Adam Kveton Photo Vancouver Island Metal Jewellers Guild founder Valerie Harty stands in the new guild’s studio in the Oceanside Community MakerSpace.

Shiny new Parksville guild looks to welcome jewellery-makers

Graduate of NIC founds Vancouver Island Metal Jewellers Guild

A brand new guild based out of Parksville is looking to become a hub for jewellery-makers in the area.

Began in the fall of 2018, the Vancouver Island Metal Jewellers Guild already has about 40 members, a studio with shared tools in the Oceanside Community MakerSpace, and monthly meetings after founder Valerie Harty wanted to connect with jewellery-makers in the area.

“I just kind of put an advertisement out there, ‘Who’s interested in getting together?’ And our first meeting happened,” she said, sitting in the guild’s studio space in the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) building where the MakerSpace is located.

Having moved from Calgary where she was a member of an active rock club with its own jewellery studio, Harty said she took North Island College’s (NIC) Metal Jewellery Design program to expand her skills.

But an aspect of the jewellery-making process is that you’re often alone, she said.

“The personal part of making jewellery is very private, and you just work and you work and you work and you work, but then you leave your jeweller’s bench and you just want to talk about what you’ve done all day,” she said.

“So I really, really appreciate all the people that come and want to talk about (jewellery making),” said Harty.

That first meeting, asking only for donations and holding a raffle for stones and some jewellery tools, drew 42 people, Harty said.

“I was surprised, but I knew it, you know?” she said of the turnout. “It was sort of a public confirmation, but I just had so much faith that it was going to be positive.”

Since then, the guild is now taking paid members, and has a corporate sponsor in Andrea Valis with Royal LePage, said Harty.

Now the guild exists on paper, she said, as well as in the studio and at monthly meetings. The next of those is on Feb. 26 at the MAC (133 McMillan St., Parksville).

Harty said the goal of the guild is to share knowledge, grow its tools available to members, and grow its numbers.

“We have so many things to inquire about. Where do we get our tools, where do we get our stones, where do we get our gems, where do we get our support?” she said.

Much of that knowledge can come from members themselves.And there’s already a culture of knowledge-sharing going on, both in the guild and in the MakerSpace studio itself.

One member began taking measurements of the guild’s jeweller’s tables so she could build one of her own, but was looking for some help with the actual construction. Harty’s husband offered to bring the woodworking skill if the guild member brought the wood and enthusiasm.

There’s also a variety of types of jewellery-making represented by the guild’s members.

Many of the members come from the NIC program Harty took, she said. And while she creates jewellery by cutting out pieces from sheets of silver and making use of a variety of stones and gems, another member has begun to specialize in engraving, she said.

“(Dan Walker) is a graduate from that (NIC) program, and they teach you a small component of engraving,” said Harty.

Though engraving tools are expensive, Walker’s interest in the tools and engraving itself grew. Since then he’s gained various tools and taken a variety of other courses.

“He bought this huge microscope so that he could now also see the fine work he’s doing. So he looks like he’s some kind of a NASA technician, but what he’s making is the most beautiful engraved pendants and rings.”

Now, Harty said she’s hoping to share the knowledge base and resources the guild already has with more members. From creating a website or learning how to sell your work on Etsy and other platforms, to various other kinds of jewellery making, there’s a lot of expertise that guild-members are willing to share, she said.

The upcoming Feb. 26 guild meeting runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, contact Harty via vharty@live.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People tab ‘Roaring ’20s’ as theme for Parksville sand sculpting competition

‘Topsy Turvy’ and ‘Celebrate!’ also considered for 2020 beach festival event

Businesses asked to join Parksville 75th Passport Program

City to hold birthday celebrations from June to August

Blues and jazz icons to play in Parksville

Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley at Ground Zero

Oceanside Generals secure top spot in VIJHL’s North Division

Hockey side will face Kerry Park in first round of playoffs

Ballenas Whalers clinch Island high school girls hoop championship

Parksville squad advances to AAA provincials in Langley

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read