Check out my interview on the Garrison Point Blog (posted here: http://garrisonpoint.ca/city-life-blog/exploring-community-artists-michelle-witt)
Garrison Point is at the intersection of a number of different communities in Toronto including the artist community that surrounds our site. Walnut Studios in particular, is a shared working space for artists that is right up the street from us and last week, we spoke with Sandra Di Leo, an abstract expressionist artist who works out of the space. This week, we're featuring her colleague Michelle Witt, a Toronto-based jewelry designer who also works at Walnut Studios.
Michelle told us that she loves being in a shared space like Walnut Studios because of the sense of community and the feedback she can get from the many different types of artists working in the space. "It doesn’t matter what kind of artists are around me, whether they are technically knowledgeable of my medium or not. Having an objective viewpoint there in the studio when I’m working out ideas is a great source of support.”
Most of Michelle’s jewelry is inspired by the sea. Her nautical collection is made up of pieces designed to mimic coral reef or starfish, and she has even created a pair of shark tooth earrings (shown above). Witt says this inspiration comes from her childhood: “my instinct as a child was to be underwater, there is a freedom I feel there.” Michelle also alludes to the fascinating biodiversity and life in the sea as a huge part of the underwater allure for her. “It seems quite peaceful and balanced to me. It is the kind of world I want to be in all the time. I think that’s why I am driven to create jewellery that brings me closer to the feeling I get when I am under the sea.”
Toronto is an amazing place for artists to interact with their fans and other artists. Michelle takes advantage of this by participating in artist events year round. Outside of the two major shows Walnut Studios organizes each year, Michelle also shows her jewelry at the Bazaar of the Bizarre in April and December, and the Queen West Art Crawl every few years. She’s also always making the rounds to other art shows to support her friends that are showing.
So where do artists go to gather inspiration from their peers? Michelle told us about many galleries that are close to Walnut Studios (and therefore super close to our site) that she frequents. She loves the Walnut Studios gallery Walnut Contemporary, Edward Day Gallery, MOCCA, and Twist Gallery. Witt also checks out the jewelry galleries and stores closeby and most notably she mentioned “Anne Sportun and The Devils Workshop for fine handmade local designers and the Magic Pony for some fun designs from both Canadian and American designers.”
Michelle’s work can be purchased online through her website and she plans to stock her jewelry in retail stores soon after the official launch of her Pasta Moda line coming this Fall.