Slashpile Designs Blog
Come Eat With Us March 13 2015
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.
More Holiday Shopping! December 08 2014
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!
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!
Bridal Party Jewellery for Joel & Dafna's Wedding June 30 2014
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
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
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!
Slashpile Designs Virtual Shopping Tour - Made You Look December 18 2013Made 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"]
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!!
New dinosaurs joined our herd! July 04 2013
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. :)
The Slashpile Story June 26 2013
In 2006, we went treeplanting for the first time. Treeplanting is known to be an extremely difficult summer job. When we first arrived in the bush camp, people looked at us and thought there was no way we would last more than a week. But we did—we stayed the entire season, and were even top planters at our camp.
When you decide to do treeplanting, you commit to living in the bush for 4 months of the summer, living in a tent in very isolated camps in northern Canada (we planted mostly in Alberta). Everyday, you wake up super early to start planting trees, which you carry around with you all day over rough terrain, planting between 2000 and 4000 trees per day. You get paid per tree, so you have to work hard to make it worthwhile. There are bugs, swamps, extreme weather conditions, bears and many other challenges. That's not to say we didn't enjoy it--on the contrary! We had an amazing time and met such incredible people. We even went on to do more seasons, Tara as a tree checker (she had to have surgery on her shoulder after a year of planting) and I did 4 more seasons as a planter.
So back to the story--
In the clearcuts, there are these giant piles of sticks and logs, called Slashpiles. During the season, they kind of get in the way of planting, but at the end of our first season, we climbed them to photograph our ‘victory pose’ (see above, photo courtesy of Fabienne Good). After the season, we created a silver jewellery piece based on the slashpile, that was designed to be a medal for finishing the full season. This piece gave us the foundation of our branding for Slashpile Designs—every one of our pieces reflects a story, concept or achievement. And this piece is a prime example of how we do that.
We create jewellery, mainly in sterling silver. Unlike most jewellery, which is purely aesthetic, every piece has a story or concept behind it. Our products are designed to be personally significant to individuals, while at the same time, understood by a large audience. We get the inspiration for our pieces from our own lives, which we like to pack full of various activities, such as karate, snowboarding, roller derby…the list goes on. We are driven to create pieces that are both meaningful to the wearer and pleasing to the eye.
I hope this gives you a clearer insight into who we are and why we do what we do! If you take a look through our collections, hopefully you can even relate to some of our products with your own stories. We are constantly working to come up with new and exciting products that our customers can relate to with their own stories.
And now, a couple more treeplanting 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!)