T.E.S.T. Interview: Jewelust

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 87th in our series and is with Amanda Henderson from Jewelust

Hi Amanda. Tell us a bit about yourself and your business, Jewelust. 

I am an emerging jewellery designer/goldsmith located in Toronto. I create every piece myself out of recycled silver and gold in a shared studio space in the west end. I source recycled and sustainable materials when possible (for example, my business cards and packaging). I even re-use my customers’ old jewellery by melting it down to use the gold, diamonds, and gems.

I love to think about all of the history in a piece when we re-use a parent’s or grandparent’s old jewellery! I also have a couple ongoing initiatives where I donate a portion of sales from certain collections (my mustache septum rings, and my stinger jewellery) to charities that are important to me (Movember and The Canadian Honey Council). I am planning a new collection to raise funds for lupus in the future. You can read more about these activities on my website.

What is the inspiration behind your work? 

I like to play with the idea of metal being a hard, rigid material by creating fluid and graceful designs. For example, my signature collection, Whirl, reminds me of ribbons of satin wrapped around a gift. We all like to give and receive gifts that look pretty, and I think everyone deserves to feel beautifully decorated! This collection has been quite popular; I even had a commission for a series of Whirl rings for the upcoming TV show, Warrior.

How do you channel your inspiration into a jewellery design? 

I spend a lot of time sketching and making samples to perfect my designs. Metal is actually very malleable and I find inspiration in the way it moves when it is hammered or bent, so a lot of it happens organically. I always start with an idea and sketches, but each piece evolves uniquely through the creation process. I would say that sinuous, clean lines and minimal ornamentation are the overall elements of my aesthetic, and even though each piece is unique I try to keep those design elements in mind so my body of work is cohesive.

Tell us about your education. 

I started my jewellery education with a Gemmology Certificate from George Brown College (GBC). I really enjoyed looking at gems and diamonds all day but I knew it wasn’t creative enough for me, so I enrolled in part-time goldsmithing classes at GBC. It was the perfect blend of mechanical and artistic skills for me, and I knew I found my calling. That sounds cliché, but every once in a while I still stop to think about how lucky I am to have found something I love so much.

After completing the 3-year full-time jewellery program at GBC, I received a scholarship from The Harbourfront Centre for the artist-in-residence program in their Metal Studio. It was a great transition from school to real-life goldsmith/artist. That was the end of my formal training, but being a full-time self-employed artisan is as much a job as a learning experience. Everyday I learn something new; goldsmithing techniques, business and marketing skills, photography… The list is endless!

What's next for Jewelust?

I am planning a shift in my designs. For the last couple years I have been making smaller fashion/production pieces, but my goal is to go back to my real passion – large statement jewellery. I have made several new pieces, which I am very excited about (ed note: not yet listed) . They have been getting a great response from customers and fellow designers. You can see them on my Instagram or Facebook pages.

Check out the other items available from Amanda in her Etsy shop. You can also find her at: 
Wychwood Barns Art Market - July 18 and August 15, from 9am-2pm Located at 601 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G 4C7

Website: www.jewelust.com
Monthly Email Sign Up:  Contact Form (doesn’t work on mobile devices) 
Instagram: @jewelust
Facebook: Jewelust.by.Amanda.Henderson

Interviewed by Sasha Oda of Archerade in Toronto on or about July 10, 2015

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