For several months now a few Toronto based jewellers (Amir Sheikhyand, Alex Kinsley, Jay Joo, and Marie-Eve G. Castonguay) have been working on building a platform destined to informing a community interested in contemporary jewellery. For the occasion we have asked Marie-Ève G Castonguay a few questions about METALAID.
How did the idea for the platform come to mind?
Our main goal by creating the MetalAid platform is to stimulate the contemporary jewellery community in Canada. I have had this conversation many times: there is not enough visibility for this art form; not enough people know about contemporary jewellery; not enough people are interested. But then I realised that if contemporary jewellery is not getting the attention it deserves it may be in part because the community of art-jewellers itself isn’t doing enough. Sometimes you have to stop waiting and create the opportunities yourself. And for that to happen we need to work collectively.
I had the opportunity to show my work in Europe a few times and what struck me the most was how tight knit and supportive the contemporary jewellery community is over there. We of course have the same thing here but on a much smaller scale. Having myself gone from the jewellery community in Quebec, to Halifax, then Toronto, I realise that each little corner of our country has its own budding community of artists, yet there is little to no liaisons that exist between them.
By creating a common platform for everything that happens in contemporary jewellery in Canada and by holding events, workshops, seminars and artists’ conferences on a regular basis, we hope to create links between all these small communities and stimulate the environment. We hope to help strengthen the community of artists and professionals in contemporary jewellery and contribute to the development of the discipline.
Who is this platform for?
MetalAid focuses on the contemporary jewelry community all across Canada. Our goal is also to make known internationally what is being done here so we also hope to achieve a certain visibility among contemporary jewelry enthusiasts all over the world! And that’s what the web format allows.
The events we will be organizing will primarily be in Toronto because I and the three other organizers are here, but we could very well facilitate events elsewhere in the country. Personally, I have (obviously!) a big emotional affection with Quebec, so I will concentrate a lot of my energy there! On the other hand, we are still a very young project, and everything is done on a voluntary basis. We do not charge member fees or anything like that, and we are not a company or a structured organization. We are just a band of passionate people and lovers of contemporary jewellery!
What services will you offer?
In addition to providing information on the website and social media, we will create our own content. We will write articles and reviews of exhibitions, conduct interviews with professionals, etc.
We will also organize workshops on certain alternative techniques or traditional techniques revisited, seminars, artists’ conferences, etc. We want to work with artists from across the country and also bring in artists and professionals from elsewhere. Our first seminar is planned for next month and will be directed by Charon Kransen, gallery owner in New York.
Is there room for emerging jewellery artists on the platform?
Emerging artists are just as important as established professionals. For the past 5 to 10 years there has been an increase in interest for contemporary jewellery from jewellers. It is important to represent the new generation and stimulate it, and I believe that MetalAid has that potential. We want Canadian contemporary jewellery to be recognized and respected, and the next generation has the power to contribute to that!