I have always been interested in art and design. Before beginning my career as a jewellery artist I experimented with a variety of mediums including glass blowing and graphic design. It was when I began to work with metal that I felt a true connection to the material and began to truly express myself as an artist.
I launched Atelier Hg in 2009 with my wife and partner. The idea behind Atelier Hg was to establish a brand and the business arm of our combined artistic endeavors. Since its conception, Atelier Hg has grown to become a recognizable name in the world of contemporary jewellery and has received numerous awards and accolades, in addition to participating in a variety of international exhibitions and showcases.
I enjoy creating pieces that are intricate, technical, and often mechanical. I love working with patterns and investigating how they relate to surfaces. I am fascinated by geometry, mathematical concepts, and how they can be represented in a visual way.
In 2012 I produced a brooch titled “The Mathematical Fingerprint of God”. Not only was it the result of many months of research and development, but it was the first in a series of pieces that it subsequently inspired, including the winning Golden A’ Design “I Am Hydrogen” project.
I specifically enjoy hammer work when forming metal. Unlike much of todays commercial jewellery, which is produced from casting wax models, I still use traditional goldsmith’s techniques when producing my jewellery, and work directly in metal.
My approach to jewellery is rather sculptural. I consider the work from all angles and treat it as something that will be viewed that way. I believe the back of a piece should be as beautiful as the front.
What makes a design successful? A good design is successful when it is noticed. In our complex world filled with so much of everything, it is very easy for things to get “lost” in the mix. A good design distinguishes it self from the “general” or the “standard”.
Esthetics and functionality are equally important when assessing whether a design is good or bad. More often than not, a design is disproportionately one more than the other. The balance of both is required for a design to succeed.
Design and Industry work hand in hand. We live in a society of consumers and consumption. Now more than ever, we have an obligation to engage in responsible design, considering factors like a product’s longevity and environmental impact, materials and production methods.
The design field is certainly evolving very quickly. Computer aided design, material technology and development, and a variety of other factors have pushed design further and faster over the last decade. Our ability to to produce truly “new” things has been elevated by these areas of development. I have no doubt that over the coming decade, we will see things happen that we never thought imaginable.
My last exhibition was a group show at Milan Design Week, April 8th to 13th, 2014. The exhibition was called “The Jewellery House Meets Design”, organized by Amusingold, a new platform for connecting contemporary jewellery with the fields of fashion and design. My next exhibition will be another group show at the Museum Kunstpalast Dusseldorf from May 24th to July 20th, 2014
I am often inspired by nature and its relationship to geometry and mathematics. I have become obsessed with the Golden Ratio, and its prevalence throughout the natural world. Beyond interests from our natural world however, I read quite often about astronomy or astrophysics.
I live in Canada, and was born here. Having lived in other countries however, I have probably been further influenced by those experiences, rather than feel as though I have been greatly influenced by where I currently live. Unfortunately Canada does not have very well established design community, especially when it comes to jewellery. I often consider moving somewhere more connected with what I do.
I am an independent, completely autonomous. All of our jewellery is handmade, in house, from start to finish. While this is unusual in the jewellery field, all of our work and processes are conducted here including stone setting, which is commonly outsourced.
I think it is very important for jewellery designers to understand how jewellery is made or know how to make it. Far too often jewellery is produced by designers who don’t understand jewellery past the design stage, resulting in a poor overall result.
My design process always begins with something I see in my head. It is not uncommon for me to work directly from memory, rather than rely on a drawing. Certainly any of my technical work that requires calculation will have to be worked out on paper, but for the most part, I am able to design from beginning to end in my head.
I live in a very rural setting with my wife and dogs. We start our day walking and spend the remainder in the studio working. Being in the countryside gives us plenty to do in the outdoors when we aren’t making jewellery.
It is important for young designers to remember that they are their own best representation. It is very important to always be actively communicating your activities to the public. Be proactive and be prolific!
The ability to communicate with people is incredibly important, Whether you are trying to convey a design or concept to a potential client, or explaining the premise of your work to the public, it is essential to be able to do that clearly.
Beyond the standard tools and equipment of a goldsmith, and a plethora reference books of the subject, my toolbox consists of a variety of resources. I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for various things, Apple’s Aperture for photo handling, and the internet, which has become an indispensable reference tool for almost anything.
The reality is, trying to manage a new business is a full time job. Beyond the actual work required to design my jewellery, there is always an endless list of things that require attending to. Managing my time is certainly a challenge and I am usually work seven days a week.
My designs can take anywhere from a week to a month to get to the point where I am ready to start producing the piece. There are many factors to consider when making a piece of jewellery that all need to be incorporated into the “design”, such as weight, structural integrity and size or fit.
My clients tend to be people interested in both jewellery and contemporary art, and show an appreciation for hand made objects. I try to appeal to both men and women, and often create pieces that are intended to be worn by both sexes.
I have a project underway that I have already spent two years on. It is very exciting and should be ready to submit to next years A’ Awards. It involves a combination of new technology and traditional goldsmith techniques, but I can’t reveal more than that at this point.