Monday, July 18, 2011

Designer spotlight: Emily Gill

"Hello! I am Emily Gill, designer, goldsmith and jewellery instructor. I make botanical inspired jewellery in bright colours, using copper sheet metal and vitreous enamel, which I became enamored with several years ago while attending university! I cut out each brooch, earring or pendant one at a time with a jeweller’s saw, the teeniest blade you’ve ever seen. I use copper as a base for bright enamels, which are a glass powder melted onto a metal surface. I do this in an electric kiln, which fires the pieces at about 1500 degrees F. Needless to say, it gets pretty hot in my studio, but the results are well worth it!

I have been working as a goldsmith and living in Toronto for just over two years now, after completing my BFA in Jewellery and Metalsmithing at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. I use many processes of traditional goldsmithing: fabrication and soldering, piercing, drilling, sawing, lost wax casting, and I also form sheet copper into nice pillowy shapes using a hydraulic press I designed and built myself! You could say I love using tools, almost just as much as jewellery itself. I have been building my studio space in the West End from scratch for the last few months, and it’s amazing what you can do with free scrap wood and a jigsaw. It’s all part of the fun process that brings the jewellery to you!

After wrapping up the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition last week at City Hall, I am very excited to be taking a two week trip to Quebec to Camp Ouareau, north of Montreal where I am from. It is a residential camp for girls aged 8-15 that I attended as a camper and CIT for 6 years and worked on staff as head of crafts and program director for 6 years. I’m not going to be teaching sailing anymore (although I’m sure I’ll squeeze a few boat rides in while I’m there!) This year, after a 5 year hiatus, will be bringing my professional skills as a jeweler and enamellist to the teenagers at camp, as part of their new and improved integrated crafts program!

Upon my return, look for me at a few fall shows: The Queen West Art Crawl in Trinity Bellwoods for starters, all listed on my website

The nice ladies Freedom Clothing Collective have been carrying my jewellery since last Holiday season 2010, and it has been a great experience and very important to me to sell in a local shop that is right in my neighbourhood. I hope to see you when I bring enameling workshops and gift making classes to Freedom for the fall and holiday season….but let’s wait until this heat wave passes over Toronto before firing up the electric kiln!

Until the fall, enjoy the rest of your summer, and pop into the shop to check out my new Chunky Enamel rings (now in gold colours and handpainted details), Fly Away Flower Studs and Dangles and Bold Flower Brooches.

: ) Emily Gill