Maker Series: Interview with Shona Rae
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
I am an artist that uses goldsmith techniques to create one of kind and limited-edition sculpture and jewellery. I own and operate Shona Rae Studios and the Blackboard Gallery in the cSPACE King Edward facility in Calgary.
2. Why is consciously made important to you? And how do you integrate it into your business?
I consciously choose to use materials such as precious metals that are ethically sourced, and whenever possible I support local and /or Canadian distributors for tools and consumables.
Re-cycling and working with natural materials is a way for me to feel connected to our planet. Long walks in nature is refreshing and grounding for someone who spends so much time inside the world that is my strange brain.
Everything I make is one-of-a-kind- and limited, whether it is low-end production, small series of fashion rings and pendants, carved jewellery and sculptures or commissions. Working with intention and focus on the present and keeping the positive energy flowing is my business model.
When I co-create with clients on commissions the exchange of ideas is tripled. When you design with someone else it keeps the working techniques fresh and constantly forces one to work with ideas and techniques that would not otherwise get used. Most of my commissions are made from recycled jewellery as well which keeps materials out of the landfill and in circulation.
In my studio, I have up to 6 assistants that work for me in trade for studio space to create their own work. This keeps the momentum in the studio fresh and dynamic. I also teach up to 4 students in self directed studies each week and that keeps me on my toes as well.
3. What creative fodder is on your radar lately?
Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Leonard Coen are fodder for recent work. Intense and insightful lyrics coupled with their alternative view of our society inspires me to think outside of my personal box. The current surreal paintings of JakeJoy and Kurt Cobain have opened doors into my new series of dolls made from bear, wolf and coyote skulls.
At this time, I am creating a new body of work for the Artist Ranch Project for the upcoming Stampede. Zombie Steer pendants, Voodoo Cow bolos and interactive jewellery sculptures made with buffalo bones gathered from the Sunnyside buffalo jump here in Calgary are feeding my creative juices.
I am also making 2 commissions with bone and recycled gemstones.