Interview with the Ottawa Jewellery Collective

Interview with the Ottawa Jewellery Collective

Artist Goldsmith, Chayle Cook, shares her inspirations and passion for metalsmithing and jewellery making in her interview with the Ottawa Jewellery Collective.

Why did you choose jewellery?

I initially went to art school at NSCAD University in Halifax with the idea to take design, but in my first year I also took a blacksmithing class. I fell in love with the material and the process of forging metal with a hammer. I knew I wanted to continue with metal, so I entered in to the jewellery department and found that I filled all of my sketchbooks with design ideas for jeweller, rather than for my design classes. I think I am so drawn in by jewellery making because I can be an artist while still being a designer and craftsperson. Jewellery allows me to pursue all of these passions.

Where did you learn your craft?
I first learnt metal working at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax. After graduation, I worked in Ottawa for different jewellery stores as a goldsmith and sales associate. After a few years, I longed for the art world of jewellery again and was accepted to an artist residency in the Jewellery Department at the Estonian Academy of Art in Europe, where I studied stone cutting, stone setting, and produced a body of work with kiln-fired enamel.
If you could invite a few people (living or dead) to your studio for a day, who would you ask and why?
I would love to invite my aunt Merrill and my mom's best friend Christie, both of which have been very influential as women role models. They both passed away before I had my own studio, but I feel that they would be cheering for me now. My aunt was a very beautiful and elegant woman with a big heart for caring for children and ran her own daycare business. Christie was a artist and curator for several museums here in Ottawa, and was a fantastic business woman. I think I would have them over to model jewellery and dance to disco-funk. :)
List three words that describe you as an artist.
Daydreamer, Driven, Exploring

What else inspires your work?
I am inspired by the process of working with metal. Forming metal through hammering, and watching it go from nothing to something intricate and beautiful. My forms are influenced by the shape of the body. I am looking to design pieces that accentuate the curves and proportions of the face, neck, wrist, hands. I am influenced by nature patterns and negative shapes that they produce. Overlapping tree branches or fields of chaotic flower patterns.
Why is the Ottawa Jewellery Collective important to you?
The Ottawa Jewellery Collective is important to me because when I first moved back to Ottawa after graduation I found it really hard to get started here. I feel that together we can be stronger and happier than when we are isolated. It doesn't take much to help each other out, even in the smallest ways like chatting over a drink about jewellery making, that we find eureka moments! It is also beneficial for our clients to have one place to go when they are looking for high quality jewellery made in Ottawa. I think that it is exciting to see a group of talented people working together. Only more good things can come from that!

What part of Ottawa and surrounding areas do you call home?
I live in Orleans and grew up exploring the bike paths and forests by the river. I have lived in other parts of Ottawa (Hintonburg, Lowertown, Glebe), so I often feel at home visiting my favourite restaurants and cafes in other parts of the city.
As a Canadian Designer, has Canadian culture or environment influenced your work?
Yes, I think it has. Being a Canadian woman, I feel encourage and supported to pursue my own business in Canada as a goldsmith. I have to thank the businesswoman and goldsmiths that have proceeded me for their efforts to make way for women to enter this field in Canada. I also give thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit that has built communities and programs for young business people to build their success.

Describe a technique you use in your work.
I use a metal forming techniques with hammers and anvils. The process of hammering on metal will stretch or compress the metal and create its new form. I use my favourite slim hammer to form most of my pieces. Its waterfall-like texture has become the signature element on my pieces. As I hammer with this slim hammer, it stretches the edge; I then flip the piece over and continue along the next part of the edge. This creates an wave like effect that is reminiscent to natural growth patterns of leaves or lichen.
What do jewellery and a good party have in common?
In the making of them, they are both loud, tiring, and fun. Afterwards, in the days and years to come, they hold your best memories with the people we love.
Read more about the talented jewellery designers in Ottawa on the collective's blog:

December 01, 2015 by Chayle Cook

Interview: CTV

  CTV Morning Live: Television Interview
Thursday November 14, 2013


On Thursday morning I was delighted to feature my jewellery collection and hammering techniques on CTV Morning Live, with host Lianne Laing. 



November 14, 2013 by Chayle Cook
Tags: Interviews

Interview: Mejuri

Interview with Chayle Cook: Designer of the Perfect Complement Earring Disks

Photo by Dante A. Penman


As the designer of Mejuri’s current top-selling piece, The Perfect Complement, we had the pleasure of interviewing Chayle Cook to learn more about her interests and hobbies, the inspiration behind her pieces, and how she got her start in the jewelry world.



What inspired your start in the jewelry world, and what types of jewelry have you worked on previously?

I really fell into the jewellery world after my first year of university where I had taken some blacksmithing and welding classes. I really loved the way that metal moved and worked, and just knew that I had to keep going. So I went into the jewellery department, where I found that I really loved the fine and delicate work of jewellery making. Its precision and seemingly endless potential for making beautiful and iconic things really captured my imagination. I started out in an artistic based environment, but since graduation I have found myself really interested in designing jewellery for people. Making everyday kinds of jewellery, but that still has some kind of artistic essence and soul.


Do you have a favourite piece of your own? 

I really don’t wear a lot of jewellery myself, but I have a few favourite pieces that I wear daily and then a few pieces that I save for special occasions. I think that, in being such a young designer, the best is still yet to come.

How would you describe your personal style?

I truly love simple elegance, but I also love luscious colours. I find myself drawn to classic forms, but then I like to give them my own contemporary twist. You’ll find me in something like a dark blue cotton cardigan or cashmere sweater, natural white linen t-shirt, and slim dark jeans, but with something else colourful, like a patterned silk scarf, coral leather flats, or a red stone band ring.

Are there any jewelry design icons that you admire?

I am always thrilled by the magic within the Van Cleef and Arpels poetic time pieces. I admire how the fresh and whimsical are captured within these rich and beautiful pieces.


What are some of your other hobbies or interests?

I love to draw. I love the directness of drawing and it’s ability to look heavy or light― to slowly build up an image or to capture something immediately with a gesture. I think that I find jewellery ideas in my drawings.


As a Canadian designer, has the culture in Canada had any influence on the design of some of your pieces? Are there any other cultures that you have drawn inspiration from?

It’s hard for me to pin point what Canadian culture is, as I feel that there are so many different cultures and traditions living in the same country. I think though, that Canada has influenced me with it’s landscape. I love the sound of snow under my feet in the winter, snowy branches, and long trails or highways with just nature on either side of me. I love the freedom and entrepreneurship in Canada, and I think this openness is truly a great inspirator and motivator for my work. Maybe it is just the feeling of freedom, openness, and independent motivation that has shaped me and my work.


The Perfect Complement is a truly unique concept, what was the inspiration behind your best-selling piece?

I wanted to make something that I would be happy to wear everyday. I admire diamond studs for their classic beauty, and I wanted to find a way to make them look bigger and give them more styles. Sometimes, I can get caught up in designing and toss away some good options for a piece. In this piece I wanted to keep the options open and create something that would keep this freshness. I liked the idea of the piece being free and able to renew itself everyday.


The Perfect Complement is a very versatile earring and can be paired with a range of attire from casual to formal wear; do you often design jewelry that can be paired with a variety of different looks?

I have started to explore this idea of versatility mostly in my commercial pieces. It is an interesting challenge to work into a design. I like to keep the options open for certain pieces of jewellery because sometimes there is not only one perfect solution, but an array of combinations to be had. I also liked the idea of having a “favourite” piece of jewellery that you find yourself going back to again and again because it just works with everything.


How did you hear about Mejuri? What enticed you to participate in our design challenge?

Mejuri found me! I received an email through my website from them introducing me to their new concept for crowd sourced jewellery, and I was really interested. I thought it was a great opportunity, and I’m really glad that I took the chance to submit my ideas. It has been really nice to be part of a new circle of jewellers who share their opinions and give feedback. It’s also a great challenge to submit your ideas out to the public and watch how they do. It is such a different venue than one on one consultations or selling your work in person.


What advice would you give to designers submitting designs in the future?

I’d say that designers need to not only think about the creativity in their pieces, but also in some of the basic matters like cost and assemblage. Like with my earring set, there are no moving parts or custom stones to be cut, no places that are hard to polish or clean, the piece does not use lots of material, and there is really nothing to break or get worn out on it. It is also nice looking, which seems obvious, but how it looks on the body is really important. Is it the right size and proportions for the body and the face? Does it flow nicely with the body, or does it highlight something beautiful about where it is worn? I think of jewellery sometimes as becoming like a total work of art, like a sculpture, and the body is the architecture that holds it.



Read More from Mejuri's blog...



The Perfect Complement Earrings (Set of 3 Pairs)


Shop Online- Mejuri



April 05, 2013 by Chayle Cook
Tags: Interviews

Interview: Jewelum

Interview with Jewelum: Modern Jewelry


Jewelum: What is your most favourite tool?

I have this favourite hammer that I modified for my silversmithing pieces and I love the look of it’s marks and how well I know it’s effect on the metal. But if I could call my hands a tool, I would definitely say that they are my favourite. They are the most direct and reliable tools. 


Jewelum: Who were the people that mostly influenced your working process or that have given you some unexpected and enlightening guidance?

I think that it must be my professor, Kye Yeon Son. In university, I did an independent study with her. I think this is where I first really got to know myself and my own work. She was very insightful and really showed me how to see my work and grasp the forms that I wanted to make. Her approach really left an impression on me.


Jewelum: I saw many beautiful enamelled silver brooches on your table. What attracts you to the enamelling? What the advantages or disadvantages of working in this technique?

I think I love enamel because I love to draw and it is a lovely way to add colour to my work. Unlike precious stones, the enamel can be an image, like a painting or drawing captured in a glossy gem. I like that it is so authentic feeling, unlike plastics, it has this feeling of being real— in it’s heavier weight, crisp sound, and glossy flowing texture. There is just something really magical and luscious about enamel and the potential it holds. The down side to working with enamel is that is it very fussy and particular. It will crack, or get bubbles, or be a different colour than you had hoped for. A very gentle, precise, and patient attitude is needed.


Jewelum: Some jewelry artists don’t care about wearability and do not even wear jewelry themselves. What about you?

I really care about wearability. I think it is a fascinating challenge that jewellers have to make something wild and beautiful, but also comfortable and conscientious for the person who wears it. Admittedly, I wear only a few pieces regularly. I have my favourites, which are mostly classic looking shapes from afar, but close up they have my own artistic flare.




March 30, 2013 by Chayle Cook
Tags: Interviews