About Silver Lynx
Hey. I’m Leona Smith and I am SilverLynx; in other words I am the artisan jeweller who designs and creates the pieces for Silver Lynx Studio here in beautiful Victoria, BC.
In 2007, I leapt from a stable, yet stressful and somehow stale government job to freedom, er, I mean a freelance, creative lifestyle. At first I taught yoga and dabbled in jewellery, but it wasn’t long before my creativity took over and I became a full time artisan.
From an early age, I loved a little bling: when I was a wee thing, I had to have pearls matching my mother’s set and I loved playing with her earring and button collection. My grandfather was a rock hound and I marvelled at how he could take a rock from the beach and turn it into a treasure for me.
I have always lived in my creative imagination. I have been designing and creating on and off for years as a hobby. Love bead stores. Love craft stores. Love craft markets. In 2007, feeling nostalgic for my grandfather, I went to the local rock hound show. I saw a demo of how precious metal clay works and I had the light bulb moment: “I have to do THAT”.
Now, I create organic, charming mixed metal beads and jewellery to bring out your beauty and creativity. West Coast living is my inspiration: the beauty of the natural shapes, patterns and people around me. Every piece is a treasure.
I love when a special bead or piece I have created connects with you.
Here you can learn more about jewellery, my creations and glimpse into an artisan’s life. Please get comfy and stay awhile.
About The Jewellery
I have been making jewellery for a number of years. I am Accredited as a Hadar's Clay Instructor and I also have a Level 1 Certification in precious metal clay.
My pieces are hand crafted from fine (.999) silver, copper, bronze and steel. The medium I use is metal clay – I started with silver Precious Metal Clay a product originally developed by Mitsubishi in Japan in the 1990's.
I design and handcraft every piece in my Victoria BC, Canada studio. Every piece is unique because each piece is made by hand. My hands.
Here is a description of my processes:
I work specifically in metal clay. Metal clay is fine particles of metal in an organic binder. Metal clay comes in lump, sheet, syringe and powder forms. When fired at high temperature, the binder is burned away, leaving pure, sintered metal. I currently work with silver, copper, bronze, and steel metal clays – alone and mixing them together.
The following is a description of the making of a patterned mixed metal piece:
Planning: This involves determining what the ultimate design of the piece will be – what shape, what type of pattern and what metals I will use. Depending on the design, I will often sketch it out and make templates (out of paper usually).
Forming: All the metal clays I use except silver come in a powder form, so the first step in forming is actually mixing the powder with water to get the right consistency of clay to work with. Once the clay is mixed, I roll it out and cut pieces to go in an extruder to make the mixed metal patterns. I extrude the mixed piece, and form it into the shape I want, either with my hands, using a template I have created or condensing in a pre-made jewellery mold. The piece is then dried fully.
Refining: Refining involves ensuring the piece is ready to go into the kiln for firing. First I ensure the dried pieces are put together properly – this can include setting on a freshly rolled piece of metal clay or joining them together to form a hollow form such as a bead. With metal clay, I seal any seams as necessary then smooth the surface and edges, with light sanding or a brush of water.
Firing: Metal clays are fired in a kiln at temperatures ranging between 1300F and 1800F. The firing time from start to finish is approximately 4-5 hours and involves a two stage process for the base metal clays that I use. I must program the kiln to ensure the metals I use in the piece are fired at the appropriate temperature to fully sinter.
Finishing: Once the pieces have come out of the kiln and are cool enough to work with, I test to ensure they have sintered. Fully sintered pieces are then finished with a rotary tool to ensure a smooth, even surface. During this finishing, the pattern in the metals becomes less prominent as the surface becomes smoother. So, once the surface is as smooth as I want it, I use Baldwin's patina to bring out the pattern once again. The piece is then sealed with to preserve the finish.
Assembling: Assembling involves anything from putting the mixed metal pieces on ear wires to creating a more complex multi-piece necklace or bracelet by wiring together or adding chain – whatever has been determined in the planning in step 1.