Buying a ring for a loved one is not for the faint of heart. With so many different stones, metals, designs, sizes and price-points, a trip to the local jewellery store can be just a tad overwhelming. Luckily, there's The Devil's Workshop , a 2 year old boutique/workshop nestled in the Chocolate Factory Lofts across from Trinity Bellwoods Park .
While the boutique side of the store stocks off the shelf rings and jewellery made by a number of local, professional artists, it's the workshop half that I find the most intriguing. Among the many classes on offer like Silversmith for Beginners , Lost Wax Casting and Glass Fusing , the Wedding Band Workshop ($240 per person, or $320 for a couple) is the most popular, if not also a relationship saver. Held every Saturday from 12 to 6pm, students (mostly with no prior experience) make their own bands in silver or any karat of gold from scratch to finish.
Owner Sarah Wan told me she created The Wedding Band Workshop a few years ago as a couple's class for a Valentines Day promotion. Over time, people kept calling for the class so she made it a regular item on their menu. According to Sarah "The class is great fun and students are always so impressed with themselves in the end. I love teaching the wedding band workshop because it's like teaching them a magic trick. They have had no prior experience and somehow they are able to make these perfect bands! It's a kick!"
To find out more about the goings-on at The Devil's Workshop, I recently connected with Sarah who happily answered my questions below. Read on:
What inspired you to create the store?
It's hard to explain. It was something I just had to do. I was teaching at a couple of places downtown while making jewellery in my home studio but never made a steady job of it. Opening up my own shop somehow gave me job security and control of my future. As scary as it is to run your own business, I feel better this way.
Who is your typical customer?
My typical jewellery customer seems to live in our neighbourhood , is female, maybe 28-45 and has an appreciation for something that is designed and made by an artisan's own hand. My workshop students fall in the same gender and age range but tend not to be the same people that buy my jewellery.
My workshop students are from all over the city and are taking the class for many different and interesting reasons. Some are looking for a hobby. Some have more than dabbled in beads and want to take their jewellery to the next level, and some just do it for the love of jewellery.
What sort of jewellery do you have for sale in the store? What are your most popular items?
I have my jewellery as well as jewellery by other professionals in the city. I carry unique handmade pieces. Among the most popular items right now are my ringlet necklaces. Everyone seems to like them. I do a lot of custom work, engagement rings and wedding bands.
Are there any new workshops or initiatives planned in 2008?
I have just added Open Studio Friday - Self Directed . It will start in January and take place once a month. Students who have taken a few classes with me or the equivalent can come in and work on whatever they want in a classroom setting. I am looking forward to adding enameling to our workshop soon. Can't wait!