Slashpile Designs Blog
Digging for crystals July 26 2014
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!
Roots and Tattoos April 02 2014
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
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!
Gore-Gore Rollergirls' 22-way best friend necklace! July 26 2013
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!!
Custom Beach Glass Pendants May 30 2013
Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of working on these very special custom beach glass pendants. It was a fun project to work on, as we had to figure out an innovative way to securely enclose the stones, while staying true to the visual design concept we came up with together. The 'cages' could not be soldered closed, because heating would damage the glass. The best thing about these pieces, though, is that the story behind the project is so touching. Michelle does a much better job of explaining it than I would :)
"Last year on a trip to Barbados, my Mum found several beautiful pieces of beach glass. Some she gave to my boys, others she kept because she wanted to one day have them made into pendants. Without her knowing, I had taken her two favourite pieces, planning to have Tara and Courtney at Slashpile Designs make them into pendants for her birthday. Sadly, Mum didn't see them completed. She would have loved them. Thank you Tara and Courtney."
You are very welcome, Michelle!
Master cicerone, Mirella of Beerology is featured on p. 57 of the current issue of Canadian Business Magazine, wearing her custom pink alcohol molecule necklace from Slashpile Designs!
If you get a chance to pick up the magazine, you should read the article! Her job does sound really cool!
Snowglobe-inspired centrepieces for a sparkly winter themed wedding in Niagara Falls February 16 2013
Hi there! Remember that post where I showed some of our non-jewellery projects? Well here's my follow-up detail post about the centrepieces we made for our friends' wedding. Congratulations Kat & Kirill--We can't say enough how beautiful and wonderful your special day was, and we were so glad we could be a part of it!!
After getting engaged in the summer, the couple decided to have a winter wonderland themed wedding (on 12/12/12) and Tara and I excitedly offered our crafty services to help them make everything for their wedding. We quickly realized that this would be way too big a task for us, so we settled on making their centrepieces.
We wanted to make centrepieces with real 'wow factor' and we wanted them to fit perfectly with their theme and other decorations. After a lot of e-mails back-and-forth (did I mention that Kat and Kirill live in Dubai?), Tara and I came up with the idea to have snowglobe centrepieces. Kat was set on the idea of sparkly sticks, so we decided to combine the two. We were very careful to keep with the winter theme without having the centrepieces look Christmas-y. And we were pretty happy with the result!!
We found some vases with tealight holders at Kitchen Stuff Plus. We created the snowglobe scene with tree and animal figurines from Michael's, and white gravel and acrylic crystals from Dollarama. We wanted each one to be different, so we carefully chose a variety of animals in different sizes, with a special Doe and Buck scene for the head table. We stuck the sparkly, 'snowy' sticks in styrofoam in the tealight holder and strung clear beads on fishing line, which we hung from the branches as 'icicles'. We integrated the table numbers into the design of the centrepieces by using lasercut wood numbers (spray painted white and then with sparkles). These numbers were included in the bouquet of sticks. We surrounded the base of the bouquet with a piece of white feather boa to make an extra wintery pouf detail. Glue guns were a major tool in making these centrepieces. :)
Here are some photos of our process:
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Father's Day 2012! May 24 2012
I always find it hard to find the perfect Father's Day Gift, so here are a few Slashpile options! This year, Father's Day falls on Sunday June 17.
Our molecule jewellery is always a hit with men, so the cufflink versions are sure to be appreciated. Dad will love to wear caffeine, alcohol or water on his cuffs (we also have H2O tie tacks)! If he's more the nature-lover, he might enjoy the spruce tree cufflinks.
We also specialize in custom work--jewellery of personal significance to the wearer--and we find that custom work is particularly popular for mens' gifts. Rather than trying to find the perfect gift, why not create it based on a personal story, memory or achievement? If you get started right away, we would be thrilled to work with you to design a custom ring, cufflink set, tie pin, money clip...the list goes on :)
Order via Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/slashpile or e-mail us at email@example.com to order a custom piece!
How much of a positive effect can personalized jewellery have? December 01 2011