Category: editorial

Top 5 Sources of Inspiration

I love being creative, and I love when I get a great idea – I feel a giddy rush, and I can’t wait to get my hands on my tools and start working on the idea.  If I can’t get to my workbench, I’ll sketch out my inspiration in a little notebook that I keep by my side just for such moments.  Inspiration can come to me at any time, and in any situation, but there are a handful of places that inspire me more consistently than others.  Here’s my top 5 list of great sources of inspiration. -Robyn

My top 5 sources of inspiration:

5) Pinterest.  I love looking at fashion boards and dreaming up jewellery designs to match outfits.  The same goes for sites like Wanelo and Polyvore – sometimes I like to assemble outfits that go with Drakestail designs, but it’s also fun to assemble outfits and then challenge myself to accessorize them by creating something new.

4)  Random people.  I have a day job, working downtown, and commute by bus and walking.  While I’m out and about, I surreptitiously check out what other people are wearing, and think about how I’d wear the same outfit – what shoes, what accessories, and so on, would I wear with it?  It’s a fun exercise

3) Books.  I love to read, so much so that that’s part of how I chose to take English Lit at university.  The best books are ones that I can completely immerse myself in, to the point where I can envision myself standing next to the narrator, or being the narrator, drinking in the world around me while I act through the plot.  I sometimes get ideas based on the descriptions of character’s outfits, especially if I’m reading period pieces.  Sometimes I get ideas based on the mood of a book, or the personality of a character.  A good book is a complete world, full of details to be inspired by.

2) Nature.  I hear this time and again from people, to the point where I sometimes roll my eyes.  Of course everyone is inspired by nature.  There’s a lot to be inspired by. Sweeping landscapes, creatures big and small, the curve of an ocean wave, the jewelled colours of exotic flowers.  Nature is everywhere, and impossible to miss.

1) Other creative people.  I love to read biographies of musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs.  I love hearing about their thought processes, about how they are inspired, and how they live through their creativity.  Reading an autobiography is like that person sharing some of their creative spark with me, and I feed off it.  I also love reading about the habits that creative people build to keep them inspired and working on their craft.

What inspires you to get creative?

Nature, a beautiful source of inspiration.
Nature, a beautiful source of inspiration.

Interview Series Part 2 – Adam Tupper

Welcome to part 2 in Drakestail Jewellery’s interview series with interesting, fun and fascinating artistic people Robyn and I have had the pleasure of working with over the years we’ve been making jewellery. Some we met professionally on collaborative projects, others we met personally and wanted to interview because we love what they do. The subject of today’s interview falls into the latter category.

I met Adam Tupper in the Summer of 2009 and over the years that we’ve known each other I have had the pleasure of watching him grow his artistic business endeavours from part time drawing and illustration to a full time, “I can live off of this” gig! Every artist’s dream!  Adam still works hard on his own personal art but he is also the Owner/Operator of Wonder Geeks Activate, an Ottawa-based company dedicated to merging local events with geek culture which was started in 2013. You can find them on Facebook and on Twitter to keep up with what they have planned.

Wonder Geeks Activate

Adam is always entertaining, with quick wit and if you should see him around at any local Ottawa events, tell him Roxy sends hugs! 🙂

– Roxy


What is your professional background?
I started drawing when I was about 6. I’ve been doing commissions for people since about 12.

What inspired you to start WGA?
When the first Ottawa Comic Con happened in 2012, I saw the city turn out in droves for geek culture. have a lot of talented friends who I was only seeing at FanExpo and at the Fine Art Gala held at the Comic Book Shoppe every November and I thought it might be time to start running semi-regular art nights in the city showcasing those talented friends (and giving us all a place to drink, party, listen to cool tunes and play games).

Are you a formally trained or self-taught artist?
I’d been in art classes throughout grade school and I took an advanced art course during my brief tenure at York University, but outside of those rudimentary courses I’m largely self-taught.

What has been your best source of knowledge in your art?
Comic books have been my primary influences for posing, dynamics and overall content but I’ve found more influence of late in horror (HR Giger’s work particularly), pin-up, Hello Kitty (something I’m known for combining with other pop-culture properties) and art nouveau.

Describe your style in one sentence.
Art ADD – I can’t settle on just one style.

What inspires you in your day-to-day?
Everything. Every single experience keeps me motivated to create new work. I’d go so far as to say the drive to not be bored keeps me inspired.

What is your favourite medium?
Pencil and paper are all I’ve ever really needed but I’m finding paint to be a new and exciting medium for me to work in.

What projects are you currently working on for WGA?
We have our Halloween in July show coming up on July 19th at Café Nostalgica over at Ottawa U. featuring costumes, music, candy, burlesque and much more. Also we have a huge trip planned to Toronto in August for the FanExpo convention.

What is one thing you’d like your fans to know about you?
Outside of the fact that I’m always working and mildly obsessed with Batman? Probably that despite my tweets saying otherwise, I do eat responsibly more often than not.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?
The work itself has always been the biggest reward. Just completing something that’s been rattling around in my brain brings untold amounts of joy. Since I’ve been showcasing however seeing the public’s response to my work is extremely gratifying. We do art for ourselves, but any artist who doesn’t find happiness through their work making someone else’s day is lying.

Best piece of advice for someone looking to throw themselves into the art world like you did?
Produce. Don’t ever stop doing new pieces. And for all that is holy, never be afraid to talk about your art like it’s your child. Sharing your passion with others will keep you motivated when you’re not selling.

Canvases  Canvas

Drakestail Jewellery Interview Series – part 1

Over the last 8 years, Robyn and I have had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with a number of artistic people who channel their creativity in a variety of different mediums. Recently we decided to start an “interview series” on our blog, to introduce each of you some of the fascinating people we’ve gotten to know. Today’s post is our first in this series.

Ashley Green is a vibrant energetic young photographer and all around ‘artsy type’, I had the good fortune to meet a few months after I first moved to Edmonton in 2010.
She lights up the room and has the kind of energy where you can’t quite take your eyes off her. She has quickly become one of my very best friends and I am so thankful for every Skype chat, every text exchange and every in person visit I get to share with her. I hope you enjoy our interview with her as much as I did!

– Roxy

What is your background in photography? What inspired you to start?

I started really being inspired by photography while I was in high school. I went on a school trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland and I spend so much of that trip behind the lens, trying to capture all the beauty and history that surrounded me. After that trip, I began experimenting with photography and eventually fell in love with portraits.

Are you formally trained or self-taught? What has been your best source of knowledge in your art?

I’m completely self-taught. I found that that one of the best ways to expand your practical knowledge and creativity is through practice. Nothing is better than spending some quality time behind the lens and I look at every shoot as a learning experience. I think in any profession that requires creativity one needs to always be hungry for more and keep an open mind.

Describe your style in one sentence.

Natural, intimate and expressive photography.

What inspires you while you are working in a shoot?

Everything! Sometimes it can be so much fun to head to a location for the first time without a single pre-planned idea in your head and the creativity is fuelled by the spontaneity! Other times, I get inspired by things around me; art, other photography, media, and, most of all, watching people in their day to day.

People watching (yes, I know this sounds sort of creepy, but I swear it isn’t!) is where I find so much of my inspiration. There is beautiful and natural rhythm to the way people are and how they interact with one another when they don’t think others are noticing. I try and recreate that rhythm in my shoots as often as possible…it’s magic.

What are your favourite types of shoots/favourite subjects?

When it comes to couples, engagement sessions are by far my favourite session to capture. It’s a really exciting time and all of that energy comes through so easily in the shoot.

That being said, I really love working one-on-one with people, especially for boudoir and concept shoots. Boudoir has all these wonderful elements of mystery, femininity, strength and beauty – all while making women feel incredible and proud of who they are. (What’s not to love?) Concept shoots are where my creativity is able to take over and mix in my love of fashion, storytelling and whimsy!

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently in the start of my wedding season for the year and I have boudoir weekend marathons for late Spring being planned so it is very busy right now! I am also stepping outside of my portrait work to take some landscape and street photography in California that will be displayed in an Edmonton exhibit this summer.

What is one thing you’d like your fans to know about you?

I have fans? Eeeee! How cool is that?! Well, I guess I’d like to let them know that I am a fiercely optimistic individual who loves wine, a good book, and giant closet of fabulous clothes.

What is your favourite photo, and why?

My favourite photo I’ve taken is of my 79 year old Grandpa grinning from ear to ear at his second wedding with his new bride. After my Grandma passed away, I didn’t know if my Grandpa would ever find much happiness again, let alone love. The photo reminds me cherish those around you and live every day with your heart.

What is your favourite camera/piece of equipment?

My 70-200mm 2.8. It’s a beast of a lens and one of the best investments I’ve ever made. (Plus it helps tone my arm muscles) 😉

What do you find most rewarding about being a photographer?

Besides doing what I love every day, I’d say the biggest reward is the people. I get to meet and work with some truly incredible people and those connections make my job so easy to love.

Best piece of advice for someone looking to start out in photography?

Practice, ask questions and never compare your work to anyone else’s but your own.

Thank you Ashley!


From Photos with Ashley's online portfolio

Drakestail Jewellery has a new retail location!

I’m quite happy to announce Drakestail Jewellery has found a 3rd retail location! Our very popular “Tree of Life” pendants will soon be available for sale at Heaven Scent Flowers in Gimli, Manitoba.

I went for a lovely Spring mini road trip a couple weeks ago to visit Gimli, where I met Lenore Chartrand, the owner of Heaven Scent Flowers. Her shop is so charming and we are sure the tree of life pendants will be a perfect fit! Gimli is a beautiful resort town on the west shores of Lake Winnipeg. Gimli hosts a plethora of summer festivals every year and is also a beautiful beach, camping, cottaging and boating destination, if you’ve never visited before, I highly recommend you do so this summer!

Our line of vintage inspired Swarovski crystal pearl jewellery can still be purchased from Rowena/RetroGlam in Edmonton, Alberta and from The Foxy Shoppe in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Our unique, one of kind pieces will be found this summer at local art shows in and around Ottawa and Winnipeg. Of course, you can always contact us to make you that special custom piece!

We are working hard on bringing our jewellery to most major cities in Canada over the next year, and of course, in the meantime, you can always shop our ETSY store online from anywhere on the globe!


Tree of Life with green jasper
Tree of Life pendant with green jasper gemstone chips.


Behind the Scenes: Special Orders

Roxy and I both love doing special orders.  We have had some great requests, and it’s an opportunity to stretch our creativity.  Back in the fall, we created some fantastic hair accessories and a birdcage veil for a bride-to-be that went beyond our existing designs.  It was wonderful to research, design, and create these unique pieces.

When a client first contacts us about creating a special order, our first step is to get some detail.  We start by discussing our client’s vision of their order: what piece of jewellery do they want; what kinds of metals do they want for the clasp and hardware; do they want gemstones, crystals, pearls, glass, chain?  What colour scheme do they want?  Sometimes a special order is fairly straightforward.  We are working on one for a client who wants a set of bracelets for her bridal party from our Vintage by Drakestail line, with custom sizing.  We’ve also created custom orders for our popular Tree of Life pendants using new gemstones and materials.

A custom-ordered Tree of Life pendant, by Drakestail Jewellery.
Custom Tree of Life Pendant, with peridot, malachite, and turquoise

Once we have a rough idea of the client’s vision, we then clarify their budget and put together a quote.  Roxy and I have been making jewellery for 8 years, and have built up a great list of suppliers that we can call on.  We offer our client some options, get the go-ahead, and start creating!

Custom ordered Vintage by Drakestail bracelets for a bridal party.
Custom ordered Vintage by Drakestail bracelets for a bridal party.

Once the piece is made, we show the client (or send a photo, for someone that’s not local), to make sure it’s absolutely perfect.  Then we lovingly package it up and get it to its new home.

Speaking of custom jewellery, we have a brand new offering, each one custom made!  Just in time for Mother’s Day, we are offering a family pendant.  Each one uses Preciosa Crystals in the colour matching the birthstones.  For example, I made a sample for myself, using clear crystal (diamond, my birthstone), pink (pink tourmaline, the alternate birthstone for October, my hubby’s birthday), and turquoise (my daughter’s birthstone, in December).  Each crystal dangles from a short piece of chain, hung from a twisted silver ring.  The pendant can have as many or as few dangles as needed.  Watch our Etsy store as they’ll be available this week!

Mother's Day Pendant, by Drakestail Jewellery.
Just in time for Mother’s Day: Family Pendant. This one features April, October, and December. Get yours, made to order!


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