From a sterling silver spool and beach glass glazed smooth from Mother Nature’s lapping waves comes a completely unique piece of jewelry created by Janet McIntyre. McIntyre is a Fernie local of 20 years who graduated from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and went on to major in drawing at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD).
From working as a silk screener and graphic artist to dabbling with watercolor paints, McIntyre has chosen a miniature craft with almost infinite creative possibilities and a rich history – jewelry.
“I’ve worked as a silk screener and graphic artist in the sign industry. When I was in college I did a whole raft of different stuff: print making, sculpture, textiles, jewelry, and photography. I’ve been in the dark room, pottery, I do dabble in a little bit of water colour [and] I do like photography still,” said McIntyre.
For McIntyre, the passion is in the process. Rather than spending a large amount of time on a single product that is so common with other artistic streams, she can create a finished product in a relatively short amount of time.
“I guess I am really a process person. What I like about this is I can make a piece in an hour or two and it’s out of the way. I have discovered that I am an impatient person and, although I love the process, a lot of times I wouldn’t like what I ended up with and think ‘oh man that was a waste of time’,” said McIntyre. “It’s just an immediate thing and I like that. I have friends that are painters and they will spend 40, 50, 60 hours on a painting and as much as I admire them I could never imagine doing that.”
Another perk to the trade is that her “studio” is very portable. The four pairs of pliers, bending templates, and raw materials fit into a bag that can go anywhere. Her studio has materialized from a bag on planes, trains and road trips.
“I like the portability of it. I’ve done it on planes, which since 9/11 I obviously don’t do anymore. We did a road trip to Edmonton last weekend and for six hours I was in a car making jewelry. So I like that aspect, it keeps me busy and I can do it almost anywhere,” she said.
Jewelry making has appealed to her love of all things small. Since she was a child McIntyre has marveled over the miniature people and objects from her dad’s model railroad collection.
“I was fascinated with those small little people and things. Maybe it’s just being able to put them in my hand but it’s the scale. I used to go to the store with him every Saturday and I’d immediately go to the dollhouses with the small stuff. I’ve always responded to small things, things I can put in my pocket. I am forever looking down while walking to see what I can find,” she said.
Janet McIntyre will showcase her work for the fourth year at Hearth, an annual holiday art sale hosted by local potter, Sarah Pike. The event is in its fifth year as a self-described “pop up gallery” where six local artists feature their finely crafted goods. McIntyre is excited to be apart of the event again. It gives her an opportunity to interact with other local artists and the art community.
“[Pike] does a bang up job. She removes everything from our house and sets it all up with some really good food and great company and it’s a chance to get to know other artists because I am a little bit insular,” she said. “So it’s a good opportunity to meet some more artists. There are two artists that I don’t know this year that’ll be nice to [meet].”
Hearth 5 will be held on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is called Hearth because of the burning woodstove, and mulled wine offered at the event. Hearth 5 is hosted at Pike’s residence, 1480 McDonald Ave.
The holiday art sale will feature two new artists – leather work and hand made lamps from Holly Kimola of Holly Horses, blown and fused glass from Katherine Russell, as well as pottery from Sarah Pike of Sarah Pike Pottery, printmaking by Michael Hepher of Clawhammer Press, paintings by Leanne Stothert, and of course, jewelry by Janet McIntyre.