Featured in the Georgia Straight

Morocco - Antique Brass Filigree Earrings
I was recently interviewed by the Straight.com.  The article is below and can be found here.
By Sarah Rowland,

Clean, simple, and classic: that pretty much sums up Jen Ellis's jewellery—which may not instantly grab the attention of some of the more eclectic fashionistas out there. But that's okay, because there is definitely a market for jen ellis designs.

Her delicately textured, sterling-silver studs ($28 to $32), for example, are so minimalist in aesthetic, they're perfect for office and hotel workers who have strict dress codes. Her trend-proof, single-pendant necklaces ($28 to $44) are great for accessory-wary people who have no desire to layer up like a walking chandelier (not that there's anything wrong with that—I do it all the time). Her heart-shaped rings ($20 to $25) are so sweet and earnest that little girls who want to have a flash of bling just like Mommy can wear them without looking like one of those creepy pageant-baby victims.

Yet, as the Vancouver designer explained during a recent sit-down interview with the Straight at a West Side café, she didn't originally set out to create such a simplified, lightweight line.

“It wasn't my vision, necessarily,” she admits. “When I took the silversmithing class [at Vanterra Education], I thought I would incorporate silver into big chunkier pieces, and then I just found I liked working with delicate silver and letting it speak for itself. It didn't need a lot of the stones or the accents that I had before.”

Another bonus to keeping her pieces frill-free is it's cost-effective—especially since silver prices have recently gone through the roof.

“It allows me to keep my price point a bit lower, which was always sort of my goal going into this,” says Ellis, who sells her jewellery at Bird on a Wire Creations (2535 Main Street), OhKuol (2439 Granville Street), and various markets, and through Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/cartwheel. “I could never find affordable jewellery, so if I can keep it simple and classic, I can keep the price point a lot lower.”

One of the best buys she offers is the Roco Set ($40), a collection of five very pretty, itsy-bitsy, highly polished, and slightly varied stackable rings. As well, there are the aforementioned heart-shaped rings with tiny little bands—perfect for LGs.

While Ellis may have perfected delicate simplicity in her designs, when it comes to her own personal style, she's all about pieces with some weight to them.

“I do love the chunky,” admits Ellis, who incorporates small touches of gold vermeil and freshwater pearls into her work. “When I go to Blue Ruby or any other jewellery store, I'm still very drawn to it.”

That said, when she busts out a bigger, pricier piece from her own collection at one of her market tables, she gets a ton of positive feedback but, alas, no sale.

That's why she's working on integrating some brass and copper for a future line of antique-looking items that will be both bold and affordable.

In the meantime, however, she's focusing on her month-long Portobello Petite stint at Rize Pop Up Shop (Kingsway and East 10th Avenue), where jen ellis designs will share some retail space from next Thursday (August 4) to August 27 with four other local artisan businesses: eco-fashion label Elroy Apparel, beaded-jewellery label Street Cat Designs, children's clothing line LittleMoSo, and the tasty delights of Beta5 Chocolate. To be selected as one of only five artists to help celebrate Portobello West's five-year anniversary is a bit of a coup for someone who didn't think her newfound skills as a silversmith would turn into a business quite so soon.

“I thought this would still be the learning-process part of it,” says Ellis, who's only been honing her craft and selling her wares since 2009. “But I've gotten such good feedback since I started, so I'm just going with it.”