I recently had the opportunity to photograph Stacey Leunes, her work, and her shop, Garnish on Water Street in Charlottetown. I have been a fan of Stacey’s work for a while now, and even have my own Garnish Jewellery necklace, so I was really excited when Stacey asked me to come capture her work! Stacey is a total girlboss. She designs, fabricates, and sells her own work, as well as runs a retail store, Garnish, that features handmade goods from other makers.
Stacey introduced me to her metalsmithing tools, and gave me a look into the delicate process of soldering, and setting stones. I couldn’t get over how tiny everything was, and how she effortlessly was able to turn it into beautiful jewellery. Stacey exctiedly speaks about her process, so I thought I would get her to answer a few questions for all of you!
It’s hard to summarize all Stacey does into a compact sentence, but I asked her to try!
Stacey, can you give us a quick description of what you do as a jewellery maker/designer?
Stacey explains, “When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a trained metalsmith – which then always involves a very long-winded explanation of all the tools and processes I use to make jewellery. But in reality, I use metals such as gold, silver, and brass and also gemstones to create pieces of jewellery that reflect who I am and what I like. I always make for myself and hope that others see all of the heart that I put behind my work and that they like it too.”
What is your favourite part of the process?
“I love the magic of it. I can take a raw piece of silver or gold and just by using hand tools and metalsmithing techniques I can transform that metal into something beautiful. It surprises me every single time how it all comes together! The fire from my torch when I solder, the sound of the hammers, the tiny saw blade that I use to cut out intricate designs. I love all of it.”
If someone is thinking about commissioning a piece, what is your advice to them? What information do they need?
“I love doing commissions! It’s always a good idea to have a basic idea of what you’d like, whether that be a ring, necklace or earrings. Just something to go off of! I’ll then start asking you questions about what you might like, what kind of metal you prefer and even show you some gemstone options. I’ll also show you around the displays of jewellery that I have and see if anything sparks your interest. Then I usually have a good idea of your style and we can get started on a design from there. I also can use any old gold jewellery and melt it down, this is super fun because you get to wear any sentimental jewellery that you have but it can be transformed into something you’ll actually wear.”
What do you like most about operating your own business?
“There are so many great things! My most favourite part of owning my own business is that I work for myself (and my clients of course) I make all of the decisions and only answer to myself. It’s always such a pleasure to open up my door every morning and welcome in smiling people, it’s a honour when someone asks me to make them a special piece of jewellery with a story behind it. I’m typically a pretty quiet person but I’ve created this little world in my shop on Water Street that allows me to be who I want to be in ways that I never thought I could or would.”
So if you’re looking for a unique piece designed and handmade by a local artisan, check our Stacey’s Garnish Jewellery! You will be seeing more from Stacey and me in the future!