Wearable sculptures of colour and fancy 

Jeweler Susan Remnant's work part of artists' silent auction at Sea to Sky Gala

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CATHRYN ATKINSON - On display Artistic jeweler Susan Remnant with her work.
  • photo by Cathryn Atkinson
  • On display Artistic jeweler Susan Remnant with her work.

Jewelry maker Susan Remnant's work is sculptural; even the smaller pieces show off her skills with shape and colour.

She has a lot of fun with her work.

"I do. I love colour, that's why I use enamels and I love to be very playful with the work," she says, looking around her Squamish studio.

One brooch, made for the Great White North show at the 18Karat Gallery in Toronto, is inspired by the life of Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson; others depict fantastical seeds split open by equally gorgeous sprouts — a hint of her love of nature.

These one-of-a-kind pieces are often made for special shows.

"There can often be a preconceived idea of what jewelry is. It can be really daring to wear a piece that is so different," Remnant says.

She holds up a large bumblebee brooch, metal cast and shaped by repoussage (hammered shaping and designs) and enameled with powdered glass.

"It's quite wearable, but it would take a certain kind of personality to wear it. It's bold," she says.

"There are a lot of different techniques with jewelry. It's quite a technical craft and there are a lot of techniques. A lot of jewelers specialize in certain areas. Often, a jeweler who makes a ring won't set the stone."

Remnant has also collaborated with other artists on jewelry. One series of rings came out of work with a fabric artist, and embeds felt and beads in a cast-metal surrounding.

"We decided to teach each other our processes. I had always wanted to play with felt," Remnant says.

"I like to incorporate other materials into the work, or unexpected elements or materials. I really like the idea of the soft and the hard of the metal of the felt."

Trained originally as a ceramist and printmaker, Remnant has been moving more into traditional sculpture and this has led to her first commission as a sculptor — with two small cast rabbits.

A pendant necklace by Remnant will be in the silent auction of artwork during the Sea to Sky Gala to raise money for Sea to Sky Community Service's (SSCS) new social services complex, Centrepoint, located in Squamish. SSCS is about halfway to its $3 million goal on the project.

Other artists taking part are Linda Wagner, Fran Solar, Jan Phelan, Judy McQuinn, Zoe Evamy and Toby Jaxon.

"We're very grateful to the many local businesses and artists who are supporting the gala," says Estelle Taylor of SSCS, in an email.

"They are also raising much-needed funds for Centrepoint, which will safeguard our ability to help individuals and strengthen the community for decades to come."

The gala takes place on Friday, June 3 atop the Sea to Sky Gondola. Tickets are $200 each (and eligible for a $100 tax receipt).

Remnant's work is also available in Whistler at the gift shop in the Audain Art Museum, the Gallery at the Maury Young Arts Centre, and at Circle Craft in Vancouver.

For information and tickets for the Sea to Sky Gala, visit www.seatoskygala.ca.

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