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!
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!!
The Passion for Fashion Award!! May 10 2013
Back in November, we went looking for grants to apply to, so we could more rapidly grow our business. Our first stop was YES (the Youth Employment Services), where we went in just to ask for advice on where to start. The receptionist (who was extremely friendly), said to come back the next day to check out a workshop series.
So we went back the next day to start the Passion for Fashion workshop series, 5 workshops on various topics to help teach youth how to get their fashion-related businesses off the ground. We happened to catch the very last session of the year, just before the launch of the Fashionista's Den competition. Using what we learned in the workshops, we decided to enter. We submitted our business plan, cover letter, Powerpoint business-pitch presentation and contest application in March (after many, many hours of writing and perfecting them!!)
We were selected as one of 12 finalists to present our businesses pitch, Dragon's Den style, to a panel of judges including financial expert and VP of YES Richard Healy, fashion stylist and editor Annie Lam, fashion designer Kendra Francis of Franke, Jessica Jensen, President of Jessica Jensen Inc., and Gail McInnes owner of Magnet Creative Management and Stylist Box. We practiced our presentation for hours in front of our dogs (they seemed to like it!)
When we did the presentation for real, we felt pretty good about it--Gail Macinnes even bought one of our 1 Carrot Diamond rings in the middle of our pitch!
One week later, we attended an awards ceremony, where the winner was to be revealed. We got to meet and mingle with all the other finalists--so many great business concepts and talented designers!
We were absolutely thrilled to be awarded 1st place in the competition!! What an honour! Second place was awarded to AEON Attire (run partially by another set of twins!) for their multipurpose accessory and third place was awarded to Masha and Co for her ready to wear women's collection.
We are so greatful for this opportunity! The prize was $1000, a membership to Toronto Fashion Incubator and 50 hours of mentorship!
Through this competition, we have already learned so much and met so many interesting and generous people who have so much wisdom to share! We could not be happier with this experience and we can't wait to see what the rest of this year has in store for us!
Thanks so much to YES, TFI, Passion For Fashion, our customers and everyone who has supported us along the way so far! Looking forward to many more years of Slashpile Designs and storytelling-jewellery to come!
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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Winter non-jewellery projects! January 13 2013
Well hello there! It's been quite a while since our last post!
December was such a busy month, not only with jewellery orders (thanks everyone!) but also with some other projects we have been working on. Those of you who know us well know that we love to make EVERYTHING and ANYTHING! (not just jewellery!)
In our next few posts, we will share some of the other projects we have been working on this winter...these include the centrepieces for our friend's wedding, homemade lollipops, candies and soaps, knitting on our new knitting machine, and multiple sewing projects!
Here are a few photos:
Behind the scenes: How we make our Lost & Found Rings! August 21 2012
Since I've been making lots of rings lately, I thought it would be cool to share the process with you! Here is a behind-the-scenes, step-by-step description of what goes into making our Lost and Found Rings. Pretty please, don't try this at home unless you are a trained jeweler. :)
First I pick out the stone I want to use for my ring and I select what type of bezel wire I want to use. In this case, I chose a beautiful large, round carnelian, and I decided to set it in a simple, straight bezel setting (we also have scalloped or serrated bezel wire). I get my materials ready (bezel wire, stone, ring band and silver sheet), then I get started by measuring the length of bezel wire I will need to go around the stone.
I cut the length I need, file the ends so that they match up perfectly, bend the whole piece into kind of a 'D' shape, then solder the ends together. After soldering, the silver is slightly oxidized, so I have to put it in an acid called 'pickle' that makes it nice and shiny again. I then press the 'D' shape around the stone, making sure it fits perfectly (no jiggling, or else the stone can loosen itself and eventually fall out!).
Next, I trace the size of silver sheet that I need and cut it out using a jeweller's saw. This part doesn't have to be perfectly even, but there needs to be extra space just in case the pieces shift while soldering. I then solder the bezel onto the sheet (the third photo is what the silver looks like after soldering).
Pickle again to clean the piece, then file the edges of the sheet so that they are flush with the bezel. I then sand the entire thing with my emery sticks starting with 220 emery, then 320, then 400 and then 600 (as you can see, this the part of the process that takes the most time!)
I then put the setting aside and get my ring band ready, first by sizing it, soldering it together, cleaning it up with rotary tools and emery paper, and then filing one side as flat as possible to make a clean soldering seam between the band and the bottom of the setting.
Now, where it all comes together! Soldering the band onto the setting. Pickle again, emery again, then see if the stone fits...and it does!
Now, the most rewarding part--Setting the stone! Using my pusher, I start to push the bezel tight around the stone. I push on one side, then the opposite side, making sure not to go in a rotating sequence around the stone (which can cause more material to end up at one side). I then push in between my first pushes, over and over again until the setting is somewhat smooth.
I use this tool, called a burnisher, to smooth out the setting even more. I then use 600 emery paper to clean it up even more and then throw it in the tumbler to shine up that surface! The finish from the tumbler gives the silver a soft shine.
I take it out of the tumbler and TA-DA! My ring is ready to wear (or list on Etsy!)
Race Medals October 24 2011
Our medals for the 5/10k to cure Parkinson's were a great success! We attended the pancakes breakfast after the run, and it was so nice to see everyone wearing them!
Congrats to everyone who ran on such a cold, windy day to support this amazing cause! We were happy to be part of the event.
Here are some photos.
Back in the studio! July 30 2011
Wow, has it ever been hot!
Since our trip we've been spending a lot of time in the studio, replenishing stock and sending more pieces to our new stockists from our big trip (yay!)
The lines we've been spending the most time working on would be our Plant a Tree series and our Lost and Found Rings. Here are some photos:
The first two photos are of our soon-to-be-released Plant a Tree pieces, featuring deciduous trees! The tree pieces are not yet finished...there is still some clean-up to be done. When finished, these will be necklaces and rings.
The last two photos feature our most recent collection of rings (to be sent off to Glitz Gallery in Winnipeg and to another store in Vancouver).
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I like to make jewelry all day June 06 2011
I found this video that was made by the current featured Etsy seller. It pretty much sums up our lives right now!
Pack-men (well, women) June 06 2011
We've been making working hard on making lots of inventory, in preparation for our big trip. In doing this, we have run into a few issues that led us to re-design our packaging.
1. Organization. It is really hard to sort and store loose pieces of jewellery. Labelling pieces and sorting them into bags and boxes is super helpful! It also means it will be easier for us to find everything when we have to take it out again for stores!
2. Tarnishing. Whether on display or in transit, silver tarnishes when exposed to the air! The plastic baggies and the molecule tins make it easy to display the pieces, without having to clean the pieces frequently!
3. Display/branding. On the paper lables, we can put important information about the pieces, such as the name of the collection, a brief description of the concept and, of course, our logo!
We are very pleased with the results!
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Studio Photos May 30 2011
I was browsing through the photos on my computer and I came across these old photos of us soldering! The first photo is of Tara, and the second one is of Courtney's hands. Enjoy!
Painting the roses red! May 18 2011
Painting the enamel on the molecules is the final step in making our drug molecule jewellery. It takes skill and practice to apply the paint accurately! (Tara is a pro)
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