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Going with the flow: Canadian takes first place in Saul Bell’s bead category

Grand Prize
Grand Prize ““ Gold/Platinum’Corona/Halo’ by Robin Waynee of Santa Fe, N.M.

“I always consider the 3-D aspect in my work,” says Babic, who graduated from George Brown College’s jewellery arts program in 2006. “When we hold a piece in our hand we should be able to turn it around and admire the back, too. We walk around a sculpture to appreciate all sides of it. The same should be applied to jewellery.”

Appreciation for all sides of a piece of jewellery was also integral to the design that took the grand prize winner.

The idea for Robin Waynee’s bracelet—which is entitled ‘Corona/Halo’—is based on rings she made featuring rainbow moonstone with an open back hovering above a blackened silver band. The patina on the silver helps highlight the bracelet’s moonstones.

“[This gem] needs a black backing, which given the usual design methods, tends to look artificial,” says Waynee, who is based in Santa Fe, N.M.

Enamel ““ First Place ‘Iguana in the Garden’ by Kristin Holeman of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“Since this piece was built for this competition, I really wanted to push it over the top. Thus, I decided it needed to be reversible, a detail not worked out prior to first-round judging, as well as making the most challenging hidden clasp in my career. The all-diamond reverse side of the bracelet provides a stark contrast to the rainbow moonstone, yellow gold, and orange garnets.”

A three-time winner at the Saul Bell Awards, Waynee says her unique heritage—she’s part Native American (Saginaw Chippewa) and part German—is reflected in her designs. Although she did not grow up on a reservation and has never visited Germany, Waynee says both influences are expressed in her designs.

“I think my heritage comes through in my overall esthetic,” she explains. “I have very clean, sharp lines, as well as a high level of attention to detail that reflect the German side. The Ojibwe people used geometric repeating patterns and many floral designs in everything from basket weaving to beadwork and clothing. My work, though it isn’t recognizable as anything in nature, has symmetry and often a floral quality. The winning piece I think represents, in its way, all of these qualities.”

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Now there’s an argument for nature versus nurture.

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