i. I work as a custom goldsmith, creating one of a kind, wearable art.
ii. I do this creative work because:
I have always been interested in artistic pursuits, and even while working retail and in banking, I took evening classes to keep connected to my creative side. I finally decided to take the plunge in 1990 and returned to school to learn the necessary skills and then started my business in 1995.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Discipline, perseverance, precision, curiosity, pride and the love of beautiful, well-made things. Oh, and confidence!
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
The arts are quite notorious for not paying all that well, and I find it difficult to objectively price out my work. I would say that now with computer-aided design and technology, it is competing with machines that make it even more difficult to succeed.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
I was quite a loner, despite being surrounded by six siblings growing up. I read a lot, escaping into imaginative books. I also started drawing at a young age, especially pencil portraits of models in magazines.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
I was very impressed with Dali, as a child. We had a book of his art at home and I used to pore over the exquisite details of his paintings. Ancient Egyptian artifacts also fascinate me.
vii. Training that has helped me in this career:
Aside from the two year Jewelry Art and Design program at Vancouver College, I apprenticed with a European goldsmith for three years before going out on my own. I also think there is a definite correlation between physical endurance and mental stamina, so I make sure to stay physically fit as it makes the tedious, demanding aspects of jewelry making more bearable. I actually schedule workouts as if they are a work appointment. It’s that important to me.
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Designing and creating based on what you think people will buy. I think that’s a sure way to kill the muse. Don’t think about the money, do it because you love creating. Authenticity is at the heart of anything worthwhile and most people pick up on it instinctively.
ix. Some proud career moments:
The best feeling is when a couple or family make me their go-to jeweller, celebrating their engagements, weddings, birth of children, anniversaries. It goes beyond the piece or the money made from it; it’s about establishing relationships and also contributing to family heirlooms. It gives the work substance.
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Be brave, stay focused and follow your heart. Also, stay open minded and always willing to learn and improve your skills.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
I would like to move away from commissions and just design collections that inspire me. I would also like to teach at some point. It would be great to pass down some of the craftsmanship and skills I have learned.
xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
Hélène Bourget Designs Website
Circle Craft Gallery- Granville Island