Slashpile Designs Blog
Valentine's guide February 01 2017, 0 Comments
Happy February! Whether you're shopping for your special someone or your best friend, here are some loveable gift ideas for Valentine's day:
Pick out one of our knitted heart necklaces for a cozy spin on the traditional Valentine's heart.
You can never go wrong with red wine, chocolate or diamonds-- same goes for the molecule versions!
Our Lost & Found rings feature reclaimed gemstones to reduce the effects of mining new stones on the environment. Visit Sub Rosa, Freedom Clothing, and Ecotique in Toronto for the best selections of rings.
Pet BFF necklaces are the perfect gift of love for anyone with a fur-baby
In the punny spirit of Valentine's day, give a 1 ct (carrot) diamond ring! Made with reclaimed diamonds, and perfectly special with a sense of humour.
Happy Valentine's Day! xoxo
Right hand ring surprise January 12 2017, 0 Comments
When our grandmother was in palliative care 6 years ago, she showed me and Courtney two diamond rings her father had given her. She told us that "one will be here, and one will be here", pointing to each of us. Unfortunately, after she passed away, we discovered that the ring she was planning to give to me was missing from the hospital.
Yesterday, I went to drop something off at our stone setter, and Courtney told me he had something for me. I recognized it as soon as I saw it-- a beautiful ring inspired by the one that my grandmother would have given me! Turns out my whole family (and even our stone setter) was in on it as a sort of belated 30th birthday surprise! It features a diamond that was reclaimed from another one of my grandmother's rings, and was 3-d modelled and hand-finished by Courtney. It is a super special, gorgeous, sentimental right hand ring that I will always treasure!!
Growing up, Courtney and I had an extremely close relationship with our grandmother, Ruth. She was pretty inspirational, and I think we became artists/designers largely thanks to her.... but more about that in a future blog post :)
Phew! Happy New Year! January 08 2017, 0 Comments
Phew, that holiday season was a whirlwind!
We hope everyone had wonderful festive celebrations with family and friends. Thank you for making our lead-up to Christmas, Chanukah, and the New Year so wonderfully busy! We hope everyone enjoyed their Slashpile-y gifts :)
In addition to filling orders and keeping the stores well-stocked, we also spent most of December moving our home and studio! It's been a long, but exciting process of packing, organizing, re-organizing, painting, etc. We're almost totally set up now, and are so looking forward to working away in the new space!
As we settle into 2017, we are making some changes to the structure of our business. The Courtney half of the Slashpile team is following her passion a little further into a specialized Technical Apparel Design program at the Wilson School of Design, Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver. She has already made some amazing pieces of outdoor gear, and looks forward to an exciting future in that industry. Slashpile has and always will be a collaboration between the two of us, but I, Tara, will be running the day-to day operations of the business on my own for now (well, with the help of Lemmy, the retired racing greyhound). Luckily as twins, we still speak almost everyday, so you will still see the fruits of Courtney's input and ideas in Slashpile jewellery pieces. New ventures will also bring in a new source of inspiration!
Here are just a few cool photos of her achievements so far in technical apparel!
A year in custom projects December 31 2016, 0 Comments
Many of the custom projects we worked on this year!
This year's flu! November 16 2016, 0 Comments
Give someone the flu for the holidays! (well, in jewellery form anyway!) Once you get the virus, you can't get it again, right? The flu microbe mutates every season, and this year it's neon pink!
These cheeky sterling silver necklaces and earrings are hand painted with neon pink enamel and dangle from sterling silver earring hooks.
The pieces are packaged, ready for gift giving in a tin with a clear top and a card where you can write who the gift is to and from. Inside is a black and white image of the virus under a microscope.
Chicken Purse October 23 2016, 0 Comments
Most people who know Courtney and I know that we both have a pretty colourful (and sometimes slightly wacky) style. My signature is my chicken purse. Yes, that's right-- my purse is a rubber chicken, and I think it's great. I have been carrying a chicken purse for over ten years, and have gone through 7 or 8 versions, since they need to be replaced when the rubber gets old and brittle. I have named each one, and I'm always sad when they need to be replaced!
I love how something that is just part of my everyday outfit is kind of weird and funny. But when you look at it, a chicken is actually the perfect shape for a purse. I can fit so much stuff in my purse, and it makes strangers laugh wherever I go!
Fall Lost & Found Rings October 01 2016, 0 Comments
We just launched a new collection of Lost & found Rings, featuring some of our favourite stones that were rescued from the smelter! These rings are entirely handmade, made of gold-plated sterling silver. They are beautiful and eco-friendly!
Behind the Scenes: Two Tone Wedding Band September 21 2016, 0 Comments
We recently had the pleasure of making this lovely white gold and rose gold wedding band! The process was a bit difficult, but in the end, it came out perfectly!
The main challenge was getting the two pieces to fit together perfectly so that the solder would flow evenly to join the two pieces of metal with a perfect seam. It may be hard to tell from the photo, but the joining surface is curved, not flat!! We managed this challenge by 3d modelling the two parts and printing them in wax already in ring form. With some very meticulous hand-finishing, this meant that the surfaces would fit together with extreme accuracy. The soldering still took a while, but the result was successful!
After the two pieces were soldered together, we filed and polished them before adding the hammered texture. Another final polish and voilà!!
Geek-Chic Photoshoot! July 07 2016, 0 Comments
Back in May we had a geek-chic styled photoshoot with all of our nerdy-awesome pieces. We are so happy with the results! Here are our wonderfully professional, super stylish and amazingly geeky photos, along with some behind-the-scenes pictures taken by me!
Photo credit: Ashlea Wessel (www.ashleawessel.com)
Model: Deanne Marsh
Hair and Make-up: Kestra Illiatovitch-Goldman (www.makeupbykestra.net)
Courtney's Adventures Down Under April 02 2016, 0 Comments
You may or may not know that I have been travelling for the past couple of months!
Currently, I'm staying in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, working at Teusner Wines for a season of vintage. It's amazing how similar the experience has been in some ways to a tree planting season!
Vintage is the period of time in which grapes are harvested and processed for fermentation. Starting at the end of the summer (it's autumn now, here in the southern hemisphere!) And going until all the grapes are picked, crushed, juice fermented and pumped through to a tank and then to barrels. It's a very physical job with long hours while it lasts--gotta pick the fruit when it's ready! We are now through the peak of the season, with most of the Shiraz through, but we still have some later ripening varieties like Grenache and Mataro coming into the winery.
I am very much enjoying the job, and with an amazing crew of people to boot! Also looking forward to travelling all around Australia after the work is done!
Below are some photos of my time here so far!
Slashpile has a new best friend! April 02 2016, 0 Comments
I am super excited to announce that I (Tara, half of the Slashpile team) have adopted a retired racing greyhound! His racing name was AceofSpades, but we are calling him Lemmy!
In our excitement and anticipation, we have created our very own custom 3-way dog-human BFF necklace. I thought it would be a perfect welcome home gift, since I know that we're going to be best friends!
More options: what do you want to be when you grow up? March 28 2016, 0 Comments
We have just added a scientist necklace and a writer/author necklace to our "What I Want To Be..." collection! Check them out here: http://slashpiledesigns.com/collections/what-i-want-to-be
If you have any suggestions for more charms or professions, please let us know!
Do you remember your childhood career plans? I bet they were very different from what you actually do now! (or maybe not!) This necklace lets you show off that dream--whether it was to be an astronaut, artist, rockstar, teacher...or something equally exciting!
All of these charms are hand carved in wax and then cast in brass. They hang on an 18" sterling silver ball chain.
Roller Derby Reflections (and jewellery!) February 04 2016, 0 Comments
L: jamming with the Gores last season (photo credit: Joe Mac), R: the whole team after we won 1st place at a tournament in Montreal (photo credit: Canuck Derby TV)
Roller derby has been a huge part of my life, and this is the first time in 6 years (or 7 derby seasons) that I will not be playing. I've been finding myself reflecting on my participation in this awesome sport lately. I'm really missing it, and feeling pretty heartbroken to not be participating this year. I just thought I would share some pictures of me playing, as well as some of the roller-derby-inspired jewellery pieces we've created over the years!
I started playing derby in 2010 for the Derby Debutantes and the Chrome Mollys, and ended up in my permanent home with the Gore-Gore Rollergirls at Toronto Roller Derby, who I skated with for the past 3 seasons. I even had a year and a bit playing for the B travel team, the Bay Street Bruisers until I got a concussion at practice. I decided to stop playing (at least for now), because of a lingering neck injury, as well as general wear and tear issues on my knees, back and hips (did I mention that it's full contact and very hard on the body?!)
Roller derby is a hard-hitting, full contact sport, full of amazing athletes and comradery. It's also a very complex sport, involving a lot of planning, thinking and strategy. I loved being a part of it, and I still plan to be at all the games cheering for my team!
L: Jamming for the Bay Street Bruisers in Baltimore (photo credit: Tyler Shaw) R: Knocked down at a home game (photo credit: Joe Mac)
L: Jamming for the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, R: My skates!
I made my original T-Rex necklace because my roller derby name is Taranosaurus Rex-- so roller derby actually inspired our whole Dino Series, which we now sell in museum gift shops!
We've made lots of roller skate necklaces, many of which were custom stamped with skaters' numbers
We even make a roller derby best friends necklace set, based on the Pivot and Jammer helmet covers.
The next Toronto Roller Derby Game is this Saturday (Feb 6), and you can get tickets here: http://m.bpt.me/event/2492650
Check out www.torontorollerderby.com for future games!
Valentine's Day Preview January 16 2016, 0 Comments
Valentine's Day is a month away, and we have been preparing! Check out our stockists, online store or Etsy shop for some fun, meaningful and clever Valentine's gifts!
Cat-Human Best Friends Necklaces January 06 2016, 0 Comments
We made them for dogs, and now you can get matching necklaces for you and your cat too!
Is your cat your BFF? Why not express that bond with an extra special matching necklace set. These two necklaces fit together.
Round cat pendants are 3/4" in diameter and the cat head silhouette is about 1/2" wide. The necklace comes on an 18" chain. The pieces are saw-pierced, and each set may vary slightly due to the handmade nature of the technique.
This tag is the perfect gift for you and your pet, or for the animal-lover in your life!
Happy New Year! January 01 2016, 0 Comments
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy new year!
Helmut & Hotties December 15 2015, 0 Comments
We had something a little different at our booth at the Parkdale Flea this past weekend! We donated part of our table to Helmut Newton, an internet-famous pug who is using his fame and good looks to support Pugalug Pug Rescue. Support this cause by buying an awesome calendar featuring Helmut posing with 12 male models. Calendars are selling for only $15!
Read more about this project, and purchase a calendar at www.helmutthepug.com
We had a great time hanging out with Christie (Helmut's person) and Helmut all weekend, and we even got a great photo of them modelling our Dog-Human Best Friends necklace set!
Parkdale Flea! December 05 2015, 0 Comments
We had such a great time at the November Parkdale Flea, and we can't wait to get all of our holiday shopping done at the next one! Come visit us at this awesome Market!
Give someone the Flu (necklace)! December 01 2015, 0 Comments
Give someone the flu for the holidays! (well, in jewellery form anyway!) Once you get the virus, you can't get it again, right?
This is our newest cheeky product design. Sterling silver pendant is hand painted with enamel and comes on an 18" chain. The Flu is also available as earrings! This season's flu jewellery is turquoise, but keep in mind that the virus mutates each season-- who knows what colour it will be next year ;)
The Influenza Virus is packaged, ready for gift giving in a tin with a clear top and a card where you can write who the gift is to and from. Inside is a black and white image of the virus under a microscope.
Is your dog you BFF? June 29 2015, 1 Comment
Is your dog your BFF? Why not express that bond with an extra special matching necklace set. These two necklaces fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.
The jump rings on both pieces are soldered closed for extra security, so they won't open during playtime. Round dog pendants are 1" in diameter and pendant on the human necklace is about 1/2" wide. The necklace comes on an 18" chain. The pieces are saw-pierced, and each set may vary slightly due to the handmade nature of the technique.
This set is available with either a heart motif or a bone motif!
This tag is the perfect gift for you and your pet, or for the animal-lover in your life!
Let us know if you'd like to customize the pendant even more by adding a laser-engraved phone number, phrase or image and we can send you a quote!
A plaque for The Journals of Susanna Moodie June 29 2015, 1 Comment
Engagement Ring Renewal (and happy birthday to our awesome mom!) April 27 2015, 1 Comment
A few years ago, our mom lost the diamond in her engagement ring. She thinks it got pulled out by a dog leash somewhere in the park, and was unfortunately never able to find it. For her birthday this year, our dad had us replace it with a new diamond.
The stone we found to replace it is a beautiful blush-coloured diamond, which looks amazing next to the yellow gold of the band and the setting. It was also perfect for her, because she was looking for a diamond that was "a little bit more interesting". Since this stone is bigger than the original diamond, we had to make a new setting that is taller to accommodate the height of the stone. We're pretty happy with how it turned out, and she is excited to be able to wear her engagement ring again!
This was an extra-special and appropriate gift, since the diamond is April's birthstone and our parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last month!
Sand Dollar Teeth April 17 2015, 2 Comments
When Courtney and I were about 5 years old, our family took a trip to Florida and spent tons of time collecting things on the beach. I found some sand dollar teeth, and I thought they were so cool when I learned what they were. I filled a little film container with them and had way too much fun showing them off back home!
On our recent trip to San Francisco, we were walking along the beach and noticed that there were sand dollars everywhere! We searched for some sand dollar teeth to cast and make into jewellery. Not only are these things nostalgic for me, personally, but they are also so interesting! Sand dollars are little sea-urchin type creature that move slowly through the sand on lots of little legs covering their surface. They feed on plankton, and have 5 teeth inside that help them break down the plankton. The white sand dollars that we find washed up on the beach are no longer alive and have been dried out, so all that remains is the skeleton.
I think these animals are SO weird (in a good way), and I think its kind of funny that such a simple, slow creature has teeth (not to mention that the teeth are actually beautiful little objects!)
Here are some of the pieces that we made with castings of sand dollar teeth:
Calculator Word Bracelets March 13 2015, 0 Comments
We have a new product for spring!
Were you ever bored enough in math or science class to type words on your calculator instead of solving the problems? perfect for the studious type and math-class delinquents alike, these bracelets let you share your calculator message with the world.
The numbers are engraved in a calculator font on a brass plate, and you can choose whichever word you want, as long as it can be spelled with upside-down numbers! The chains are brass with black enamel.
Come Eat With Us March 13 2015, 0 Comments
As part of the Crafting Sustainability conference happening this weekend, OCAD University is putting on the exhibition, Come Eat with Us, and invited alumni to submit work for the show. The exhibition will be in The Great Hall at OCADU from March 14th to 20th. The opening with take place on March 14th, from 4:00-6:00pm.
The show is all about sustainability in relationship to craft and food production and consumption. Here is our entry. We can't wait to see it on display with the rest of the exhibition, and all the different takes everyone has on this concept.
Swivel photo locket: sterling silver, liver of sulphur, photo
In an era where sustainability has become a buzz word, it's easy to overlook that sustainability is a concept that applies equally to relationships. From breaking bread with strangers to lunch and coffee meetings, to family dinners, food is an integral part of establishing, maintaining and strengthening our relationships with each other. The people we eat with are a big part of how we experience food. But people in North America are increasingly eating out or on the run. The traditional family dinner is a ritual that many people associate with a simpler time.
This locket, including a photo of our family eating dinner together, is about maintaining relationships with people who are important to us through the ritual of eating together. Although lockets, like the traditional family dinner, also originated from times past, this locket shows that it can be modernized and made just as relevant today as it always was.
Valentine's Puns! February 14 2015, 0 Comments
Happy Valentine's Day!
This is a holiday of love, chocolates, presents, and best of all: PUNS! I love getting cheesy cards with terrible puns, so this year we had a great time making up our own punny images to go with our jewellery pieces. Here are a few of my favourites.
Happy New Year! January 01 2015, 0 Comments
More Holiday Shopping! December 08 2014, 0 Comments
We have been adding more exciting events to our schedule for the holidays, so here is the updated list of where we'll be! Since Slashpile jewellery pieces are all clever and meaningful, they really do make perfect holiday presents. Come visit us at these places and find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list (and don't forget to include yourself on that list!). We also think these are some pretty cool events, so even if you're done your shopping you should come by to say hello and just enjoy!
Pop-Up at Freedom Clothing
Tuesday December 16, 3:00-7:00pm
939 Bloor St W (Bloor and Ossington)
Next Tuesday, we will be having a pop-up event at Freedom Clothing Collective. Freedom Clothing is a fabulous store for local fashion, accessories, housewares and more! Stop by between 3:00 and 7:00pm, and take advantage of 15% off everything in store, including an extra wide selection of Slashpile Designs Jewellery. We will even have some one-of-a-kind samples and never-before seen pieces for sale!
Parkdale Flea Xmas Edition
Weekend of December 20 & 21
1266 Queen St W.
Parkdale Flea Market brings together some of the best and most unique products that Toronto has to offer. Featuring vendors ranging from Antiques, Vintage, Collectables, Local Artisans and Designers, the market showcases impeccable taste!
Food and drink vendors will also be available so come hungry and thirsty! Four legged friends are welcome too!
#localTOmrkt: a holiday market downtown with our city's local goods
December 22-23, 12:00-9:00pm
335 Yonge street, just north of Dundas
A month-long holiday pop-up market in a vacant lot at the shopping core of Toronto. The market will be happening in a large tented space with heating. Featuring a wide variety of local vendors and food trucks, this market offers such a unique shopping experience in a great, convenient location! We will be there on Dec 22, 23 and 24th for your last-minute holiday shopping!
If you can't make it to these events, be sure to check out our retailers or we'd love to connect with you online!
Cheers! and Happy holiday season!
Upcoming Holiday Markets! December 01 2014, 0 Comments
After a successful week with the Unwrap Etsy pop up shop at Hunt Club, we're really getting into the thick of the holiday shopping season! We thought this would be the perfect timing to let you know about our upcoming holiday markets!
Uniquely Yours Holiday Market
This coming Saturday, December 6, we will participating in a great event to be held at Lobster Monster, a seafood restaurant with a fun atmosphere, located at Yonge and Lawrence. Come by between 10 and 2, do a little shopping, do a little sampling, enjoy some refreshments and cocktails and make new friends. Hope to see you there!
And don't forget to email RSVP for a free swag bag! first 50 people to RSVP only!
#localTOmrkt: a holiday market downtown with our city's local goods
A month-long holiday pop-up market in a vacant lot at the shopping core of Toronto. Check it out at 335 Yonge street, just north of Dundas. The market will be happening in a large tented space with heating. Featuring a wide variety of local vendors and food trucks, this market offers such a unique shopping experience in a great location. We will be there on Dec 22, 23 and 24th for your last-minute holiday shopping needs!
If you can't make it to these events, be sure to check out our retailers or we'd love to connect with you online!
Cheers! and Happy holiday season!
Slashpile Series, re-launched!! October 09 2014, 0 Comments
Our signature Slashpile Necklace is now available in a new style! Our previous design was an abstraction of the piles of sticks and logs that are so familiar to tree planters. But recently we've been reminiscing about our experiences in the bush. And going over all of these memories has inspired this new, more realistic and rustic version of the token-of-pride necklace.
We carved the Slashpile out of wax and then cast in sterling silver. We then darkened the pendant with a patina to give it that rustic look. The pendant is strung on an 18" oxidized sterling silver chain to match.
While we still love the original design, we feel like this new style connects a bit more with the ruggedness of the experience of tree planting. We hope you like it too! :)
Digging for crystals July 26 2014, 1 Comment
Last week, I was hiking with a friend near Bancroft (the gemstone capital of the world) at a site we had read about that had lots of minerals (apatite, bromite, titanite, calcite...). I didn't know what most of these stones would even look like and didn't think we would actually find anything, but was super excited at the possibility. About an hour into the hike, we came across a pit that looked like people had been digging through and decided to stop and pick through the dirt. I was amazed to see that there were green apatite crystals EVERYWHERE, and collected a little bag full of them. SO exciting! This weekend, I have spent all my free time in the studio making various settings for my favourite pieces and have even gotten a few commissioned necklaces out of it :)
I can't wait to get some of the finished pieces listed on our website and in our Etsy shop!
Wedding Quilt! July 14 2014, 0 Comments
As you may have gathered, Tara and I love making things...not limited to jewellery and silversmithing! Here are some photos of the quilt we made as a wedding present for Blythe and JP. :)
The quilt is made from batik fabrics, which are hand dyed in Indonesia with a wax-resist method. This method creates beautiful subtle patterns. Check out Flare Fabrics to see more of these beautiful fabrics.
We spent many hours making this quilt, from cutting and piecing the fabric for the top (making the pinwheel squares and then joining them together!), putting the back together, securing the layers together (top, batting and backing) and then manoeuvring the entire thing around a sewing machine to do the topstitching and finally adding the red binding!
Blythe & JP's Country Chic Wedding July 11 2014, 0 Comments
Wedding season is in full swing, which means we're just about wrapping up our bridal projects for this summer--but there are still a few more to reveal to you later on...;)
We had the absolute pleasure and honour of making wedding bands for our good friends, Blythe and JP who live in Montreal. Since we live in different cities, the process of making the rings was pretty unique! We had a Skype meeting to discuss design directions and go over sketches and they didn't get to actually see their rings in person until the night before their wedding! Lucky for all us, they fit perfectly!
Blythe's ring features 15 pavé diamonds across the top half of a 1.5mm thick half round band. JP's ring is a simple 3mm wide band ring. Both rings are 14 karat white gold and their fingerprints are engraved on the inside of each other's ring.
Barbara & Duncan married each other all over again --with special custom rings we made for them! July 08 2014, 0 Comments
Barbara & Duncan celebrated their tenth anniversary of their first date by marrying each other all over again with a lovely and romantic ceremony in Big Sur! Following the ceremony, they hiked 12 miles up the local mountains. We made these 18 karat white gold viking style bands for their special day. To read the full story of their second wedding, check out Duncan's blog here!
These pieces were super interesting to work on because they really used such a perfect combination of new technology and traditional jewellery techniques. We first modeled the rings in CAD, without the texture. In this step, we create a file for each ring that is sized to the customer. Each file is 3-D printed in wax and then cast in the metal of choice (18 karat white gold in this case!)
The casting comes back covered in plaster and with a sprue attached, so they require a fair amount of clean up. This is done with very simple hand tools, such as files and sandpaper. We gradually improve the finish, step by step, until we get to 600 grit sandpaper. It gets tumbled to make it shinier and then Tara then applies the texture by hand, using our flex shaft (dremel) with a round bur (like a drill bit with a round top). Each ring is then polished up to perfection!
Here are some process shots!
Bridal Party Jewellery for Joel & Dafna's Wedding June 30 2014, 0 Comments
Joel and Dafna got married on June 8, 2014 and we had the pleasure of working with them to create their bridal party jewellery and their personal jewellery for the day of their wedding. Below, we have created a gallery of the items and a few photos from their special day :)
Spring makes me happy! May 28 2014, 0 Comments
This weather we've been getting has been all over the place (hot hot temperatures, thunderstorms...I never know what it's going to be like the next time I step out the door!) HOWEVER, what's so great about the weather is that it's perfect for kickstarting the growth of all the plants and trees!! This means, I've been spending as much time in the garden as possible and watching it get super lush!!
And with that, I'll leave you with some photos of the wonderful natural things that are happening in the backyard as well as some related Slashpile Designs jewellery pieces! :)
Save 20% on all orders until the end of May! May 07 2014, 1 Comment
We're celebrating the launch of our new website with a sale! Receive 20% off your entire order when you enter the coupon code 321BLASTOFF from now until the end of May!
If you're in Toronto and you're looking for a Mother's Day gift, e-mail us and we can set up a pick up this week!
Start shopping our current collections here!
Snowboarding in Terrace, BC! April 29 2014, 0 Comments
In February of this year, I got the chance to go on an amazing snowboarding trip. After a wonderfully busy holiday season, it was great to be able to take some time away from jewellery-making to do something else that I love--snowboarding!
The trip was a great source of inspiration (you may have seen some jewellery on our Facebook page, made with alder catkins that I found on the mountain!) and I thought it would be cool to share it with you! I'll try to keep my explanation brief...
Dave and I lived in Terrace for a winter a few years back and it was about time we went back to visit all the amazing people we met there. I've also been working on my snowboarding skills, so I was excited to test my skills at Shames Mountain and in the backcountry. We lucked out with amazing and plentiful snow, that came just in time for our arrival!
We started out our trip with a few intensive 'warm up' days at the ski hill. It was lovely to see all the familiar faces and to be snowboarding in familiar territory (I worked at the bar in the lodge when we lived there, so we were literally at the mountain everyday!)
Cool Fact: Shames Mountain is now My Mountain Co-op--Canada's first non-profit ski community co-operative.
We took a few days off riding after our initial shock-to-the-system ski hill days to catch up with friends and prepare for our second week, which we kicked off with a trip to the back country. We spent 2 nights and 3 days in a cabin way up in the mountains. We hiked in with all our gear using split boards (snowboards that split into skis for climbing). I had the best run of my life from up in the alpine, pretty much straight back to the cabin. It was cold but beautiful and sunny and the snow was light and fluffy. We got back to town exhausted, but exhilarated. We spent our last few days in town, at the ski hill and hanging out with friends. Oh yeah--and we also managed to sneak in a trip to Prince Rupert where we went kayaking on the ocean. Thanks to all the wonderful people that hosted us while we were there! What a trip!
Here are some photos:
Roots and Tattoos April 02 2014, 0 Comments
Courtney and I were talking recently about our creative process, and since our conversation, I personally have been thinking a lot about my roots as a silversmith. In 2007, my final year at OCAD, I had to create my jewellery design thesis. This consisted of a body of work that I spent an entire school year developing along with a written component. My thesis project marks the beginning of my independent silver work. It was titled "Personal Trophies", and explored the concept of jewellery telling the story of personal triumph in the life of the wearer. Each piece was composed of two parts; the jewellery piece itself and a clear resin trophy-shaped display stand for the jewellery for when it was not being worn.
The idea was that the jewellery should be intensely personal, and my work kind of combined the nature of a tattoo with the concept of a public award. Tattoo designs usually carry a meaning and proudly declare something about the person, something important enough to ink on their skin forever. They are another form of self-expression, a story to be told. Jewellery can be equally special and important in a similar way (but you can take it off and change it up). More and more, people are finding the need to express the details of their lives to the world (just look at the rise in social media!). Some people do this by inking an image on their body forever, but jewellery can be just as personal and have a similar function. It can also be just as permanent, but much less of a commitment! I personally love tattoos, but can't commit to anything on my body for good... So I'll stick with sharpie tattoos and jewellery :) Trophies and awards are usually very public and recognize people for concrete achievements (like winning a contest or completing a marathon). They are often displayed proudly as tokens of success. In my thesis project, the jewellery pieces relate to something that the wearer is proud of, and give him or her the chance to talk about it. Displaying it as a trophy or award on a shelf celebrates the achievement really clearly!
And there it is: the root of Slashpile Designs, "Jewellery to start a conversation!" We always design with a concept or a story as the basis for our pieces, allowing our customers to start conversations about the things they are proud of or the things that they care about. I should add that Courtney helped me a ton when I was figuring out the concept for my thesis project. It works so well in our business because (while we do have distinctly different strengths and skills) we have such a similar way of working and coming up with ideas. We're looking forward to seeing how our work changes and evolves in the next stages of our business, while still staying true to our roots!
What I want to be when I grow up... February 25 2014, 0 Comments
Do you remember your childhood career plans? They were probably very different from what you actually do now (or maybe not)! This line of necklaces lets wearers show off that dream -- whether it was to be an astronaut, artist, rock star, teacher...or something equally exciting! We have re-designed this line, and are launching a new and improved version of our 'What I want to be...' pieces. Here's the preview! Whimsical brass charms hang on 18" sterling silver ball chains. The line will be in stores for spring 2014, just in time for purchase as graduation gifts. The necklaces retail for $50 each. Etsy listings coming soon!
Slashpile Designs Virtual Shopping Tour - Made You Look December 18 2013, 0 CommentsMade You Look is the final stop in our Virtual Shopping Tour (for this year, anyway!) Located at 1338 Queen Street West, just west of Dufferin, the famous Queen West Store, established in 2001, represents over 100 local Toronto jewellery designers and has become a real hub for the jewellery community in Toronto. Attached to the shop is a large studio where 20, self employed, in-house designers make their jewellery under their own brand names. This means Made You Look Customers can browse a diverse collection of beautiful handmade work and interact with jewellers to consult about custom design and other services. Take a stroll down Queen Street West, and visit the store in Parkdale, one of Toronto’s most unique, diverse and dynamic neighbourhoods and see for yourself the wonderful array of all kinds of jewellery. They offer everything from high end jewellery in precious metals (including wedding and engagement rings) to eclectic fashion, costume and art jewellery. All jewellery in Made You Look is designed and made by local Toronto designers. Here's a video from which you can learn more about Made You Look from owner, Sarah Dougall herself! We absolutely love the store and are so proud to sell our jewellery in Made You Look. Most of our work can be found in a case on the left wall when you walk in. We used to be displayed in the South store, but both stores have been recently combined so all Made You Look jewellery can be found in one convenient location on the North side of Queen St. [gallery ids="2450,2459,2458,2453,2452,2451"]
Slashpile Designs Virtual Shopping Tour - Gallery Catalyst November 07 2013, 0 Comments
Gallery Catalyst is very different from the other stores we sell our work in. The concept is affordable art: every piece is one of a kind, and comes in one of 3 sizes. All pieces of the same size are the same price, whether they were created by an established artist or someone fresh out of school. The idea is to make art collecting affordable and accessible to everyone. Artists featured include Dr. Seuss, Billy dee Williams and Rachel Isadora and up-and-coming artists like Johnathan Ball, Joann Côté and Adrienne Dagg.
The gallery opened in May 2013, and is a great addition to the Queen West strip. The idea was inspired by a gallery the owner visited in Paris, showcasing new and established artist equally. Each artist has their own podium display, with the 3 size options, and prices displayed on the wall. Customers can flip through the variety of paintings, prints, photos, etc, and even get them framed onsite. Slashpile Designs jewellery is displayed inside the gallery, in the cases near the counter, where there is a selection of jewellery for sale by local Toronto artists. Behind the cases are some larger pieces of art, also for sale. Gallery Catalyst also holds art openings and events, and the manager, Kelsey, was telling me about one opening where the artist actually was spontaneously struck by inspiration and actually started unwrapping her paintings and painting over them on the Gallery Catalyst is an exciting new space to check out, great for unique holiday gift ideas. Why not give someone the gift of original art?! Visit their website at http://gallerycatalyst.ca/
Slashpile Designs Virtual Shopping Tour - Flock Boutique November 04 2013, 0 Commentshttp://flockboutique.ca. Flock Boutique loves Canadian handmade - which is why they carry the work of over 160 of Canada's loveliest and most unique designers! They carry dresses & accessories, jewellery (of course!) scarves, mitts, finger puppets & the cutest little alternative baby section you have ever seen. The shop is fresh and fun and the vibe is grown up, work wearable, and ethically made The ladies of Flock also offer classes in sewing, knitting, jewellery-making, and various other crafty pastimes. Christina & Bridget, the duo behind Flock, met 9 years ago around 3am outside in the Byward Market building while they were waiting in a line up to sell their goodies on Canada Day. When the skies darkened and the winds started to pick up, they tied their tents together, thinking the weight would help them out. Instead, they had created a giant sail that had the pair gripping on for dear life while being pelted with hail and watching their handmade goodies slowly making their way into the storm drain! Christina and Bridget decided to open Workshop Boutique (their first store) 6 months later and Flock Boutique 5 years after that. They must be crazy, but they've done a wonderful job on both stores! Always a pleasure to stop by and spend some time looking around whenever we are in Ottawa!! :) Both Flock and Workshop Boutiques carry a wide selection of Slashpile Designs jewellery, so make sure you check them out when you're in town! [gallery ids="2405,2404,2403,2402,2401,2400"]
Slashpile Designs Virtual Shopping Tour – Freedom Clothing Collective October 25 2013, 0 CommentsThe next stop in our virtual shopping tour takes us to Bloor and Ossington, to Freedom Clothing Collective. Freedom is a not for profit organization promoting fashion, art, design and craft. They are located conveniently close to Ossington subway station, at 939 Bloor St West. Freedom sells items by all local Canadian designers, and 75% of their items are made in the GTA. The store has such a cozy, welcoming feel to it and everything inside is beautiful to behold. They sell everything including clothing, jewellery, accessories, soaps and housewares. Even the display units in the store are wonderfully designed refurbished pieces of furniture by Poppyseed Living and are for sale (http://poppyseedliving.blogspot.ca). Together, Jelena from Poppyseed Living and Karen from KooCoo Carillo (http://www.koocoo.ca) run the shop, along with some other collaborators. We have been selling our work in Freedom Clothing for years and love working with them. They currently carry a great selection of our jewellery, including our molecule line, 1 Carrot Diamond Rings, Dino Series and are currently the only retailer of our mismatched shark friend stud earrings.[gallery link="file" ids="2379,2382,2381,2380,2383,2388"] Freedom Clothing Collective is a awesome store to get special, local gifts. There is something unique for everyone (men and women!) and to suit any budget. Happy shopping! View Larger Map
Slashpile Designs Virtual Shopping Tour - Corktown Designs October 20 2013, 0 Comments
Corktown Designs is a fantastic place to find unique and interesting contemporary jewellery. The venue itself is beautiful, with brick walls and glass cases showcasing a huge variety of handcrafted jewellery and accessories, as well as some mass-produced pieces. It is located in Toronto's historic Distillery District, which is a part of the city that is definitely worth visiting! The pedestrian-only village was formerly operating as the Gooderham and Worts Distillery from 1832-1990, which at one point was the largest whiskey and spirits distillery in the world. More recently, the 40 buildings of the old distillery were restored and opened in 2003 as a major tourist attraction, with lots of shops, restaurants, cafes, galleries and artist studios. There are often craft and farmer's markets, festivals as well as music, fashion and art events.Corktown Designs is right in the middle of the distillery district, at 55 Mill Street. The staff are very nice and helpful, and it's a great place to shop for unique and special pieces or even just to browse and look at all the jewellery. The jewellery is separated in the case by designer, and they also carry some accessories, such as unique bags and scarves. Here's a photo of our display, which is located towards the back of the store on the wall to the left of the entrance. This is definitely a great place to check out for holiday shopping, or for something special to wear to all those fancy parties coming up! I hope you enjoy your visits as much as we do!
Slashpile Virtual Shopping Tour October 10 2013, 0 Comments[caption id="attachment_2331" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sneak preview of the first virtual tour through Wise Daughters Craft Market![/caption] With the holiday season soon approaching, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity for us to introduce you to some of the stores that carry our work--there are some really great shops (both local and abroad!) that you might like to visit! Over the next few weeks, we will be creating a series of posts on our blog. Each post will give you a 'virtual tour' of a specific retail store, where you can find Slashpile Designs jewellery, along with many other wonderful things. We'll show you some photos of the shop, introduce you to the staff and let you know about any upcoming sales or events in that location. So stay tuned...and enjoy! Happy shopping!
Gore-Gore Rollergirls' 22-way best friend necklace! July 26 2013, 0 Comments
I Just finished another project that I'm really excited about!
As most people know, I have played roller derby for the past 3 years. This year was my first year playing on an official home team for Toronto Roller Derby, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls (the leopard print team). It's an awesome sport, and an amazingly supportive team to be a part of. This year, after the season was over, I was commissioned by our team captains (Kandy Barr and Santa Muerte) to make a best friends necklace for each of our team members and bench managers. It started off as one giant leopard print heart, (with all the leopard spots hand-pierced by me--it took at least 8 hours just to make the pattern!), which I then cut into 22 pieces. I think this is the cutest, nicest gift a teammate could ask for, and as a jewellery maker, I'm so glad I could be the one to create it!!
New dinosaurs joined our herd! July 04 2013, 0 Comments
Now introducing new dinosaurs to the herd! Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus (or Apatosaurus) will soon be joining T-Rex on our website and in our Etsy shop! These necklaces are a fun way to show your love of dinosaurs. Pick your favourite prehistoric beast and wear it proudly! Even more dino necklaces are in the works... Pre-order a Stegosaurus or Brontosaurus necklace by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or order a T-Rex necklace in our Etsy shop here. :)
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