Handmade and Hot: Amanda Parker & Marian + Hazel

We’ve been admiring the work of the talented Amanda Parker for a while here at Gallant & Jones.

Take a look at her lovely jewellery and read the interview below…

Who are you and where is your workshop/store/studio? 

I am a graduate of the Craft & Design Program majoring in glass, at Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. The path that led me to these studies started out within the walls of the same educational institution, but in the study of interior design which I practiced for 5 years.  Marian + Hazel and Amanda Parker Design are my two lines and I have a home based studio in New Westminster BC. I sell online via Etsy (marianandhazel.etsy.com) and through stores both on consignment and wholesale across the Lower Mainland and in Toronto.


What is your studio like?

I have a small space set up in my home where I design, create, and assemble my work. It’s small but organized and has everything I need to make my pieces.

You have 2 lines, Marian + Hazel and Amanda Parker Design. Can you tell us a little bit about how and why each was formed?

I formed Amanda Parker Design after graduating from the Craft and Design program as a platform to market my glass based artwork and home accessories. Since then, the line has expanded to incorporate a variety of mixed media work, ranging from recycled glass planters to clay sculptural pieces. Despite the broad spectrum of materials, the line maintains a distinct aesthetic adhering to my clean design style and neutral colour palette.

Moving to BC from Ontario two years ago I wanted to expand on my existing glass jewellery collection and develop something fresh.  After plenty of experimentation I soon created the polymer clay collection.  To distinguish the new line of jewellery from the home accessories focus of Amanda Parker Design I created the Marian + Hazel brand.  The separate line enables the jewellery collection to be marketed independently, though the styling ties neatly into my overall aesthetic.

Why do you hand make your products? 

I think that for the pieces that I make part of what makes them special is the hand formed quality. On some of my jewellery items you can even see my fingerprints! I don’t think it is always absolutely necessary to hand make items but good craftsmanship and design is always essential.

What do you get out of it?

Going through the entire lifecycle of a piece of work is really amazing! Having an idea, then designing, sketching, creating a prototype and then creating the final product is really fulfilling. I love the fact that I am involved in every step of the process.

How long does it take to make your pieces? 

it really depends on what type of piece it is. Thejewellery is all hand sculpted but I try to approach my work in a logical manner, making certain types of pieces all at once and then moving on to something else. Sort of like a mini production line. The Endangered bird figures are pretty time consuming to sculpt but they are worth it and I find I am getting faster.

We love your beautiful sculptures of Canada’s extinct or endangered birds and owls. What inspired you to create them? 

Without going on an awkward political rant… the future of Canada’s environment and subsequently its inhabitants are in more danger now than ever before. Birds are an unfortunate first indicator of environmental issues as they are so sensitive to climate change and changes in their habitat. I was appalled to learn how many species are extinct, endangered or on the threatened list in Canada so this is my small way of honouring them and trying to help in a way that I can.

You donate to Nature Canada and also Breast Cancer Awareness. Can you tell us why you’ve chosen to donate to these particular organizations and what it means to you to be able to do this?

I think I sort of gave my reasons for giving to Nature Canada above but I also try to do seasonal campaigns for the Cancer society and breast cancer awareness. As a woman, Breast Cancer is a serious and personal threat and so much of the battle is early detection! If I can help the organization educate and make at least one woman more aware then that is great to me! By donating portions of proceeds it helps me to give and also makes the purchaser feel like they have helped in some way.

What new products do you have in mind for 2013?

I have been working on my Spring 2013 line and it involves some more embellished pieces incorporating fresh water pearls and chain tassels. The line is primarily neutrals like black, white and translucent clay.

How would you like your collection to grow? 

I would love to expand my clay work to create more installation art pieces! As for the jewellery I would love to just keep creating seasonal collections that are on trend, unique, and wearable.

And where else would you like to see it sold? 

I would love to someday have my work in every Province and Territory! Realistically though, maybe more representation in Ontario and Quebec would be cool!

What is the best thing about what you do?

Making my own schedule! I love the flexibility of working for myself but it also is challenging too as you really have to set goals and hold yourself to them.

Thanks Amanda!