I don't know where to begin when it comes to guest writer Lisa Wong. Technical writer by trade, freelance writer published in both Fame'd and Flare, highly successful blogger and so much more! She is bar none one of the most talented and focused professionals I have ever had the privilege to work. Fame'd chose to recognize her contribution at their 2011 magazine launch - an honour that was well-deserved. Below is her Behind the Scenes article on jewellery designer Penilla Arhmsteadt published in September 2011. Enjoy!
By guest Writer Lisa Wong, Solo Lisa
All product photos from website.
|Image by Wayne Mah Photography|
followed her heart by moving to Vancouver in 1988 with her (now ex) husband. She had no idea what to expect of her new home. Compared to her native city Stockholm, a European capital rich in culture and history, Vancouver seemed a cultural backwater lacking in beauty and history. As the years went by though, her unfavourable impression of this city softened. She began realizing that the beauty of Vancouver lay in its mountains, greenery, blue skies and ocean, not in grand buildings and historic monuments. Although she tries to return to Sweden to visit loved ones every couple of years, these days she is proud to call Vancouver home.
Ahrnstedt stumbled upon jewelry design in a serendipitous way. She started off with a year of metal-smithing courses in which she learned to make bowls and spoons, then studied industrial design at Emily Carr briefly before discovering she hated the discipline. Her search for a new pursuit led to jewelry-making courses at Vancouver Community College; it was in jewelry-making that she found her true calling. Initial designs used silver, copper, brass and relatively inexpensive stones to save on raw material costs.
She and a friend opened a small studio on Granville and Robson after she graduated from VCC in 1991. "We were upstairs in a building with a manually operated elevator," she recalls. The downtown urban landscape looked quite different then, although it was already on its way to becoming the glitzy retail hub we know today. Robson Street's mom and pop shops were disappearing to make way for large flagship stores from international chains. The local fashion industry was still in its early days. Ahrnstedt could simply walk into retailers and talk to managers about stocking her designs, something that new designers can rarely do these days with stiffer competition and increasingly formalized buying processes. She continued designing jewelry and working part-time jobs until having children forced her to choose one or the other. Luckily for fans of her work, she chose to do jewelry design full-time.