FC Designer Spotlight: Blackjam: Objects of Designed Happenstance

Blackjam: Objects of Designed Happenstance is headed by designer Jennifer Morris. Jennifer’s unique jewelry is impeccably hand sewn by herself at her studio, utilizing embroidery and bead weaving. All of Jennifer’s designs are one of a kind using vintage beads, buttons, cabochons, reconditioned bits of costume jewelry and fabric scraps she gets from her fellow designers. Jennifer has been doing needlework since her childhood. What stated out as a way to entertain a child when going though major surgery and illness became a vocation. She has always been interested in and inspired by needlework of the past and what is going on with modern textile arts. Jennifer attended Sheridan College: School of Craft and Design were she majored in Textile and was also a Artist in Residence at The Textile Studio in Harbourfront’s Craft Studios. She has been to Paris and seen the embroidery of the Haute couture houses, and has studied the Lunéville
embroidery technique used in the House of Lesage. She has tried her hand at many medias and always goes back to her needles and thread.

Jennifer takes her inspiration from many places. She loves the history of design, art and popular culture. She loves colours and how they play off each other and is drawn to texture and how that can work in design, putting her love of textiles into her jewelry design.

FALL FEATURE ITEMS:
Scarf Brooches – Scraps of scarfs make up the petals of these multi coloured brooches. These brooches can dress up any outfit. Attach it to a hairband and you have a fascinator for that holiday party. The scraps come from the dresses in the past spring and summer dresses by Paper People Clothing.

Kumihimo Series – A upscale version of the friendship bracelets you wore as a kid. Necklace and bracelets are make of a braided cord using the Japanese technique of Kumihimo.* Beads are then hand-stitched onto the braid. They are finished with a clasp and a charm on the end to give them an adult feel. Wear bracelets stacked on your wrist just like you did when you were young! All pieces are one of a kind due to the nature of their design.

*Kumihimo: The most prominent historical use of the cords by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their lamellar armour and their horses’ armor (barding). Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori jackets and obijimes, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).

Q&A with Jennifer Morris of BlackJam:

How long have you been designing/where did you get your start?
I have been making thing since my childhood. I was sick as a kid abd in and out of hospitals so crafts became the way I entertained myself. I had a line of hand painted jewellery when I was sixteen and I sold it in a local store near our family cottage.
I studied textiles at Sheridan Collage School of Craft and Design and was an artist in resident at Harbourfront Craft Studios. I have also have shown my work in galleries over the years. Though I make jewelry I still consider my work textiles as I use a needle and thread to create the work. I love making things with my hands! Throughout my life, with all its ups a downs, my work has help me focus on something bigger than myself.
When I got sick with Breast Cancer I decided that life was too short to not do what I loved doing. And what I loved doing was making things. It even helped me survive the cancer in some ways. I always had something to do when going through my treatments. I would see others and they didn’t have anything else other than the sickness. I always had my work to think about and even when my hands shook because of the chemo I just knitted and crochet till I was better. To me making is the equivalent to breathing – I need to make things to keep me sane.

Where did you find your inspiration for this collection?
I get inspiration from everything – from the book I am reading, to movies or television to a pattern caused by rust on a car. You can find ideas everywhere – you just need to open your eyes a see what’s out there.
I love to put my sense of humour and or whimsy in my jewelry so you can always find something just a little off in all my work. But mostly it’s about colour, texture, pattern and how they work together.
The flower brooches were inspired from the scraps of fabric that Jennifer of Paper People Clothing gave me. These are made from what was left over from the Scarf Dress in their Spring/Summer collection. When i saw them they just said they needed to be big flowers!
The Kimohimo bracelets came from a conversation with Joe the manager of FC Roncey about making upscale friendship bracelets and this is what I came up with.

If you could dress any celebrity who would it be?
Helena Bonham Carter or Cate Blanchett

What is the most rewarding part about having your own line?
Getting to live the life I always wanted. It’s hard don’t get me wrong but getting up everyday loving what I do is all I ever wanted and seeing others wearing my jewellery. We create our work in such a vacuum in our studios, so seeing and knowing others like and enjoy what I do is a great feeling.

What has been the best part of your Fresh Collective journey thus far?
There is too much to even talk about! Some of the best things are Laura-Jean and what she has given me in friendship and mentoring has been invaluable. I have found my voice as a designer and I am able to do one of a kind work that I love and find the audience of people that enjoy and understand what goes into work like mine. The other great thing is the great friends I have met on this journey. Some were co-designers and some were customers but they have become friends too.

 

FC Designer Spotlight: Curious Oddities

Toronto jewelry designer Kat Shura was born in a century-old log cabin in the wilds of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Surrounded by a community rich with artifacts of the early pioneers and settlers, she grew to have the heart of a dreamer and the spirit of an adventurer. Through her work, she loves to marry the natural with the mechanical, drawing unexpected beauty from the mundane.

Kat’s ever-changing collection of Curious Oddities is always an eclectic mix of romantic, whimsical and elegant designs paired with fine workmanship, quality materials and exquisite detailing. Crafted as one of a kind or limited run pieces, the collection is made up of found objects, glass, resin, stone and beautifully hand-oxidized or plated stamped brass.

Designs to spark the imagination, pieces to treasure.

FALL FEATURE ITEMS:

Hand verdigrised brass maple leaves The leaves are machine pressed from solid sheet brass and are oxidized by hand to create the beautiful shades of green and brown verdigris.

Feather pendants – Set in copper and oxidized brass and glass settings, the lovely feathers were all hand gathered by me here in Toronto and are completely cruelty free as they were natural molted.

Q&A with Kat of Curious Oddities:

How long have you been designing/where did you get your start?
From childhood I’ve enjoyed making my own jewelry, clothing and costumes and have experimented with many different materials and techniques over the years. In February 2008 I opened my Curious Oddities Etsy shop as a part time venture while I continued to fill my days as a freelance floral designer. After two and a half years of very receptive customers and wonderful shows I quit my other jobs in September 2011, in order to focus full time on Curious Oddities.

Where did you find your inspiration for this collection?
The colours and motifs of the season are always the base inspirations for each collection: in this case, Autumn leaves, acorns and molted feathers paired with copper, bronze, shades of rust, ochre and emerald. Currently I’m in love with the rich reds, browns and textures in the semi precious stone fossil jasper and the lovely greens and browns of grass turquoise so I’ve worked them into this fall’s collection.

If you could dress any celebrity who would it be?
When I see photographs of Florence Welch, the singer from the band Florence and the Machine- I always think “oh my gosh, how amazing would it be to have her wearing my jewelry” I’ll confess though that I’m mad for redheads, but she also has such a lovely, ethereal, bohemian style that I adore.

My first pick thought, would have to be Drew Barrymore, who I’ve always had a fondness for. Her look and style shifts seamlessly from curvy playful pin up, classic vintage glamour to California style bohemian and I think I would have a piece to suit every outfit. I think my collections would overall speak to her fun, full of life personality as well.

What is the most rewarding part about having your own line?
It’s a dream come true to make my living treasure hunting, creating jewelry and curate collections to share. I’ve spent so much of my life being a bit of an outsider, so it’s truly wonderful to have the things that bring joy to my life be treasured by others as well. To watch people have those moments of reflection, happiness and connectedness with things that I have found, compiled and created makes it all an absolute pleasure.

What has been the best part of your Fresh Collective journey thus far?
Working with so many other designers has been priceless experience- having a group to share advice, triumphs, support and feedback with. I also really love to curate my in-store jewelry cases, crafting vignettes of colour, themes and texture. When I worked at the Kensington Market location I would quietly listen in on peoples conversations as they would explore my display, just to see what they were drawn too- what spoke to them.

*Curious Oddities is available at all three Fresh Collective locations

FC Designer Spotlight: Odd Bird Designs

Odd Bird jewellery is decidedly quirky yet fun to wear.It is a collection consisting of random items such as game pieces, geometric shapes, lockets, cuffs and whatever else catches the designers eye.The pieces will get noticed, therefore perfect for those who want to stand out from the flock! The Odd Bird is actually a human named Tara who is a long-standing member of the Fresh Collective and also works in the animation industry.

FALL FEATURE ITEMS:

Brass cuffs featuring Alphonse Mucha’s zodiac lady and a greyhound. I chose the Mucha art image not only for the Zodiac signs but because the lady is a red head (us red heads stick together!) The other cuff is a vintage star map image of a greyhound (or maybe a whippet?) representing the Canis Major constellation. I’ve always been fascinated by the stars ever since I was a kid and the dog star was always one of my favourites.

 

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The Star domino necklace features the classic tarot card image hand-printed & coloured on the back of a large domino piece. The card is the 17th Trump or Major Arcana in most traditional tarot decks. It represents renewed hope, inspiration and discovery.

Q&A with Tara of Odd Bird Designs

How long have you been designing/where did you get your start?I’ve always been creating things ever since I can remember but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago I got serious about it and founded Odd Bird Designs as a registered business.

Where did you find your inspiration for this collection? For this Fall one of my themes is “Follow the Stars”. It’s inspired by constellations, astrology and divination….all things that have always fascinated me. Plus my name means “star” in Sanskrit so it seems appropriate 🙂

If you could dress any celebrity who would it be That would be my favourite red head, Christina Hendricks. I love her Joan character in the Mad Men series!

What is the most rewarding part about having your own line? I love seeing people on the street wearing my jewellery…it’s tempting to say “Thanks for liking my work!” to them!
What has been the best part of your Fresh Collective journey thus far? Getting feedback & suggestions from both customers and FC designers….they all have contributed to help Odd Bird become what it is now and I am very grateful for it.
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What to Wear Wednesday – Lunch Date

 So he asked you out to lunch! Great! Easygoing, informal – a lunch date is a great way to get to know someone. Then your mind starts spinning about wardrobe choices – you want to look sexy, but not too sexy (it is DAYTIME after all), you want to be comfortable but still polished. The whole “accidentally sexy” look is one I’m personally always striving for!

What to Wear Wednesday - Lunch DateWhat to Wear Wednesday – Lunch Date by freshcollective featuring china glaze nail polish

Here is a little outfit I threw together that is casual and feminine but with a little rock and roll edge (my favourite thing to add to any outfit) that is sure to turn heads.

Base your outfit around a dress – one that’s comfortable but flattering with a fun pattern. The dress above by Mandala is a great option, not too low-cut, not too short, but still very flirty and in a great fall pattern/colour combo (available online now!)

Add some boots and a leather jacket – I’m not talking lace-up, vinyl thigh high boots with a 6in stiletto heel or a beat up biker jacket with chains – just a nice pair of knee-high fall boots and a classic leather jacket to add a splash of sex appeal that’s still daytime appropriate. (Boots in set by Miz Mooz – available at FC Roncesvalles, Jacket available at Joie.com)

Keep makeup and hair simple – a nude or pale peach lip gloss and a simple cat eye (think Christina Hendricks, not Amy Winehouse) will do the trick!

Finish with a touch of sparkle – a pair of earrings with crystal or rhinestones and some metallic nail polish (fall trend alert!) will add just the right amount of shimmer and sparkle to balance out the leather accessories. (Earrings by Sugar Rush – styles available vary by location)