Velvit Welcomes Captve
Jade Boutilier, the imaginative designer behind Captve, discusses the time developing her aesthetic in Florence, her perspective of the slow fashion movement in the jewelry industry, and her relationship with the color black.
Velvit had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Montreal based jewelry designer Jade Boutilier to hear more about the root of her inspiration for Captve, her casting process, and the sentimental pieces of jewelry in her personal collection.
Velvit: What is your personal history with jewelry?
Jade Boutilier: I’ve always relied on jewelry, rings specifically, as a means to express myself. All through my adolescence I was a bit of a chameleon with my clothing but I wore the same rings constantly. Over time, wearing multiple large silver rings has become a bit of a trademark of mine. I still don't feel like myself if I leave the house without them on.
V: Was there a turning point that guided you into learning jewelry design?
JB: For me, jewelry design is as much about the process as it is about the finished product. After I took my first metal-smithing class and discovered the amount of time and precision needed to make one simple solder joint, I was hooked! I love the challenge and I’ve become obsessed with trying to better understand the trade ever since.
V: Where did you learn the jewelry making process?
JB: I majored in jewelry design at OCAD University in Toronto for two years, however my second year was spent studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I was the only jeweler in the class and the professors were painters, so I had to refocus my attention on concept and aesthetic instead of technical skill. This forced me to experiment a lot and I quickly found my personal style. Since then, I’ve moved to Montreal and have yet to go back to school.
V: How did you come upon the name Captve?
JB: The name Captve is translated from Michelangelo’s Prigioni series which I saw while studying in Florence. I was immediately taken with the unfinished bodies of work and inspired by his dramatic attention to detail. His quote, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it” is the essence of Captve. Using the lost wax casting process I am able to approach jewelry using his same philosophy.
V: What is your process like from conceptualizing to creation?
JB: Concept is huge to me. Having studied jewelry at a University that wanted to rename itself, “University of Imagination” you can only assume we were heavily encouraged to have a strong concept behind every project. Personally, I tend to look back to the Renaissance for my initial concepts (as I am slightly obsessed). I’ll focus in on a specific painting or piece of architecture from that time period and work from there.
V: Your most recent collection is entitled RUIN. Which particular aspect of the Renaissance did you use to inspire this collection?
JB: The Ruin collection draws inspiration from the Roman Forum in Italy. While visiting, I found the simplistic beauty created by the crumbling of such grand marble structures a beautiful reminder that nothing last forever. I wanted to produce a jewelry collection that could evoke that same sense of nostalgia. I used the texture of broken marble to represent it.
V: Can you talk more about the lost wax casting process for those that are not familiar with the process?
JB: The lost wax casting process (also known as "investment casting”) is an ancient technique that has evolved over time to become one of the most common ways to replicate 3D shapes in metal. Though technique varies from foundry to foundry, the basic concept takes an original wax design and covers it with investment to create a ceramic mould. While the mould is cooked in a kiln, the wax burns out and you are left with a negative space in the shape of your design. Next, molten metal is poured into the mould and left to solidify. Once solidified, the mould is submerged into cool water. The temperature change causes the investment to disintegrate leaving you with a metal replica of your original design.
V: From your perspective, in what way would you say the jewelry industry differs from that of fashion?
JB: I approach the jewelry industry with the mind set that it’s one based on the longevity of its final product in both the physical and emotional sense. High fashion, in contrast, is a fast paced industry lead by seasonal trends permitting little or no long term emotional attachment to individual garments.
V: The slow fashion movement has becoming more evident over the years in the fashion industry. How do you think jewelry designers can contribute to following and practicing the slow fashion movement in their production process?
JB: Jewelry designers can contribute to the slow fashion movement by maintaining a “made to order” selling structure. Customers may have to wait an extra week or two before receiving their purchase, but it ensures an eco friendly footprint and also helps maintain the quality of product.
V: What are some of your favorite jewelry pieces you own other than your personal work?
JB: Honestly, I don’t wear much jewelry aside from rings. I have a sentimental necklace that my father gave my mother and has since been passed down to me, but that’s about it.
V: Do you have a particular piece that holds a personal memory?
JB: The first piece I ever carved probably holds the most memory. I carved Venus from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and casted it in sterling silver to make a pendant. It was then that I discovered my knack for carving.
V: What is your relationship with the color black?
JB: I’ve been nicknamed “Funeral” over the past couple years and have since lightened my hair to ease my colour palette, but I won't give up black. Black is too reliable.
For more information on Jade Boutilier and Captve, please visit our artists' page and her pieces in the COVET curation (coming soon).