heart of stone exhibition

It's a well known fact by mostly everyone I know that I hate hearts. 

Until tonight.

I can no longer say that I hate hearts, only that I dislike the classic heart (especially in it's mass produced, valentine-y, love-sicky, boring-man-who-thinks-any-girl-would-love-to-receive-a-diamond-encrusted-heart-pendant kind of way.)

So, Katie Jayne Britchford has changed me - from a heart-hater to a heart-appreciater.  And that's no easy task. 

Her exhibition which opened tonight at First Site Gallery, showcased an incredible array of the symbol of the heart as we know it and not know it, of many beautiful and rarely seen stones and minerals, and of Katie's very own lapidary stone cutting skills. 

Comprising of 206 pieces, this vast collection showcased a veritable smorgasbord of stones and minerals, including and certainly not limited to:

Various Jaspers, Sandstone, Volcanic Ash, Chrysocolla, Jade, Slate, Flint, Petrified Wood, Turquoise, Granite, Prehnite, Marble, Feldspar, Fossilised Limestone, Obsidian, Amethyst, Aventurine, Quartz...

And it goes on.


The image above shows my very red dot attached to my very own purchase - a piece of Chrysocolla in Jasper - I think it's the first heart I've ever bought, but I love it cause it kind of looks like an arrow head, very pointy, yes I like pointy. 


all images taken with artist's permission

To see more about Katie and her work, check out her blog Kaleidoscope


things you make for stock but end up keeping...

It doesn't happen a lot, but sometimes you just think,

"Is anyone really going to buy this?  Maybe I'll just road test it for a week..."

And then it just ends up being yours.



alchemy symbols

It's no secret I am a bit of chemistry nerd - I have a periodic table in my toilet, need I say more?

I'm thankful that jewellery making incorporates so many chemistry curiosities to keep me entertained, and I'm forever fascinated by the compositions and properties of the many elements - metallic and mineral - that I get to play with on a daily basis.

You may or may not know that my logo -

 and hallmark seen on the inside of these rings -
 is based on a simplified version of an alchemy symbol which represents the four elements - earth, air, fire, water.  These elements are pivotal to the manufacturing of jewellery.  It's all or nothing.

A little look into history before chemistry was considered a science, leads us to alchemy.

Defined by Wikipedia as "an influential philosophical tradition...that contributed to the development of modern chemistry and medicine...but differs in the inclusions of practices related to mythology, religion and spirituality."

The alchemist sees direct relationships between organic and inorganic matter and spirit.  The earliest references to alchemy are seen in ancient Egypt.  It was further developed by the Greeks and Arabs, then introduced to Christian Europe through the Moors in Spain during the 12th Century.  However, it should be noted that the basis of gold and longevity is an alchemy theory which was widely believed in ancient China and India also.   

Alchemists were persecuted in the Middle Ages (witchcraft and all that mumbo jumbo) so created secret symbols to represent the elements they used (or usually in the case of gold and silver, were trying to create).  Here's a little selection of some of those used for gold (Au) - 

And Silver (Ag) -

symbol images from here

I find these really interesting from a semiotics point of view.  The symbolic connections of silver with the moon and the feminine are quite obvious here, the triangle often represents the female womb or vulva, and there's even one there that looks like breasts!

The gold symbols are somewhat sun-like, they appear to represent heat to me, as opposed to the cool silver symbols.   The sun also has masculine associations.  

At the risk of getting all Da Vinci Code on you, I'll stop here.