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Welcome to York Makers

Our goal at York Makers is to provide Artisans from across York Region, Ontario with opportunities to grow their businesses, showcase their products and gain exposure in the local economy. This goal is achieved by producing juried art markets, facilitating artist led DIY workshops and giving back to the community.

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Tag: jewelry

Meet the Maker – Amanda Brittin

If you’re in the market for an inspiring and beautiful piece of jewellery, Amanda Brittin is your go-to! Read on to find out more about Amanda and how she comes up with her creations..

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I work with hammer and torch to create hand-forged rustic sterling silver, bronze and gemstone jewelry. With a background in Anthropology and Archaeology, I am very influenced by the jewelry pieces that have been excavated from ancient Roman and Viking sites and this has been the source of inspiration for my recent “Unearthed” series of bronze and silver work.

Although I no longer work in Archaeology, I still occasionally design and install museum exhibitions!

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

Form and function are very important to me! When I go about my day to day life, the pieces of art that I enjoy the most are the things that I “use”, the functional things that are handmade and beautiful and I can enjoy as more than just a piece of art on the wall. I love my visual art too, but I get the most pleasure out of things that I can actually use; things like my hand-thrown tea pot, my funky mosaic toothbrush holder and my lovely hand-made bird feeders. Over my years as an artisan making a big variety of artwork, from floorcloths to mosaics, concrete sculpture to jewelry, this has always been the thing that informed my work – make stuff that is useful and beautiful, whether it is personal adornment or a mat in front of a kitchen sink.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

One of the more challenging aspects of business is to keep on top of business development. I may make beautiful jewelry, but unless I can get it out there in the public eye, no one will appreciate it and sales will not happen. Keeping up with daily activity in social media and maintaining frequent contact with clients has been something that I have had to become quite disciplined with. I have noticed that when I am really busy with other things and don’t keep up with my Etsy listings, Instagram and Facebook feeds, my business can really lag. I have developed a pattern now, where I choose a certain time of day and make sure to post or be active at that time!

How long does the average item take for you to create?

The average sterling silver and gemstone ring will take me several hours to design, but once I know what I want to create, the actual time to make it is usually 2-3 hours. I find that the sketching and mulling over of a design idea is a time consuming part. Once I have solved the problem or come up with creative idea, then execution of that idea comes together fairly fast. Of course, there are always a few pieces that can take a whole day!

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have a very small and joyful studio space that is connected to my house. It is only 9×11 feet in size and I pack a lot in there! I have two work benches set a different heights so that I sit at one and stand at the other. All my electrical equipment and my torch for jewelry-making are attached to these two benches. A floor to ceiling set of shelving lines one wall for shipping and packaging and my music system. My products are nicely set up in a little alcove to the side for clients to shop. I still manage to bring in a couple of lovely plants and have some great artwork on my colourful walls. My favourite aspect of my studio is that I have set up several bird feeders outside my big studio window and I have a pond out beyond those – what a view! How could this not bring joy to me as I work away creating jewelry?

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I think that the biggest reason for my success is my willingness to work on custom jewelry, largely driven by clients’ special requests. Even an Etsy inquiry as general as, “I saw this rounded triangular ring on my last trip to Latvia…could you make something like that?” will get my creativity flowing and I will try it out for a client with no expectation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is not quite right, but the times that it is perfect and the client is thrilled, that makes it all worthwhile. I love to experiment and have no interest in mass production work, even though it is more financially feasible, so customized orders are my main business! I would say that customized and made-to-order account for half my business!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I am an avid bird-watcher and traveler with a passion for hiking in the American southwest. If I have a bit of free time during the week, I love to enjoy the wonderful forest tracts in York Region and will head out with a friend for a hike! I usually take my camera as there are almost always birds to see and capturing one or two on a hike makes the outing just perfect!

You can find Amanda’s gorgeous creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can follow her online!

Instagram: @amandabrittin

Meet the Maker: The Tangled Merchant

 Here on the Meet the Maker series we hope to introduce you to the local artist’s and creators of the York Region. For episode 4, I want to invite you to meet Tazra Miller of The Tangled Merchant.chevron

Your beautiful jewelry speaks for itself with a beautiful elegant style that catches your eye, but tell us a bit about yourself and the lady behind it:

I started making jewelry as a teenager and studied Material Art and Design at OCAD University. I was selling my work at sixteen and  returned to it over the years as a passion and additional source of income. After getting married, having children and running my own business, I decided to slow down, take a breathe and  reassess my career path. Now, I am thrilled to be back doing what has always been an interest of mine.

geode1 I love the earrings you make. Where do you draw your inspiration from for your jewelry? Would you say you have a specific style?

Thank you! The current collection of work is inspired by a popular interest in raw gemstones, mineral specimens and a resurgence in fine vintage / antique jewellery . Although I would never compare my work or skill to an antique jeweller, I do draw inspiration from the delicate details and intricate settings. I try to use delicate chains, fine textured rings and small findings to contrast the rough crystal textures I like to work with. I have always been a bit of a rock hound and am always looking for ways to showcase the raw beauty of stones alongside the refinement and delicacy of fine jewelry design.

Do you do this full time? If not how do you balance your day?

I try to work around everyone else’s schedule. It is a fine balance that I am constantly trying to get just right. More importantly I am grateful to be readily available for my children alongside having a  creative outlet that reminds me I am multifaceted.

What led you to open an etsy store?purple 

I am an etsy shopper! I buy my gifts, art and clothes  on etsy.  I had an online store for months and was having a very difficult time getting traffic to my website. I felt like a small island in the middle of nowhere. It only made sense to join a larger community, especially one I use for my own personal shopping.

What are you plans for your shop down the road?

My goal is always the same, post more work and take better photos! Alongside my jewellery I produce accessories and bags that need to be posted. Right now those pieces are only being seen at shows.

You are one of our lovely Event & Market Coordinators at the Etsy York Region team, can you tell me a bit about what you do and what you have planned for the year ahead? (If there isn’t much we can take that portion out, I know this is still fresh)

wine barI have always struggled with doing artisan shows in York Region. I’ve always found an issue with the location or how it was promoted. I am very excited to be a part of this show because I know the location is amazing and that it will be promoted on the Etsy platform.

Books or Movies?

I’m binge watching on netflix right now! An episode fits perfectly into my schedule!

Check out Tazra’s beautiful creations with the links below:
Instagram: @the_tangled_merchant
Etsy: TheTangledMerchant