T.E.S.T. Interview: Archerade

We hope to introduce you to all the great Etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 86th in our series and is with Sasha Oda of Archerade.

Hello! So tell us about Archerade. 

Hi! My name is Sasha, and Archerade is the name of my jewellery brand. I am a goldsmith by trade, and I personally design and handcraft each piece in my collection. I work with precious metals (mostly sterling silver and gold), with gemstones and diamonds for colour and sparkle. The goldsmithing magic happens in a shared studio in the west-end of Toronto, and pretty much every step of the process takes place in-house.

What exactly is 'the process'? 

I always start with an idea, a vague notion of shape, colour, or pattern. I sketch a lot – on the streetcar, sitting on a park bench, at a bar with a glass of wine; there's a good chance you've seen me around town with a pencil, bent over my sketchbook. Once I have a solid design, I start carving the wax, and I don't stop until I'm satisfied. I do all of the casting myself, using the lost wax casting technique. This involves a big torch, a hot flame, and molten metal, all coming together with centrifugal force – definitely a pyromaniac's dream. Once the piece has been cast in metal, I do all of the soldering, polishing, and stone-setting, along with any other final assembly work.

How would you describe your style? 

My designs have strong silhouettes, accentuated by layers of texture and pattern that soften the lines and add depth. Because everything is done by hand (and because I am not a machine!), each piece has a familiar, handworked charm, that both complements and contrasts the modern edginess. The Archerade brand has definitely evolved over the last few years, to become more focused and cohesive. I always want to feel as though I'm creating and curating a distinct look that feels genuine, and stays true to my design esthetic.

What inspires you? 

The world is my oyster, and I am inspired by everything! Sometimes I get so caught up in my own thoughts that I forget to open my senses to what surrounds me, and I need to remind myself to sit up and pay attention. I especially enjoy architecture – I really love seeing how lines can flow together to create shape and form. Creating something original is always inspiring – there is so much good energy that comes from exploring new ideas and concepts.

So is it all amazing, or do you find yourself struggling with any aspects of the business? 

Over the past year or so, I have realized that I am not just a designer or a goldsmith, I am also a small-business owner. All the work that goes along with that title has been a real adjustment for me, and I am sure all the other artists and creators will agree! If only there were endless hours in the day for the solo artisan/entrepreneur...

What do you envision for the future of Archerade? 

I would love to keep doing exactly what I'm doing right now, but on a bigger scale. I am always working to increase my brand's exposure and visibility, and I hope to sell to a larger audience, directly through Etsy, and also through independent boutiques around the world. I love being in control of every facet of this business, but there just isn't enough time to get everything done. So the future will probably also involve sharing the workload – a goldsmithing/business-partner in crime could be just what I need to move forward. In any case, Archerade has been such an amazing adventure so far, and I am excited to see what the future – planned or unplanned – holds for me and my brand.

Check out the other items available from Sasha in her Etsy shop! You can also find her:

Website - www.archerade.com
Instagram - www.instagram.com/archerade 

Interviewed by Amanda Henderson of Jewelust on or about July 10, 2015 in Toronto.

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