I am always on the look out for new product ideas and I am especially interested in creative collaborations in the craft world. My definition of a good collaboration is where the two or more makers jump start each others' creative process and they come up with something that would not be possible otherwise. Potter Alexis Templeton is someone who consistently is setting herself new challenges and it seems like she has found a good match in up and coming jeweler Susan Lee Studios. They both have an affinity for the natural world and its small gems like seashells - Alexis has worked with midnight blue mussel shells and Susan with cross sections of a nautilus. They are also both drawn to crystals, and the myriad of patterns found in nature's textures.
This is Susan talking about how she worked with the porcelain pieces by Alexis:
I've received great feedback at craft fairs from my customers on our project. So many of them are familiar with Alexis' pottery, and because the crystalline glaze is so decorative, the idea of taking home a bit of it in a piece of jewellery gives them an opportunity to showcase it more publicly than they otherwise would be able to on her dinnerware. I think there is also an appeal in obtaining the workmanship of two craftspeople in one object of fine craft.
I always eagerly await new cabochons, as they challenge me to pursue new directions with my jewellery designs. First I must consider the weight of the cabochon and decide what type of jewellery it might be appropriate for since the clay itself is not light, and the yet crystals need room to grow in the kiln so Alexis cannot make the porcelain cabochons very small. I try to interpret the pattern the crystals have made in the glaze onto the metalwork in some way. Sometimes they have suggested Queen Anne's Lace or frost, another time it was a butterfly's wings, or a chameleon's eyeball. I then manipulate my silver, bronze, copper, & brass to fill in the details of the "story" that I see suggested in the glaze.
With her typical business flair Alexis showcased the new product line with a "See How It's Done" demo in her studio/shop. That's a great way to bring in existing customers for a return visit as well attract new customers.
Susan has also Facebooked about the event and posted a photo album. Here is the link she has provided:The best place to see the whole series of Crystalline Collaboration pieces is on my Facebook Page. The link to the relevant photo album is here:
At the time of our initial See How it's Made demo, I also wrote this blog post: http://susanleestudios.blogspot.ca/2011/07/crystalline-collaboration.html