Barrie Edwards wears many hats in her day-to-day life; from wife to mother to grandmother to event coordinator to instructor to designer but her passion for jewellery has been her guiding force for many years. Tucked away in her basement studio, she hand fabricates all her one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewellery designs. She and her husband of 28 years share their home with their youngest of four sons, two dogs, seven cats, two parrots, many lizards, and lots of fish – fresh and saltwater! She is often inspired by the colours and textures of the mini-zoo she lives with.
Why did you get into jewellery design?
I actually stumbled upon jewellery design in 1993 – I had been through some pretty rough personal times, and needed something to get me out of the house so my husband suggested I take a class of some sort. I decided that an eight-week Saturday morning jewellery-making workshop was right up my alley, and I became hopelessly addicted right away! Within six months, I was selling at a boutique in Steveston, and shortly after that began selling at craft and art shows around the Lower Mainland. I quickly discovered that instead of leaving the house to go to a mundane day job, I was able to stay at home to create jewellery, and be there for my four kids. I also discovered that I had a flair for teaching, and began teaching silversmithing classes myself in 1995. At that time, there were very few courses available for hobbyists and I was pleased to share my passion with any student who wanted to learn. Luckily for me, during the times when jewellery sales were slow, my classes continued to be popular, so I never had to go looking for a “real job” outside the house. I was able to be there whenever my kids needed me, and was still able to contribute to the household. Win-win if you ask me!
Tell us a bit about your company.
Windermere Designs has definitely ebbed and flowed over the years. Some years I was very active, others not so much – it all depended on what was going on with my kids. I was fortunate to have met Joye MacPherson of Joye Designs Stone Art Gallery when she first opened her gallery in Port Moody about six years ago. I decided at that time that I would sell exclusively though her gallery, taking on commissions as available, and creating jewellery that I wanted to make, not what the market demanded. Now that the kids have grown up and mostly moved away, I’m finding myself re-energized and starting to devote more time to creating again.
How would you characterize your style?
My style would probably be considered classic contemporary – my pieces have a timeless feel and are made to last a lifetime yet are contemporary enough that they always tend to turn heads. My signature Sticks & Stones rings are typical of this – when a client wears one of these, they can’t help but be noticed.
Who are your clients?
My jewellery appeals to women who are looking for a unique piece of jewellery that will transcend trends and fads. They aren’t afraid of a little colour, and definitely want pieces that will last a lifetime.
What do you think moms should know about your jewellery?
My jewellery is designed for comfort and durability. In this day and age, if you invest in a piece of jewellery, it should last longer than one season. It should be something they want to wear over and over again, not sit in their jewellery box and collect dust. It should also be comfortable, something you don’t even have to think about when you’re wearing it – until someone comments on it of course!
Where can people buy your jewellery?
At this time, my jewellery is sold exclusively through Joye Designs Stone Art Gallery in Port Moody or by commission via email. I am developing a catalogue line this spring and will be approaching new boutiques and galleries, at which time my website will have a list of outlets.
Anything else to add?
Along with my jewellery designing, I am also the organizer of the Fraser Valley Bead Show, Western Canada’s largest bead/jewellery event. Twice a year, I gather suppliers, artists, designers and exhibitors from all over Canada in one place. Having been an artist at many shows gives me a unique perspective as an organizer. It’s also an opportunity for me to sell my jewellery and get a little feedback from the customers about my designs.
I still teach jewellery-making classes, and always will. I love creating fellow enthusiasts (addicts if you will!), and helping them learn how much fun making jewellery can be.