Shaya Ishaq holds her favourite piece of jewellery as the sunlight streams in on her face. She sits, surrounded by art supplies and half-finished creations, explaining how she made the large blue-and-white ceramic necklace.
The jewellery maker and NSCAD student is addicted to statement-making pieces with strong lines. To her, jewellery is "the cherry on top," the finishing touch that elevates a look.
Ishaq began making jewellery in 2013 in her native Ottawa. After studying journalism, she apprenticed with a metalsmith "as a way to tap into being creative again."
Soon, she moved to Halifax to study the craft further and her brand Mild Eyes was born.
Through her time at NSCAD, Ishaq branched beyond the metal her first pieces were based on, diving into the world of ceramics. Her latest collection reflects this shift, featuring organic-shaped ceramic pendants looped through leather strings.
Her favourite necklace is one such piece. Inspired by a backpacking trip in Turkey, she says the necklace communicates all that trip meant to her. "Not getting too attached is the hardest part," she adds, laughing.
People, places and the stories that these create are among Ishaq's inspirations, meaning that each of her handmade pieces evokes a certain feeling or memory.
"They're precious objects but I need to just let them go." says Ishaq. "The creative process is for me, but what's beautiful is sharing it and other people seeing the beauty in it."