photo by  Suzanne Rushton  Photography

photo by Suzanne Rushton Photography

"I turn stories into metal. Making jewelry allows me to transform life's amazing moments into wearable art pieces. Using contemporary techniques in the ancient art of enamelling I get to explore colour, pattern, and love stories through intricate metal work. My inspiration is all around me - the vibrant colours of blooming flowers, the detailed patterns on a swatch of fabric, and that moment when your breath escapes you because you see something you love." 

Patsy Kolesar is a Vancouver jewelry artist whose work is highly focused on colour and pattern. An award winning graduate from Vancouver Community College’s Jewelry Art and Design program, Patsy’s one-of-a-kind pieces have been selected for exhibitions internationally, and her collections are sold at galleries across Canada.

In 2012, Patsy was awarded a 2-month artist residency in the Netherlands; there she explored the idea of motion in life, creating work using only wire and simple hand tools. In 2013, Patsy co-founded the Vancouver Jewelry Artists Collaboration (JAC), a group bringing together jewellers and artists from different disciplines, with the mission of promoting Art Jewelry in Canada.  In 2014, Patsy was chosen as the Touchstone Centre for Craft scholarship recipient; she was invited to Farmington, Pennsylvania to attend an ‘Imagery in Metal’ workshop, learning new methods of incorporating pattern into her intricate enamel jewelry. 

In the past few years Patsy has created and launched her ready-to-wear line Patsy Kay Jewelry, a collection of pieces made for everyday wear and inspired by the simple beauty found in everyday life.

My Jewelry Story: 

  • I've been obsessed with jewelry since I was little. My Mom is from Australia and her whole side of the family lives there. My Nana and my Auntie Kay would send my sister and I gifts of jewelry when we were little. These gifts were wrapped up in little satin pouches and kept safely in one of my Mom’s drawers. We were rarely allowed to wear them (thank-you Mom, since I’m sure they would be lost by now if we could) but we were often allowed to take them out of the drawer, unwrap them, and admire them.

  • I started making jewelry as a teenager. I spent a month in Barbados with my best friend Nadine when we were 19. I brought home a few beaded necklaces, and a hippy boyfriend. I was inspired to start making my own necklaces and dabbled in beads, hemp weaving, fantasized about living in a van with my hippy boyfriend, and traveling around the country selling necklaces. Luckily, this fantasy only lasted as long as my bandana wearing hippy days did. My new version of this fantasy involves a beautiful house on a quiet island, a big bright studio space, my jewelry sells at galleries around the world and I have daily hot showers ;)

  • My first career was in social work and I worked in women's centres for a number of years. I learned a lot and was constantly inspired by women's strength, but I knew it wasn't the path I was meant to be on for my career. I took a year off to figure out what to do next. I signed up for a class on ring making and when I went into the teachers live/work studio I never wanted to leave. I loved everything about moving metal. About a year later I applied for and was accepted to jewelry school and I've never looked back.

Here is a video clip of me, It's about 5 minutes long and I share a story about how I had to overcome my fears to experience amazing opportunities. It's taken from the Culture Crawl Hot Talk at the Hot Art Wet City gallery in Vancouver.