Procrastinators Unite!

Okay, okay, I’ve been a giant procrastinator lately. I can admit that. I have been meaning to follow up my post about Renegade since I made it and every single day I found a reason to procrastinate. Sigh - that’s just the way it goes sometimes. 

There have been many exciting developments since I last wrote:

  • My work was in Flare Magazine, then I was contacted by another magazine.
  • My brother is visiting at the end of this week with Anna which means family fun times in the Highlands.
  • Visited family and participated in a jewelry show with some great jewellers out of Montreal and Germany/Cape Breton at Salty Rose’s Local Crafts in Ingonish
  • I attended Diner en Blanc, the Halifax edition.
  • My new ring titled “Bird of Paradise” was one of 19 pieces accepted for the Peace Works exhibition opening at the Mary E. Black Gallery on September 25th,
  • I’ll be participating in the Etsy Made in Canada show at the Halifax Forum on September 27th.
  • I’ve been designing a new collection and conducting meeting about photography and make up for an upcoming look book shoot!
  • Last but not least, I’ve been renovating my spare room for studio space! I’m keeping my Port Studio space too, but I will only be there on a part time basis.  

Phew - all of that followed the trip to California for Renegade, which was really fantastic. I had a great time at Renegade; expanded my West Coast clientele and made new friends from Brooklyn and Portland. I also visited with Michelle of Kiriki Press, who I met at the Toronto One of a Kind Show, and her partner James. We had some wine, some laughs and some dinner together in San Francisco and it was truly a delight to spend some time with them. 

Of course, I had to make some time for wine country while in Northern California, and we took a day to drive through Sonoma and Napa again, visiting some of our favourite wineries (Ramsgate!) along the way. Stephen and Anna have been scouting spots for their wedding in wine country so they showed us some of their prospective locations. I also took some time to visit Velvet Da Vinci for their magnificent exhibition of new work by some outstanding Jewellers from Chile. I visited the De Young museum for their Modernism exhibition but I was infinitely more taken by their Art of the Americas exhibit and their collection of American Decorative Art - it was exciting to see a Nick Cave (not that Nick Cave) piece up close and personal. 

I really believe that I can’t travel all the way across the continent, from Nova Scotia to California, and not visit LA, so of course, Elizabeth and I flew down to LA so I could stop into Co-op 28 and see Marci and to enjoy the city for a week. We took in a magical night of opera at the Hollywood Bowl, ran into the Los Angeles Renegade Show while we were downtown, “hiked” the trail through Griffith Park up to the Observatory, spent a night in Venice where we walked the pier and biked the beach, ate some delicious food at the Silverlake Farmers Market, visited some science museums (because we’re nerds) and took in a Dodgers game. Never a dull moment when the Arsenaults travel. 

I thought I’d share a few photos with you from my summer so far!

San Francisco and Renegade!

Hello San Francisco!

Elizabeth and I landed yesterday afternoon and we have barely stopped since. After checking into our lovely rental we headed out to explore a bit of our new neighbourhood, run some errands and begin to get geared up for Renegade Craft Fair this weekend. In the evening our brother, Stephen,  came by our new digs and Elizabeth saw him for the first time in more than two years! She also met our brother’s fiancé, Anna Kocherovsky, for the first time in person! 

It’s already been an eventful trip and we’ve been here for just over 12 hours! 

Come and see us this weekend in booth #14 at the Fort Mason Centre!


Lapidary Demo on the Last Day of Class

Last week we finished up Remarkable Rings for the season and it won’t be back on until the fall. The final class is always bittersweet - freeing up a bit of time is a mercy but I love teaching my class and my students are always fascinating people who bring their particular perspectives and life experiences with them into their ring designs - this makes teaching the class endlessly interesting.

For the final class I arranged for us to view a demonstration of cabochon cutting by a very gifted lapidary who is currently sharing my studio space. Hans Durstling “has studied stone cutting in Germany; has written widely on stone and gem topics; is the originator of the Discovery Channel series, “Stones of Fate and Fortune” has demonstrated at the Tucson Mineral and Gem Show - the largest such event in the world, and has given presentations on the fascinating world of precious stone and related topics to schools and museums, clubs and associations from Germany to California.” (lifted from

Needless to say we were feeling pretty fortunate. I’d like to share a few photos of the stone cutting process with you. Hans is cutting a Nova Scotian Agate.

Click through to view the gallery.

If you were lucky you caught Hans yesterday at a special Canada Day Demonstration at the Seaport Market. 

Thanks a million Hans!

Renegade Craft Show, San Francisco

Angela Grace Jewelry will be participating in Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco, California the weekend of July 19th and 20th. If you are in the Bay area be certain not to miss this fantastic event and be sure to come by and say hello!

Renegade is always free to attend.

Renegade Craft Fair is the world’s premier network of events serving the DIY craft community. RCF was the first event of its kind when it was founded in 2003, and 11 years later Renegade is still the largest and most far-reaching with 14 annual events in Chicago, IL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Austin, TX; Portland, OR; London, UK. On average, our events are attended by over 250,000 people annually, and hundreds of craft-based businesses have been launched successfully out of the fairs.

Garden Party & Trunk Show

Spring is in full swing and summer is ready to pop! Come and celebrate the first day of summer with Swaine Street Woodworking, Oh Dina! and Angela Grace Jewelry at their Garden Party Saturday, June 21 in the garden of 2734 Swaine Street. You can soak in the sweet aroma of sun drenched flowers and herbs while enjoying light refreshments and browsing the newest work from Swaine Street Woodworking, Oh Dina! and Angela Grace Jewelry. This is the perfect opportunity to pick up wedding presents, find gifts for your bridesmaids, last minute ideas for your wedding or to simply treat yourself to beautifully crafted local goods in a relaxing atmosphere

Swaine Street Woodworking was founded by Jana Bookholt. in 2010, and received instant acclaim for its finely hand- crafted wooden items for kitchen and home. Her distinctive cutting boards, charcuterie boards, and butcher blocks represent a fusion of her training in fine art and woodworking Individually handcrafted in her Halifax, Nova Scotia studio, her work references traditional forms and accentuates the natural warmth found in her materials. Swaine Street Woodworking has been featured in House and Home, Design Lines and Style at home.  Jana’s cutting boards and care products were also gifted to international actors, directors and producers in the Toronto International Film Festival Gift Suite in 2012.

Oh Dina! Millinery was launched in 2008 while Halifax native, Nicole McInnis was attending Ryerson University in the Fashion Design Program. The collection is a fusion of modern millinery with nostalgic touches. Created with fine silks, pearls, feathers and veiling, the pieces have a one of a kind charm. The collection ranges from sculptural fascinators, flower crowns and halos to custom bridal headpieces. After being based out of Toronto and then New York, this past fall milliner Nicole McInnis returned home to the East Coast and set up the Oh Dina! Millinery Studio at 2594 Agricola Street (Agricola and North.) Over the last 6 years Oh Dina! has been seen in the pages of WeddingBells Magazine, Flare, Fashion Magazine, Wedluxe, Style Me Pretty, The National Post and The Globe and Mail

Angela Grace Jewelry came into being in 2011 when Cape Breton born Angela Grace Arsenault’s fox ring took Halifax by storm. Angela went on to present her playfully elegant jewels in gift lounges for international celebrities at the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France and the 2012 Emmys in Los Angeles, California . Angela Grace Jewelry has been featured in the National Post, on many international fashion blogs as well as on Fashion Daily Television in Germany. You can find Angela Grace Jewelry at select retailers in Nova Scotia, Ontario and California.

Come by 2734 Swaine Street between 10am and 5pm on the first day of summer to meet, Jana, Nicole and Angela, view their newest collections, enjoy a beverage in the sun and refresh your senses. This is a great chance to catch up with these busy ladies before Jana takes off on a trunk show tour through the States and Canada via motorcycle, Angela heads back to California to take part in Renegade Craft Fair and Nicole dives into another busy wedding season. Hope to see you there!

Greetings from Minneapolis

Well, as you may have gathered from the title, I am currently writing to you from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m here for the 43rd annual Society of North American Goldsmiths conference and here is an interesting fact for you: The very first SNAG conference was held right here in Minneapolis 43 years ago. How’s that for a home coming. 

I’ve only been in the city for about 24 hours now, but par for the course, I have made the time to walk around and get a little acquainted. So far I have only seen the space between my hotel overlooking Gold Medal Park smack on the Mississippi and the conference hotel further inland and into the core of the downtown (27 minute walk according to google). I’ll see more tonight though while I take part in the Gallery Crawl!

My impression of Minneapolis so far is that it is a clean, friendly and artistic city of people who appreciate the beauty of their industrial past and present. The modern, the historical and the industrial architecture are seamlessly woven here and as always I am soaking in the Art Deco structures that I don’t get to experience on my coast.

This has been a day of scholarly application as we enjoyed a provocative lecture titled Let’s Print out a Gun: Craft in the Age of Pervasive Computing by keynote speaker, Dr. Tanya Harrod a research fellow at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. We also experienced a beautiful and passionate address from George Sawyer, Mokume gane master, titled From Tattoos to Bamboos, Inspirations that Spark the Flame.

Ok, I’d better hustle. We’ve got free  admission into the Walker Art Museum this evening and I’ve got a Gallery Crawl to catch!

And Here it Comes…

It’s in the air! I can smell it when I walk my puppy love down to the seaside park - AND she’s already had a number of ocean swims. Oh summer, I can feel it in my bones…

It’s been a whirlwind. I think it is often a whirlwind though - Toronto One of a Kind was exciting and excruciating like all good retail shows and I am now speaking with new retailers and planning exciting new events with exciting new friends (I’m thinking of you Kiriki Press)! Following Toronto, the train took Jana Bookholt from Swaine Street Woodworking, our (my new) friend Cat and me to New York City where we spent several action packed days roaming my new favourite place to get lost. Although, it is kind of hard to get lost there. Too many landmarks to guide you on your way.

Before heading to Toronto, I finished up my Remarkable Rings course at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design and my sister managed to snap a few photos of student work. I’m running my class again this Spring and I’m looking forward to seeing the fresh ideas in store.

Finally, I’m still wrapping up my travel plans for the Society of North American Goldsmiths conference in Minneapolis next week! Looking forward to plunging my mind into the pool of collective creativity waiting at the head of the Mississippi. 

PS - New photographs forthcoming. Christina and I have been hard at work!

PPS - Congratulations to my brother, Stephen Arsenault, and my soon to be sister-in-law, Anna Kocherovsky, on their engagement. Already looking forward to the family fun forthcoming in San Francisco! XO