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Saul Bell Awards: Canadians make their mark at annual competition

Based in Nanaimo, B.C., Frunze is one of three Canadians winners at Rio Grande’s Saul Bell Design Awards. Justine Quintal of Carignan, Que., and Justine B. Gagnon of Repentigny, Que., captured first and second place in the emerging jewellery artist category. This year’s awards saw two other Canadians’ work honoured. Toronto’s Shuang Feng was a finalist in the both the gold/platinum and alternative metals/materials categories, while the judges named John Carnes a finalist in the silver/Argentium silver category.

Named after the company’s founder, the competition is now in its 16th year. Rio Grande announced the winners at a celebration dinner held in May during the Santa Fe Symposium in Albuquerque, N.M. A panel of judges chose first- and second-place winners in the following six categories: gold/platinum, silver/Argentium silver, metal clay, enamel, hollowware/art objects, and alternative metals/materials. Prizes were also handed out in the emerging jewellery artist category for designers 21 years and younger. 

When designing jewellery, Frunze says her goal is to elicit an emotional response from its owner and all who see the piece. She says ‘Adore,’ which was created using bronze metal clay, is representative of her work, incorporating archetypal symbols as a way of initiating the emotional discussion within the viewer.

“I believe art is a form of communication that extends far beyond the spoken word,” she tells Jewellery Business. “It has the capacity to evoke different interpretations based on the various emotions a viewer may experience. Since symbols create a subconscious reaction, my objective is to capture this attention and to direct it toward the viewers’ inner feelings.”

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