Apr 30, 2008

Diamonds Aren't Forever.

"Diamonds Aren't Forever"
This necklace (shown almost finished) is for a show that Cynthia and I were invited to. The theme is social mores.

Cynthia and I joined forces 5 years ago to create a line of contemporary jewelry named Proper. The idea to collaborate arose from a desire to challenge the perception of what is seen as precious and wearable today. This show was a perfect opportunity for us to create a fun commentary piece about the ideas that drive the mainstream diamond industry.

Working in traditional methods, but with a non-conformist approach to jewelry design, we are very deliberate in our choices about why we work with glass and silver.
There are many manufacturing processes that are toxic and harmful, or facilitate economic and political strife in other parts of the world. The economics of mainstream gemstones and “precious metal” jewelry has traditionally been one of power, not so much simple supply and demand. By choosing to buy “Proper” jewelry, this power shifts directly to the artists making the work, and gives the wearer the modern advantage.

{It still needs a few more tweaks and there is a ring (not shown) part of the set. We will trim all the long bits of ribbon when we install...}

Show Details:
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto. ON
Opening - This Friday May 2nd 6pm -9pm
Runs to June 23rd

Apr 21, 2008

Apr 20, 2008


TANK fire + metal
Spring & Summer Classes - Flameworked Glass Beadmaking

NEW Play with Fire + Colour $40 per 40 Minute Lesson
Most Saturdays between 2pm and 5pm

Experience the magic of molten glass in this fast paced lesson. Expert teachers will walk you through the basics of using a torch to wind molten glass around a mandrel into simple beads. This class is all about the experience, a taste of working with fire, or simply something fun to do while visiting the Distillery District. Students choose a bead they like and we help them create it! Expect to make several beads that will be kiln annealed overnight for strength and ready the following day, or sent by post along with your sample bead from us. Runs most Saturdays starting June 14th through the summer. Reservations are possible.

Beginner Bead Making $285
4 Weeks - Wednesday evenings 6:30pm to 9:30 pm
June 25th to July 16th or
Aug 20th to Sept 10th

In this class Amy will teach the basics of shaping mandrel wound glass into beads using an oxygen propane torch. In this fun class learn to make traditional patterns and designs on beads based on ancient glass techniques (from Europe and Asia.) This class is geared to students with no experience or those looking to review fundamental flameworking techniques or to crafty folks looking to try something new and different. It is important to have a solid foundation and that's what this class is about. Each student can expect to finish with a collection of their own beads and a general knowledge of glass beadmaking, aka flameworking.

Hollow Beads $95
Sunday June 15th, 10am to 2pm + 2hrs Free torch time

Learn to make structurally sound great hollow beads! In this fun focused class Jill will walk students through the process leading you to satisfying results! Make both small and large hollows with thin even walls. You'll try several styles of hollows including some with colourful tube cores, small trapped "baby" beads inside and simple exterior decorations adding extra flair to these weightless pieces. Hollow beads can be very useful when designing jewelry in particular because they provide plenty of volume without the weight! This class includes a bonus two hours free torch time!

Focal Beads $95
Sunday June 22nd or July 20th, 10am to 2pm + 2hrs Free torch time

In this class Amy will teach students more advanced techniques showing how to execute more elaborate, detailed and funky designs in glass. Amy will focus on techniques such as stacked dots, encasing, using silver and palladium leaf, feathering, furrowing, stringer decoration and sculpted forms. Emphasis will be on learning a variety of techniques so that each student may take away something different and create something uniquely theirs. These beads are ideal as the "focal piece" in other jewelry projects. Some previous experience required. This class includes a bonus two hours free torch time!

Encasing $95
Sunday June 29th , 10am to 2pm + 2hr Free torch time

Learn how to encase your beads in layers of clear or coloured transparent glass. Find out how artists trap designs under the glass creating an appearance of floating patterns or images. Encasing adds an extra slick look to all your beads, playing on the wonderful optical quality of glass. You will learn thick layer encasing techniques in this workshop, making designs on a core bead, then magnifying them with a thick even layer of clear over top. From tiny dots, stripes and triangles to fun free flowing designs, the sky's the limit! Some experience required. This class includes a bonus two hours free torch time!

Studio Time Rental for Glass or Silversmithing
$15/hour or $120/10 hours (all TANK students automatically pay $10/hour)
Hours : Wed to Sun Noon to 5pm, Thursday evenings 6 to 10pm (or by appointment)

Tank fire + metal is equipped with 8 flameworking torches and 5 silversmithing stations. Studio time rental includes use of torches, kilns, mandrels and tools for beadmaking. Bench rental for metalsmithing includes use of basic hand tools, foredom, grinders, polishers, and bench pin. Renters must supply their own glass and or metal for projects. Call for details about where to purchase supplies. Pre-booking is required for all studio time.

Private Lessons with Amy Johnson
$40/hr (min 3 hr) or $225/day

Private lessons are a real benefit to students offering advantages such as one on one learning and the ability to create your own curriculum based on what interests you most. With Amy's vast skill set she is able to work with students helping them gain confidence in their own abilities in a fun, safe environment.
Amy graduated from the Sheridan College Crafts and Design Program and has taught throughout North America at schools and studios including Sheridan College, The Living Arts Centre, Algonquin College, The Bead & Button Show, The International Society of Glass Beadmakers Conference, Fusion Conference, and many other private studios including TANK fire + metal. It has been over 11 years since Amy started working with glass, and even longer since she has been making and selling her own jewelry. Her work has been published and shown widely throughout North America and Europe.

Apr 19, 2008

Pickled clouds

Some new beads...I am anxious to make more and make a juciy summer necklace!

Apr 16, 2008


This is the craziest house, not far from my place... what a collection!

Apr 15, 2008


I'm off to the burbs for the rest of the day. I'm teaching my second class (which starts tonight) at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. This one is a ten week long class for beginner beadmakers.

You can find out more on the LAC website

Apr 14, 2008

Working her magic.

Here's Cynthia preparing to solder a section of a fancy candle stick holder, a replica of a turn of the century piece. It has a fleur de lis pattern.


Yay, we've finally got it done. Look over to your right for a brief run down, and find more details on my website.
Look under the "learn" section here

Spring Greens...

A new necklace I'm working on. The beads are smaller than you think!
My first needle point! So much fun. It's nice to have a portable hobby:)

Colour Therapy...

We recently finished painting some areas of the house that needed a new coat or just a change.

My lovely beading nook, showcasing some of my wonderful handmade purse collection, and not my messy table!

And our fun kitchen with new blue walls that I love to experiment in, making yummy things to eat. This morning I made peanut butter bars with chocolate gnache icing from a new chocolate cookbook. They were too hot to ice when I had to go to work so I'm still waiting to taste my handy work. The other wall with the insane garden is a digital image that Trevor created and had printed really large so we could cover the wall with it. It's also on one of the front doors of our home.

Apr 13, 2008

Paul Stankard

Last night Jill and I went to the opening at The Sandra Ainsley Gallery for a new PAUL STANKARD exhibition. His work is incredible and if you have time you should go check it out. The show runs until May 29th.

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes!


I'm not sure where to start... so much going on, and I'm sorry for lagging in posts for so long. I am going to be better from now on!

About 5 years and much love sweat and memories, we're moving to a bigger and better space. It's still within our same building, we will have two full walls that are all windows and a much more primo space! It happens August 1st. So in the mean time we are busy getting all our ducks in a line. Watch for BIG MOVINGS SALES!

We're happy to announce that Kyla Viteck has joined TANK. Kyla is a metalsmith who makes beautiful jewelry and is also on staff at OCAD. Later this summer she will be adding some more silver classes to our roster as well! Yay! Welcome kyla :)

I am going to post new classes in the next day or so.

Heather Trimlett from California is coming to teach in our new space mid Sept. Sign up today! $400 plus $50 kit fee (tools you keep)

Yes I've been busy, lots of great new stuff, I'm slowly getting it on line. You can check my etsy page for some of it, and stay tuned for lots more.

The best bead show around! We'll be there selling our goodies, and I'll be teaching two classes again this year, woohoo!

We are in the works of announcing some new scholarships and awards for students who want to take our guest artists workshops, and also for graduating students from OCAD, Sheridan and George Brown. Stay tuned for more details.

Personal Spaces

Some new pod beads I've been working on. I have a vision for them, you'll see soon enough!


Personal Projects

Finished my bracelet from class... now I'm working on my own custom pendant tops which I'm carving from wax, casting, cleaning up and then recasting.