For Rachel Blair-Johns, owner of Dartmouth’s Ment Jewellery, a piece begins to take shape long before she begins molding metal in her home studio. Her minimalist architectural collars, studs and midi-rings rest in her imagination first, next to childhood memories and visions of Incan empires.
“I’ve always been inspired by ruins. As a little girl, my uncle”—from Wales—“used to take me around to all the Welsh castles. I always felt like, as a child hearing Arthurian legends, I was wandering around where giants had walked. It felt like seeing those buildings was like seeing strength,” she remembers. “I started to travel as a young lady. I went to Machu Picchu, and many South American ruins, and I noticed that these shapes of my childhood in England were universal throughout ancient cultures, and those sort of shapes inspire me, just the lines and forms—to try and re-invent them to a modern aesthetic for today.”
These themes are evident when looking at her piece’s clean lines, full of angles and edges. When asked who she envisions her customer as, her natural answer is “modern queens.” So, it fits that Blair-Johns is bringing her crown jewel(lery) to Makenew (2468 Agricola Street) as part of Winter Warriors, a holiday pop-up on Thursday, December 1 from 5-8pm. Meet the artist, and try one of her openwork neck pieces or shield-shaped rings for yourself—paired best with an invisible crown. She'll also be selling her beautiful things at Halifax Crafters Winter Market, all weekend.