Cameo is an ongoing series featuring Canadian jewellery artists. here, they share their latest thoughts and insights, and give us a peek into their practice. 



jan smith


Vancouver and Salt Spring Island, British Columbia


Describe your current work/practice in one sentence.

My work evolves from an intimate connection to place and careful observation; within my work I aim to memorialize and celebrate the transient, unnoticed moments of daily existence.

What are three things/ideas that inspire you?

Plant materials, Architecture, Art.

What other things do you do besides your jewellery practice?

I’m building a house with my husband: it’s a rather large project as we are doing the majority of work ourselves, along with two tradesmen.  We’ve designed it ourselves. We made the doors and windows, and cast large concrete tiles. I’ve been focused on the landscape design and installation. It's quite satisfying to see the garden take form.  
I’m an avid gardener: in some ways it's my nemesis. Living on the west coast, you can garden year round. Thus, as inspiring as my garden is, it can also be a distraction.
I’m a devoted walker: it provides an enormous source of inspiration and helps centre and ready me for the studio.

What is a favourite piece that you’ve made and why?

That’s a tough one…I’m not sure I have favourites but rather a significant one is 'Layered Boxes' (2015).  It was the beginning of an in-depth exploration of sifting fine mesh enamels on chased and altered copper surfaces.  I focused on one colour so as to develop an intricate understanding of kiln temperature and firing time and their affect on the enamel surface and colour.  I was interested in the effect both things had not only on the enamel itself but also on the underlying surface and oxides and how you could alter the enamel by controlling those factors.  I documented the experimentation with careful notes, so as to be able to reproduce the effects. From that piece has come the body of work I have been involved with for three years.

Layered Boxes (2015)
Sterling silver, copper, enamel, liver of sulfur patina

Memoria Series (2016)
Sterling silver, copper, enamel, liver of sulfur patina, steel pinstem

What word pops into your mind when you think of Canadian art jewellery?


What is coming up next for you?

I am looking forward to attending SNAG seeing some colleagues I have seen in a while, seeing great work and hearing all the presentations.  I will have some work in a group exhibition at SNAG and I’m working towards some other group exhibitions later in the year. As chair of the VMAA exhibition committee I’m involved with an exhibition at SNAG in Adorned Space, we’re excited to showcase some BC and AB work there.  The committee is also working on exhibitions for 2019 and 2020 and we should have more information on these out soon.

Following SNAG I see some more focused work time, I want to do some material exploration and experimentation with paper, printmaking and clay.  I’ve recently purchased a used intaglio press so have been working on some monoprints and paper related work. Additionally I have been reexamining some early work that involved printmaking and paper, using some heavy rag matt board and forming it.   I’ve some applications in so am excited to see what unfolds. Later in the summer I am scheduled to teach an enameling class in Seattle, WA.

Published: 2018/06/15