Rory Greythorn has made a conscious decision to slow down his path in Jewellery/Metal Arts, and have a more “textured” experience.  Rather than rushing to get the basics, move on to the next learning project and putting “his eyes on the prize of the diploma”, Rory wants to build, explore and have time to absorb the basics, the techniques and tips and play with them, before moving on to the next.  He has a long list of directions in metal he wants to explore, before making a final decision about doing another year in Advanced Studio Practice (ASP) here at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD).

Rory has a firm path in mind, of being at artist who happens to make all kinds of “art-stuff”, instead of someone who does art.  Even while he’s relaxing and watching a favorite show with his wife, his sketchbook is open on his knee and his hand is always moving.

As a mature student Rory has already completely changed his life:  changed provinces, changed his home, lifestyle and headed back to school.  In fact everyone in Rory’s household is back at school:  his wife and both his daughters.  It was a daunting experience to make the decision to do this, but Coordinating Instructor, Brigitte Clavette assured Rory that he could do this, and he completely believed she would push him, pull him and give him her honest opinion as to whether he was doing meaningful work or not.

Rory really believes you have to take time to think about what you are learning, and the level of skills you choose to pursue. Push yourself to learn more than just the basics, he says. If you don’t push your skills to learn to finish properly — rather than just “enough” to hand your project in on time, if you only have a the bare grasp on the techniques — then that is what you are going to end up graduating with and taking out into the world at large.  Rory plans to be very thorough with his studies, hence the “textured” experience.

And we have a feeling that Rory’s career is about to get even more “textured”.  Only 2 days after applying, Rory has found out that he has been accepted in to University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) “The Summer Institute” which is part of the invite only, world wide, Global Accelerator Program for entrepreneurs.  Rory will spend this summer learning to explore, create and hone his entrepreneurial skills.

House of Greythorn is the idea in Rory’s head, a business concept where a number of different avenues of work and products can come from.  It’s clear that Rory is very excited by the connection of nostalgia and emotions, and this is what he wants to portray in this work.  Right now, he’s been building/playing with familiar candies and incorporating them into his jewellery.  He is discovering that people enjoy seeing the candy out of context (i.e. set in jewellery). They also get excited and nostalgic when they recognize and identify with the candy Rory uses. His work seems to fit with the current popular culture of food, as evidenced by T-shirts with spaghetti, bacon wallets and hot dog pencil cases as seen all over the internet and populating museum gift shops. It was this connection between popular culture and food, which Rory focused on when presenting the uniqueness of his work, to The Summer Institute.  Some of the feedback to Rory’s presentation was “extremely original” and very “unique”.

There is a serious side to Rory as well. He’s very excited, awed, humbled and incredulous of the work of master gem carver Sevan Bicakci, and hopes to continue his own exploration of stone carving during his independent studies.  Rory is also introducing a twist with paint colors to his stone carving.

As Rory plays and experiments with metal, he says he’s trying to make himself into the person he wanted to be when he was a kid.  When he’s doing that, he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.  He can be at his bench and suddenly realize its 4 hours later.  He laughs and says sometimes “the bladder is an artist’s worst enemy”.

Although it can be pretty unusual sitting around the dinner table with everyone talking school, Rory thinks his kids really like seeing him as a role model.  Having home schooled his kids with his wife; there are many discussions on staying true to what he taught his kids. He believes in sharing ones personal views and being true to oneself while being gentle and honest. This is especially important to Rory as he is a mature student in a College with other students of all ages and diverse backgrounds. But for all the balancing acts going on, Rory believes he is doing something he always wanted to do, with a great side benefit of more jewellery for his family!  Rory says with a laugh, he can’t take his entire jewellery work home, because he can never be sure it won’t be worn out the door and not returned to him.

-Trudy Gallagher, NBCCD Education Consultant and Co-owner of Art Jewel Designs