Recently many media, including Forbes, La Presse, TVA Nouvelles, Le Journal de Montréal and others wrote about Claudio Pino, a jeweler from Montreal, whose pieces were featured in the new movie, Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower”. It is great to know that our community is the home of such a person, and if you dig deeper you will know that it is not the first movie and that his work is such a treasury of diligence and talent!
I am happy to have here, at LOFT.bijoux Claudio Pino to share with us the backstage of his spectacular work!
Do you remember some special event that made you interested in jewelry? How did you get into it?
A fascination with ancient history and the symbolic significance of jewels in different cultures influenced my great passion for jewelry. However, it goes back to my childhood. I’ve always been fascinated by architecture, and design. At the age of 7 years old, I remember standing for hours quietly watching my father carving miniature wooden ships from scratch. For months, I anticipated how the raw materials would slowly take shape under my father’s hands. I would also look often at my rock collection and be mesmerized by my mother’s jewelry. This was the beginning of a grand adventure enthralling me to transform raw materials into precious, portable objects.
The Jayne Wedding Ring! With a beautiful trillion Diamond, 18k Gold and Platinum
What inspires you in the creative process?
In my career, I have to say that creating ring especially for someone, inspired by her or his personality really keeps my creative flame alive since 1995! Still today, after over 20 years of full-time jeweler designer of one-of-a-kind of Contemporary Fine Art Jewelry pieces, human beings with dreams and personalities are my main source of inspiration! I make jewelry for them, inspired by them – it is a real passion for me! Each creation is for me a new challenge, evoking emotions, likes a small painting that tells a story and can be worn!
Please, tell more about your jewelry getting in the films!
The first one was “Hunger Games : Catching Fire”, “The Dark Tower” of Stephen King followed. In Spring 2016, the costume designer Trish Summerville and her team, reached me out to borrow my “lucite” pieces for the actress Abbey Lee, female lead role of Tirana in Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower”. Summerville was interested by my Collection entitled Cristalline. A Collection composed of sculptural one-of-a-kind rings made of polycarbonate, which explores the theme of transparency in literal and figurative senses. With high transparency and excellent resistance to impact and shock, this robust material is mainly used as anti-bullet ultimate protection, while having a fragile appearance, and a certain delicacy due to its clarity. Emphasizing these contrasting aspects, these sculptural rings offer a balance between the hardness of this industrial material and sweetness presented by organic forms. Between light and shadow, each ring is a little poem that explore the transformation of the industrial material into small precious portable objects. In fact, this Collection fits perfectly the essence of the magnificent Tirana as she has an appearance of being fragile, delicate, full of light yet she is extremely strong and powerful! Tirana looks fragile like a rose but she is resistant and has real Power! As soon as I received the invitation to collaborate, I read more about this character and created a ring especially for her, yet in the spirit of my Cristalline Collection from 2013. That Collection was first exhibited at the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York; during my solo show: The Power of the Ring at Gallery Fur Schmuck Meister und Margarita in Frankfurt, Germany; and at Noel Guyomarc’h Gallery, Montreal, Canada. I was so excited and enthusiast to create one piece especially for Tirana, inspired by her personality, and in the spirit of my Collection Cristalline.
What does your ordinary workday looks like? It is always so interesting to know how the artist is making out of his or her ordinary days some spectacular work!
First, I do need my dark black coffee from Kenya (my favorite one). Then I often start the day with gemstones cutting/facetting (it’s my yoga). In 2012, I took an intensive training in Petaluma at the Ashton Gemstone studio and now I am working with my ULTRA TEC V5 Faceting Machine everyday! I do work alone in my workshop as I focus 100% on creativity and not on mass production. All my rings are “only one” in the world, one-of-a-kind pieces and are handmade. I really see them as little portable sculptures! For me, the first step in creating a ring is to find a gemstone that represents the theme I want to explore. After cutting and polishing the gemstone, it is by holding it in my hand that the actual construction begins in my mind. A few days later, I’ll start sketching the design on paper, and then I create some very basic drawings. These sketches and drawings help me think of ideas and quickly see the possibilities. When I create new mechanisms, I usually build prototypes or small models in silver before making a finished piece in platinum, gold, or palladium. From the concept to the drawing, the design to fabrication, to gemstones faceting and setting, I complete each step using an architectural approach, as if my miniature work was a monumental sculpture. I strive to make my pieces interesting from all angles.
Do you have any quotes that inspire you?
You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition. Alexander McQueen.
Please, share with us your closest future plans to follow you!
I am currently working on a new series of gemstones with contemporary cuts, which will be mounted on sculptural rings made from platinum, exploring the theme of weightlessness. I am also doing a lot of commission works, personalized pieces, including a unique engagement ring with a spectacular Alexandrite for a lovely couple in New York. About exhibitions, my new rings are currently presented at 18Karat Gallery Downtown Toronto and in Montreal, at La Guilde canadienne des métiers d’art. Moreover, Metamorphosis, my newest kinetic creation in palladium is exhibited at the Canadian Craft Biennial until Nov. 7, Art Gallery of Burlington. It is an honor to be the part of this important event, celebrating Canada’s 150 years, organized under the direction of Denis Longchamps and Emma Quin. Also, by the end of November, a few of my sculptural rings including a 3 fingers kinetic ring will be at the Contemporary Jewellery Auction in Waddington’s Auctioneers and Appraisers in Toronto. There are a few upcoming exhibits, namely at Aaron Faber Gallery, New York and in Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge…
There are many jewelers reading the blog. What advice would you give to a beginner jeweler? How to find the personal style and on what to focus the work?
My advice would be to persevere, stay disciplined, and to study extensively the history of jewelry. In addition, to develop both, the conceptual and technical aspects of each design, and take some risks. Push forward your ideas without imitating what has been done in the past. When you do so, you’ll see your efforts being rewarded and creativity flourishing continuously. Before everything, the most important thing is to keep the flame of your passion for jewelry design alive and nurture the artist within you!
How would you describe contemporary jewelry? What is it for you?
I do prefer to believe that no standard is found in today’s jewelry field. For me, doors are wide open to so many horizons and possibilities of exploration. I always try to push further my research both conceptually and technically, to get closer to the people who wear my pieces.
Many are looking for uniqueness, something special that represents them, their love, their life, and this is what is Fine contemporary jewelry for me.
Making fine jewelry is a way to express emotions and narratives, and to share them with others. It is also a way to stimulate our senses. Each of my portable sculptures represents a different thematic system — a mirror of multiple metaphors.
During the creative process, I never forget that someone will be wearing the ring. Therefore, rings first need to be very comfortable and belong to the hand. My rings come alive only when they find their owners. Claudio Pino
CLAUDIO PINO is a jewelry designer and goldsmith world-renowned for his astonishing sculptural and kinetic rings. Since earning his Professional Jewelers’ Diploma from l’École des métiers du Sud-Ouest de Montréal, Canada in 1995, he has been exclusively dedicated to the hand fabrication of one-of-a-kind pieces of contemporary jewelry. In 2011, with the support of Canada Council for the Arts, he pursued a master’s degree in the study of platinum at Holt Academy Jewellery in London England, as well as received intensive individual training from Master Jurgen J. Maerz, former director of Technical Education for Platinum Guild International, USA. He also completed a professional training about stone faceting at the Ashton Gemstones Studio in Petaluma, California and an intensive training in Palladium with Chris Ploof.
Recognized by their extravagant and sculptural characteristics, each of his designs is filled with details that tell stories through special symbols hidden all around the band. Pino’s unique pieces of art has received numerous awards including The 2009 Steele Trophy for the best design in Canada from the Metal Arts Guild of Canada; The 2013 Israel Pearl Contest – Unity 2nd place; The 2011 National Award, Larger than Life, Metal Arts Guild of Canada, and the 2005 Special Prize of Cheongju International Craft Biennale, South Korea. Moreover, several of his kinetic pieces were choose to appear in the famous movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.
His collections have been presented around the world in museums namely The Carnegie Art Museum; Museum of Vancouver; Museum of Decorative Arts in Santiago; Houston Jung Museum, and Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, as well as in prestigious galleries including Aaron Faber Gallery and The Forbes Galleries, New York; Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco; Reinhold Jewellers, Puerto Rico; Mobilia, Cambridge; Influx, Calgary; 18 Karat and Zilberschmuck, Toronto; Bertin Toublanc, Paris; Elegance, Taipei; Noel Guyomarc’h, and Galerie de la Guilde canadienne des métiers d’art, Montreal; L.A. Pai, Ottawa; and Für Schmuck Meister und Margarita, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He also participated in numerous international juried exhibitions namely Cheongju International Craft Biennale; Hong Kong International HKIJMS; SOFA Chicago, SOFA New York; and JOYA OFF, Barcelona and at juried exhibitions during The Society of North American Goldsmiths Annual Conferences such as the Ring Show in Savannah and Innovation Show in Denver as well as Putting the Band Back Together: The Ring Show in Savannah.
In 2013, he unveiled his first hardcover monograph about his creations, entitled “The Power of the Rings”. This hardcover includes an introduction by Maegen Black, Director of Canadian Crafts Federation, Haikus inspired by Claudio Pino’s rings by Geneviève Fillion and photos by Arkan Zakharov. His rings are also included in numerous books namely in the Lark Jewellery Books : 1000 Rings: Inspiring Adornments for the Hand, 500 Wedding Rings: Celebrating a Classic Symbol of Commitment, 500 Gemstone Jewels; as well as in the book New Rings: 500+ Designs from Around the World by Nicolas Estrada; Steampunk Jewelry By Spurgeon Vaughn Ratcliffe; Such Capable Hands by Pat Robinson Schmidt ; Masters of Jewellery Design in Canada by Cora Golden; The Art of Soldering for Jewellery Makers: Techniques and Projects by Wing Mun Devenney.
Claudio Pino’s work is always recognized by the fascinating and innovative ways in which he transforms raw materials into unique and extraordinary works of art.