This year for International Women’s Day, we would like to honour two of our newest collaborators: Victoria Harper and Victoria Poynton. Harper is a Kwakwaka'wakw artist who has been working with us for the past few years and Poynton is an Australian-born artist we have been collaborating with for just over a year. Both women are extensively talented, and we are proud to be able to showcase their stunning work. We get to sell jewellery by many amazing female jewellers but chose to feature these two to give them a warm welcome to the Artina's community!
I at first had a bit of trouble choosing a theme for this blog. We already have bios on these artists, and finding info on them isn't hard since they are so accomplished. I began to think about what they have in common, and the first thing that came to mind is that they are both very inspirational. Harper has made a name for herself in the male-dominated field of carving and Poynton forged a successful career while immigrating all the way from Australia. I decided to focus on what inspires these women to create their art, since they are so inspirational themselves.
Victoria Poynton was born in Sydney, Australia in 1984. She graduated from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Design. She met her studio partner and mentor in Halifax while she was participating in an exchange program at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Today, Poynton resides in Halifax where she works from her studio.
When asked about her fascinating use of lace, she told us this:
"When I was in university in Australia, my maternal grandmother gave me a piece of lace. It had once belonged to her mother, and my grandma had spent the time to unstitch it from a silk gown it was originally part of. I treasured this lace and wanted to preserve its memory. Around the same time, I had an assignment for class where we had to play with different textures in metal.
I took the lace and, using an industrial rolling mill (like a pasta press but with more strength) applied the lace to the annealed silver.
Fast forward 2 years, and I was travelling throughout France. I found a piece of 100-year-old Chantilly lace and fell in love with the patterns and delicate nature. This piece was the first to start the TORI•XO debut collection, Chantilly.
Looking back, my business was started on the foundation of women passing traditions and heirlooms down, generation to generation. Preserving the memories of traditional craft created by these outstanding women."
Poynton has told us that she is inspired by travel, textures and nature. These aspects are more than clear in her work with the wide array of styles to choose from, vintage lace embossing and floral shapes. The sterling silver blossom hoop earrings below are a great example of her affinity for nature, as well as the chain pearl rings. If you check out Poynton's page, you will see that a lot of her pieces include freshwater pearls. The natural aesthetic of these designs is only enhanced by the natural formations added to the pieces.
The influence family history has on her work, as well as Poynton's interest in textures, are apparent in the sterling silver lace-embossed heart stud earrings below. She uses vintage lace from France, originally created over 100 years ago in the town of Chantilly, to create the design on them. I love how this feature gives the lace a state of permanence, making something new and modern out of something old and traditional. The same can be said for the frill bangle, which utilizes an older style to create a piece that is chic and simple.
Victoria Harper was born in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. She has tribal roots in Alert Bay with the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation. She was a New Year's Baby born on the first of January 1979. Harper learned the mastery of the jewellery trade from her father, Charles Harper. His first focus in her teaching was on the shapes used in carving: ovoids, half cuts, U-shapes and split cuts. Once she was acquainted with the technical aspects of carving, she learned the design elements of Northwest Coast Culture. Over the years, Harper has established herself as a masterful and proficient carver. She is one of the prominent carvers in a growing number of female carvers in a male-dominated art form. Harper has conquered her hurdles effortlessly and has literally 'carved' a niche for herself in the traditions of Northwest Coast artists. She lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As a Kwakwaka'wakw artist, Harper is of course influenced by the traditional totems. Including many of the lesser-known legends in her work, you will find pieces on her page depicting butterflies, otters and frogs. This orca triple wrap ring can be used as a symbol for family, protection and longevity, as this is what the orca legend generally means to Northwest Coast Indigenous people. And the 14K gold orca, hummingbird and wolf bangle is associated with all of the totems that it features of course.
Below are two other pieces by Harper, both featuring birds. The 14K gold 4" tapered hummingbird pendant is a truly stunning piece. The dazzling gold and meticulous floral carvings really suit the hummingbird, as one of the things this creature symbolizes is beauty. In the next image, the sterling silver teardrop raven earrings shine in the grass! The raven partly represents creativity, fitting the artist herself. This animal is also associated with magic and mischief. To learn more about the Indigenous totems, visit our legends page.
Happy Women's Day!
We at Artina's would like to give a shoutout this International Women's Day to WBE (Women Business Enterprises). They are a fantastic resource for female business owners. As members, we get free advice and other benefits. After all the lockdowns and quarantines, it is now more important than ever that small businesses are armed with as much support and knowledge as they can get. To read more about the benefits of becoming a member, visit their website at wbecanada.ca.
We would also like to wish all our female readers and the female artists we collaborate with a Happy Women's Day! If you have the time, please take a moment to treat yourself, whether it be to a relaxing walk, some jewellery or a delicious dessert. Artina's has been a forever female-owned business, with over 30 years of different business owners and many female employees. We are all honoured to be able to showcase the amazing work of women artists across Canada.
To learn about more inspiring female artists, check out our artists page and/or our 2022 women's day blog:
Honouring Artists Hollie Bartlett and Honica | International Women's Day
Writing and photography by Danielle Mier.
Artist bios by Artina's Jewellery.
Dazzling pieces, and great article about very inspiring women ( put together by yet more inspiring women ) !
Happy Women’s Day !
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