet breathable  – and cool in summer! Padraig slippers conform to the shape of your feet and will stretch a little. Padraig  recommend that for adults you size them snugly.

Padraig babies  and kids sizes come with ties so that they can be sized with extra room for growing feet.

These slippers are hand dyed in small lots with up to four colour combinations, plus natural and solid colours. And….all of Padraig slippers  are machine washable in lukewarm water on a gentle cycle – but must be air dried.

So treat yourself and your family this Fall & Winter – with the finest slippers ever made.  All available at  Side Street Studio


A World Made By Hand

Posted in babies slippers, gifts, hand made wool slippers, ladies slippers, local crafts, mens slippers, new born slippers, oak bay, padraig slippers, shop local, side street studio, womens slippers, wool slippers