Hi everyone! Are you enjoying May? I am so excited to see all the trees and flowers coming back to life! Enjoying simple pleasures… Among my simple pleasures is discovering and presenting you every Friday jewelers from Montreal and other places in Quebec. Today we have Emily Lewis from Studio METHOD(E). Some of you read my post about Jewelry School of Quebec and Filière 11 – the paper installation of the ornaments of the iron jewelry given during the napoleonic wars by the Prussian government to people in exchange for their gold jewelry is by Emily.
When and how did you start to create jewelry?
I always was a maker. When I was a child I did a lot of crafts, and made jewellery like friendship bracelets, bead necklaces or hemp jewellery. But I also spent a lot of time drawing and making other things, so I don’t think it was jewellery specifically that interested me so much as just creating.
I am originally from Nova Scotia, and studied at NSCAD University, majoring in jewellery design and metalsmithing. When I began university I thought I would concentrate on drawing, painting and sculpture. After my foundation year I took a jewellery course and became very interested in the scale, the quality of the work, the tradition behind it, the relationship with the body and the variety of techniques and materials that can be used. I ended up concentrating more on jewellery, but am still drawn to interdisciplinary work and still do a lot of drawing and painting.
What inspires you? What materials and ideas?
I love exploring materials and techniques and developing new ways of using them. In my production work I do for Studio METHOD(E) I use mainly copper, which I like because of its malleability and possible surface treatments. I do a lot of powder coating, and am very drawn to colour. For colour it tends to be all or nothing, a lot of different colours or strictly black and white.
The inspiration for a lot of the designs comes from classic Victorian jewellery. The jewellery of that era was very formal, but also loaded with symbolism, and some was a little macabre, like Victorian hair jewellery. It is interesting – to take something so traditional and re-interpret it using more organic, simple shapes and bright colours.
I like questioning the boundaries of what jewellery is or can be in my non-production work, which I do under my own name. I often come back to exploring the impact of context on a piece. Because one of the defining traits of jewellery is its relationship with the body I find it interesting to remove it from the body completely, or to reference the body directly in shapes or materials.
A lot of the materials I use are recycled. The copper wire I use I get from old electric wires, always used, that I’ve recuperated. The copper sheet I use is roofing cut offs, pieces that are too small to use on copper roofs but are actually giant for jewellery. I recuperate every scrap of metal that is not used.
I also work very rarely with precious or semi precious gems, aside from pearls, and when I do I prefer to use lab grown ones.
Tell me about creating and participating in Filière 11?
Filière 11 is a contemporary jewellery collective here in Quebec City that was founded in 2011. It started mainly to create some community. As jewellery artists we tend to spend a lot of time alone in our studios. It is important to have interaction with likeminded people, have outside eyes with whom we can talk about our work and create projects. We just finished a year long residency at the École de joaillerie de Québec and are currently working on what comes next, but nothing has been decided yet.
What does your ordinary workday looks like?
I am terrible at routine so no day really looks the same as the previous. I am not a morning person, and am lucky to be able to really take my time to ease into the day. I check emails, social media, etc. with my coffee. I am not very organized so I tend to keep a lot of to do lists, and I try to go over my list from the day before and set up one for the day first thing, as well. This helps keep me on track and prioritize what needs to get done during the day. I have a big studio and a lot of projects on the go at any given time, I get distracted very easily.
I often will try to run any errands I have to do before going to the studio, like buying supplies or going to the post office. I’m lucky because my home and my studio are close, both in Limoilou. Once there I concentrate on contracts and deadlines first, but almost always take time out of my day to work on new pieces. I do a lot of different things, like powdercoating and anodizing contracts for other people, made to order pieces, wholesale, I have rental benches and give private workshops as well so it all depends on what is on the schedule.
I really work best in the evening and the night so I normally get home from the studio pretty late, and almost always have some paperwork, photos to work on, more emails to send, or supply orders to make when I get home.
I find it difficult to balance work and life, but try to find time every day to turn off from work and go for a bike ride, or do some yoga, or even just to relax and read or watch a television show.
Taking time to take care of myself is not something I’ve always been great at, especially since I love what I do, but it has become a priority. It makes me more efficient and happy when I work as well.
All my production work is a line created for Studio METHOD(E), my studio. The price varies from $20-300, I am liquidating a lot of my older lines at the moment so there is quite a bit at a lower cost.
you can find it on etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/StudioMETHODE
Or a small selection in my other online shop: www.studiomethodestore.com