1st Place - Emerging Jewelry Artist
Just out of college, Justine Quintal has already developed an artistic voice that guides her work. Though she has been making jewelry since she was a child, she completed formal studies at l'École de Joaillerie de Montréal (Jewelry School of Montréal) this year. She currently resides in Carignan, a small town close to Montréal, Canada, where she is working on developing her line.
MARLENE RICHEY: TELL US ABOUT YOUR WINNING PIECE, "L'OISEAU DE LA NUIT."
Justine Quintal: My winning piece is a sterling silver articulated necklace with pavé-set blue sapphires, blue topazes and peridots, set on a rolled-mill texture. The hinged clasp at the back of the piece features two bezel-set sapphires.
The majority of the necklace is made using square wire to create volume without being heavy. Everything is articulated, so the necklace can sit well on a woman's body. The centerpiece features a beautiful sterling silver sheet with the rolled-mill texture.
MR: WHAT DOES THE NAME OF YOUR PIECE MEAN AND HOW DID YOU CHOOSE IT?
JQ: To make this necklace, I was highly inspired by nature. Tropical birds and the sunset were the two main ideas I used to create the design. I wanted to express the lightness and imposing character of tropical birds with the wing-shaped and textured piece at the front and the feather-shaped pieces on each side. The succession of colors from dark blue to light green were used to give the impression of a slight sunset. This is why I named my necklace: "L'oiseau de la Nuit" which means "The Bird of the Night."
MR: DO YOU HAVE A DESIGN/JEWELRY MENTOR? IF SO, WHO IS IT?
JQ: Many of my teachers have been great mentors to help express my ideas and designs in jewelry and help me evolve as a jeweler. I could name Gustavo Estrada, Lynn Légaré, and Christine Larochelle as a few of them. They really helped me see jewelry from another eye. They were also highly supportive of me when I announced I wanted to try presenting my necklace for the Saul Bell Design Awards.
MR: WHEN ARE YOU MOST CREATIVE?
JQ: I feel most creative when I'm just about to go to bed. I always keep a notebook and a pencil on my nightstand in case of late-night ideas.
MR: SINCE YOU ARE NO LONGER IN SCHOOL, WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT WORK SITUATION?
JQ: I am currently working for someone else as a jeweler, but I am starting my own business on the side, slowly. My company's name is Créations Justine Quintal, but I am changing it to Justine Quintal Joaillière (jeweler) since it better represents what I am doing.
MR: DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE?
JQ: My website is really a portfolio, a place where you can see my creations. But I mostly focus on social media like Facebook and Instagram to show my custumers what I can do. I post a lot of "at work" pictures where you see unfinished pieces, tools and such, so people understand how I create their jewelry.
MR: TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORK.
JQ: I currently have two completely different collections inspired by different themes. One is a nature-inspired collection. There are a lot of flowers, textured cast pieces and many gemstones. I love to keep the metal white to express the purity and simplicity of nature in this collection. The other one is a more geometric, architectural-inspired collection. I use bright polished metal with center stones and square wire to recreate a constructed look.
MR: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MATERIAL TO WORK WITH?
JQ: My favorite materials would definitely be colored gemstones. Whatever type of gemstone it is, I always revolve my design around its shape and color so it really pops out. I then decide if yellow gold, silver or other metals would go best with it. This also gives me the chance to try something new!
MR: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT MAKING JEWELRY?
JQ: I love that everything is possible in the jewelry world. Especially with the new technologies and tools that exist to make our work easier. But I also love that you can express your creativity in such a way that people will remember you while wearing your art.
MR: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TOOL?
JQ: My favorite tool is a torch, whether it is a Little Torch or a Mecco Torch. I love the possibilities that it gives me. I also love assembling elements when I am making one-of-a-kind pieces. There are usually so many little pieces to solder together.
MR: WHAT JEWELER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH OR VISIT?
JQ: There are so many jewelers I would like to meet! If I had to choose one, I would probably choose Thierry Vendôme. He is a world-known French jeweler. His work has wonderful textures, a mixture of beautiful gemstones and lots of gold. What I find most impressive about his work is how he easily integrates other materials such as rusted metals on a very classical design. I think that is why his work is like no other's.
You can see more of Justine's work at creationsjustinequintal.weebly.com.
Interview by Marlene Richey