Women's photojournalism exhibit

Prior to starting Pixel+Torch, I worked as a photojournalist, first for the Standard-Examiner in Ogden and later for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. 

Photojournalism is a very male-dominated field and only about 15 percent of photojournalists are women globally. I'm proud to be a small part of an upcoming photography exhibit opening this Friday, May 20th at the Salt Lake Library. The exhibit "Through Her Eyes: Photography by Utah Female Photojournalists", highlights the work of female photojournalists and work they have done for publications while working in Utah. If you enjoy documentary work, please stop by and check out the images.

http://www.sltrib.com/entertainment/3884753-155/photo-exhibit-spotlights-20-women-many

USA's Vonetta Flowers (brakeman to Jill Bakken) wipe tears from her face and waive an American flag after she and Bakken won the Gold medal in the Women's bobsled at the Utah Olympic Park, Tuesday, February 19, 2002. Flowers became the first African-American to win a gold medal at a winter Olympics. Photo by Johanna Kirk

USA's Vonetta Flowers (brakeman to Jill Bakken) wipe tears from her face and waive an American flag after she and Bakken won the Gold medal in the Women's bobsled at the Utah Olympic Park, Tuesday, February 19, 2002. Flowers became the first African-American to win a gold medal at a winter Olympics. Photo by Johanna Kirk

Swedish Natural skincare at Pixel + Torch

When I created my silversmithing shop in Salt Lake City, I knew that I wanted to create a space that also carried select items with either a Scandinavian design, origin or esthetic.

I've been quite selective about the brands or items I introduce into my shop as I want to only sell products of makers and companies who's business practices I can fully endorse and who's products are truly something I love and want to share with my customers. 


One of the very first brands that I introduced to my brick and mortar portion of Pixel + Torch was L:A Bruket: a Swedish natural skincare line hailing from Sweden's west coast. It' s made in Varberg, one of Sweden's most well-known spa towns (and only a 15 minute drive from my family's summer home on the very same shoreline). I have grown up spending my summers on these beaches and am thrilled to share these lovely products with you, something from an area that means so much to me. 

The company's close relationship to the coast means they work with nature and natural ingredients. They harvest seaweed from the shores of Kattegatt Sea by hand, dry it in open air sheds and use it their products to restore, revitalize and nurture the skin naturally. Similarly the ocean salt is used in many of their products such as the salt scrub and the surf soap. 

The brown bottles extend the shelf life of the natural and organic ingredients and L:A Bruket prides itself in using only the very best ingredients that nature has to offer. The company is certified through the Soil Association for Organic Health and Beauty Care products, EcoCert and NOP (Soil Association for USDA National Organics Program). 

Wildrose body oil: a mosturizing organic body oil for normal to dry skin with essential oils from wild rose that nourishes and protects. Use it all over your body instead of body lotion, as a massage oil or in your bath. Lemongrass liquid hand and body wash. Essential oil mix of lemongrass that stimulates and activates, as an antiseptic effect and is astringent.  Seasaltscrub: A Balancing organic seasalt scrub of essential oils of sage, rosemary and lavender. 

Wildrose body oil: a mosturizing organic body oil for normal to dry skin with essential oils from wild rose that nourishes and protects. Use it all over your body instead of body lotion, as a massage oil or in your bath.

Lemongrass liquid hand and body wash. Essential oil mix of lemongrass that stimulates and activates, as an antiseptic effect and is astringent. 

Seasaltscrub: A Balancing organic seasalt scrub of essential oils of sage, rosemary and lavender. 

Surfscrub soap, with sea weed and sand from Apelviken beach, and Lemongrass: both handmade organic bar soaps.

Surfscrub soap, with sea weed and sand from Apelviken beach, and Lemongrass: both handmade organic bar soaps.

L:A Bruket's handcreme in Wildrose and Sage/Rosemary/Lavender. Perfect for dry and chapped hands as it protects and moisturizes.

L:A Bruket's handcreme in Wildrose and Sage/Rosemary/Lavender. Perfect for dry and chapped hands as it protects and moisturizes.

The making of a silversmithing studio

I started Pixel + Torch in the spring of 2014. Since then I've gone from creating jewelry for mostly family and friends to exponentially growing into something where I knew I needed a commercial place to accommodate that growth. The process of finding and making a silversmithing studio has been an interesting, at times hair-pulling experience but mostly a very rewarding one. I have learned a lot these last few months.

I began looking for a studio last spring and I admit it wasn't easy to find just the right spot. I'm pretty picky about what I like and I had a vision in my mind's eye about what I wanted to find. I was hoping for a place industrial enough for an open workshop of hammering and soldering metal. Simultaneously a space where if I was a customer, I would want to visit. A place with great light, good design, wall space for my photography with a pleasant vibe. Ultimately a place that inspired creativity and where you would want to spend time.

After months of looking and growing increasingly frustrated, I finally stumbled over a space just a few blocks away from my house. It had rough dark floors, almost like a parking lot, and matte black ceilings and cold turquoise walls. But the second I stepped inside all I could see was the huge wall of windows, the light from north and south and the possibilities of what the space could become. I signed the contract and started the construction of making it the new home of Pixel + Torch.  

It was a learning experience to deal with all the ins and outs of creating a brick and mortar store. The contractors, the city inspectors, internet providers, security firms, etc. I learned as I went and I won't bore you with all the details and hiccups along the way.  Slowly but surely, the space started taking shape and looking like what I had envisioned all along.

I had the floors ground down to the original concrete. A wall moved, which opened up enough space for my work area. The idea all along had been to create an open studio space where people could actually see the process of hand making jewelry. Many have lost touch with the work that's involved with creating by hand. I wanted people to have a sense of connection to the handicraft, to each step that is involved, from cutting rocks to forging a piece of silver and to actually see the love, attention, and yes time,  that goes into each piece.

Since it is important to me that people value what I make by hand, it also felt very important to incorporate and hire other local makers and artists in the creating of this space. I found a wonderful couple who hand-built my furniture with great attention to detail and a sign artist who beautifully handpainted my signs and lettering in the windows. They truly helped me create a one-of-a-kind place and left their artistic fingerprints on the studio, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Quality over quantity. Uniqueness over homogeny.

I opened my doors on December 18th, 2015 and am so excited to share this space with all of you who find yourselves in the Salt Lake City area and looking for unique jewelry in a one-of-a-kind studio space.

This is what the studio looked like when I first found it. Dark floors, black ceiling and an open doorway into the backroom.

This is what the studio looked like when I first found it. Dark floors, black ceiling and an open doorway into the backroom.

A before view from inside the studio looking towards the entrance.

A before view from inside the studio looking towards the entrance.

Here we moved the wall in to make space for the workshop area to the right. This also allowed for the sliding barn door I had in mind for that door.

Here we moved the wall in to make space for the workshop area to the right. This also allowed for the sliding barn door I had in mind for that door.

After the new wall/door way was built. White paint on walls and ceiling and floors ground down to the original concrete.

After the new wall/door way was built. White paint on walls and ceiling and floors ground down to the original concrete.

And here's a view of the finished space. My silversmithing desk to the right, my stump where I hammer, the torching station by the window and my workbench with tools. In the middle, the custom-built display cases and table, my abstract photography on the walls. 

And here's a view of the finished space. My silversmithing desk to the right, my stump where I hammer, the torching station by the window and my workbench with tools. In the middle, the custom-built display cases and table, my abstract photography on the walls. 

The east wall of the store, showcasing the shelving holding imported Swedish apothecary items and Linnéa candles together with other items for sale in my store. On the walls photography and greeting cards. To the right my custom-built checkout counter.

The east wall of the store, showcasing the shelving holding imported Swedish apothecary items and Linnéa candles together with other items for sale in my store. On the walls photography and greeting cards. To the right my custom-built checkout counter.

My open workshop. The stump I found in Idaho where I hammer, the workbench in the back that houses my many tools and machines, the soldering station to the right, the sliding barndoor that goes into my storage room and the hand painted Swedish saying of "Lagom" on the wall. 

My open workshop. The stump I found in Idaho where I hammer, the workbench in the back that houses my many tools and machines, the soldering station to the right, the sliding barndoor that goes into my storage room and the hand painted Swedish saying of "Lagom" on the wall. 

And here I am in my new space. 

And here I am in my new space. 

If you're interested in details about the process or any of the awesome people and businesses who helped create it, please don't hesitate to ask. I have a list of the wonderful people who helped and will happily refer them to you if wish.

 


Mother's Day special offer

Mother's Day is coming up May 10th, so naturally the subject of mothers and motherhood has been on my mind the last few days. In my own experience, a paradigm shift took place within me when I became a mom.  There was before, and then there was after.

During a beautiful mother-to-be ceremony I participated in yesterday, a woman expressed it by saying: "you're not only giving birth to your child but in a sense you're giving birth to yourself". That really hit home with me. In essence, you are transitioning into someone new, there's an end to who you were before and simultaneously a beginning of a new life for both you and your child.

I'm forever grateful for having my mom, who used to fly me on her feet in bed, who wandered the forests and beaches with me, pointing out leaves, and rocks and mushrooms and berries. Her attention to detail, to appreciate the small things, the joy in nature, the beauty of shapes and light. She has played such a big part in who I am today, how I see the world around me and my place in it. 

I hope you've had similar experiences of love and guidance in your life. Be it in the traditional sense of motherhood or all the other ways we have mothers or are mothers to the people we love. The women who have nurtured us or whom we have nurtured.

To celebrate all the mamas in our life, I'd like to extend 15 percent off your purchase through Mother's Day, May 10th 2015.  (coupon: MOMS15)

Happy Mother's Day!

 

My mamma and me, Olofsbo, Sweden ca: 1976

My mamma and me, Olofsbo, Sweden ca: 1976




Figuring out your ring size

Figuring out your ring size is easier than you think. To ensure a proper fit, make sure you measure your finger when you're not too cold or your ring may not end up fitting you. You want your ring to fit snugly over your knuckle. If it comes on too easily, it'll move around on your finger, especially if the stone is larger.

You can either measure a ring that you already have that fits the finger you want the new ring for or make your own ring with a string or wire. (make sure it ends up perfectly round). 

Measure the diameter in millimeters (straight across the INSIDE of the ring). Be precise. Now you can look at the chart and see your US ring size. If you're uncertain, go to a local jeweler and have them size you. Most do this as a complimentary service. 

If the ring you're interested in is a wider band, it may be wise to go up a half a size as wider bands fit tighter due to their width.