Graduate portrait: Aurélie Guillaume

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Aurélie Guillaume’s work celebrates the history of enamelling and its longstanding tradition of storytelling. Using traditional techniques, her work revives the medium in a contemporary context informed by street art, comics, pop art and counterculture. Through this process, her illustrations transcend the two-dimensional realm of paper and are given new life in the physical world as wearable objects. Guillaume studied jewellery design and metalsmithing at the École de joaillerie de Montréal and at NSCAD University. Her work has been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions across North America and in Europe, including SNAG’s “Momentum Student Exhibition” in Boston. She received the BKV Prize presented by the Bavarian Crafts Council in Germany. Most recently, she was selected as the winner of the L.A. Pai Gallery’s 12th National Student Jewellery Competition, in Canada.


What motivated you to continue your studies at NSCAD?

I was not sure what I wanted to do once I graduated. During my third year at École de joaillerie de Montréal, Pamela Richie, a jeweller and professor at NSCAD, came to give a conference about her work and offered information and pamphlets about the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. When I started do to my research on the school and I discovered the work done by the students, I was overwhelmed by a wave of excitement. I was under the impression that the approach taken by the professors was more of an emphasis on ideas, the exploration of non-traditional materials and on the development of artistic and not so much on the technical side of things. I then decided to throw myself in this new adventure, convinced that it could only bring me positive new exciting experiences! And it was a safe bet, today I would recommend everybody to take the same path. I do not think I would ever have been able to accomplish as much as I have, if I did not continue my studies there.







Sculpture, 2015
Enamel, copper, sterling silver, fine silver, powder coating

Rendez-Vous Rosé
Brooch, 2015
Enamel on copper, sterling silver, fine silver, powder coating, steel, micro glass beads.


How was your experience living there?

At first, I was only going to stay for a year and a half because NSCAD recognises the credits I received at EJM and in the end I stayed there for three years because I loved it so much. At first I was nervous because of my level of English, but I quickly overcame my fear and embraced my French accent. I also realized that I was not alone, NSCAD is a university that welcomes many foreign students; 50% of them are from China, many are from South Korea, Arab countries and South America. It was not always easy to understand or to be understood, but with determination, I eventually integrated myself and made friends with whom I have forged strong links. Now I speak fluent English, which is a very good thing!










What I enjoyed the most about my training at NSCAD was the possibility to select courses unrelated to the jewellery program. Therefore I took silk screen printing, binding, illustration and the history of comic books. As for the program itself, I totally loved it. I was able to follow classes entirely dedicated to enamel, silversmithing or even ceramic techniques applied to jewellery. There was also special summer course, such as; manipulation of alternatives materials given by Despo Sophocleous, a class that teaches you to make eyewear, laser cutting and how to use a lathe. The possibilities are endless and that is what makes the richness of the school. Not to mention the professors; Pamela Richie, Kye You Seon, Lilian Yuen and Tom Ferrero are the four teachers of the program and I was fortunate to work with all of them. They are artists with amazing careers, all of which have a unique perspective on jewellery and transmit their passion with ease.



What made you fall in love with enamel?

Before making jewellery, I firmly believed that I was going to become an illustrator, I always loved drawing whimsical characters and saw myself eventually producing children’s books. Therefore I enrolled in a graphic program that ended up not pleasing me at all. I did not like the fact that the entire creative process was done on computer. Then I decided to change disciplines, to allow myself to work with my hands and that is how I entered the jewellery program. I enjoyed it, but thought it lacked the color I was looking for. I then followed an introduction to enameling on copper offered at L`École de joaillerie de Montreal by Christine Yelle and I immediately fell in love with the technique. This is also one of the main reasons that pushed me to undertake studies at NSCAD, for they have a program entirely dedicated to enameling. Naturally I followed all the courses available and evidently it became my trade mark, it allows me to combine my two passions, jewellery and illustration.








Tulipes et petits poils
Brooch, 2015
Enamel on copper, sterling silver, fine silver, powder coating, steel, micro glass beads.

Brooch, 2015
Enamel on copper, sterling silver, fine silver, powder coating, steel


How is your return to Montreal going?

I could have not imagined a better return! I found a beautiful, well equipped studio that I share with three other talented jewellers. I am also incredibly lucky to have found work with an artist, Luanne Martineau who is also teacher at Concordia University, for whom I prepare enameled pieces that she will then incorporate into a sculpture of felt and paper. This sculpture will be presented next April in Calgary. On Saturday’s I now assist Pilar Agueci who teaches in the continuing educational program at ÉJM and I find it very rewarding. With all this I still have enough time for myself, I dedicate it entirely to the creation of new pieces. I believe that it is important to keep a creative momentum going……. I also feel particularly lucky this year, because I have been the recipient of numerous awards including 12th National Student Jewellery Competition Exhibition organized by the L.A. PAÏ gallery, which gives me the opportunity to have a beautiful solo show next summer in Ottawa. I have a lot of work ahead of me this year, but it makes me happy, as well as being surrounded once again by my family, friends and colleagues!


Lisa Paï, Aurélie Guillaume and Mary K McIntyre


How are you preparing yourself for SOFA Chicago?

In a very intense manner! I have worked non-stop since September on the creation of four new brooches that will be presented exclusively by the Gallery Noel Guyomarc’h. I am delighted to be participating in such an event so early in my career. I am also very happy to be attending the show in Chicago. I believe it will be a vacation well deserved and I will have the opportunity to meet artists that I admire and attend some great seminars.


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