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Anita Sikma, jewelry designer

FREE RANGE Creator Series

by Daniel McIntosh

How did you get into jewelry design? 

I did a handful of artsy post-secondary studies and just ended up there, I had no idea what I was really getting into. After I received my diploma at Vancouver Community College in Jewelry Design Arts and Metalsmithing in 2006, I slowly began making a collection and things just went from there.

What does an average day look like for you these days? 

Everyday really has its own agenda, but I get up around 7am and read emails, plan my day, if I have to hit up the Granville Block to source materials or stones or take in carvings or settings to Grimson and Sons. Most days I have a little workout at home and then head straight into my workshop. 

Tell us about your favourite piece you’ve ever made? 

That’s a tough one. I’d like to say the Suspension pendant, because it’s pretty much the first piece I added to my sterling silver collection in 2007. The design really has its stepping stone and I remember the first time I wore it and how great it felt. My favourite contemporary piece would have to be my most recent custom design, a 14K yellow gold ring with a 1.47ct princess cut tourmaline. 

What song gets you in the zone when you’re in the studio? 

I like music that evokes nostalgia and makes me feel good, like Nirvana’s “School” or Guided By Voices’ “My Son Cool.” I listen to a lot of Sonic Youth. I have an old iPod in my workshop that runs through around 19 of their ten thousand albums. I can just plug in and work, I love their guitar tones. I also have a great collection of CDs that skip, cassette tapes that are chewed up and slow, and my phone to rescue me if needed. 

Outside of your work, what do you listen to?

I’m lucky enough to have a great in-house DJ, Ryguy. He’s usually on it, we have a decent collection of vinyl. If I look at what’s circulating at the moment, it’s Dusty In Memphis, Lil Kim, Dottie West, Emmylou, Genius/GZA, Guided By Voices and a couple Sonic Youth records. 

Jewelry can be so personal. Do any of your creations hold sentimental value? 

I think they all do. No doubt that a custom gold ring with your grandmother’s diamonds wouldn’t. Even a ring or necklace from my sterling silver collection, I have sentiments designing it, making it and parting with it. The customer that wears it would too. It’s in there somewhere. 

Do you keep track of all the wedding bands you’ve made? 

Absolutely. Whether it’s documented or not. I remember the first ring I ever made for someone to propose with. I was 27 and shared a small space on Kingsway called Jeweller Bau, now the downstairs quarters of Budgies Burritos. It was entirely constructed, before I started working in wax. I made it from sterling silver square wire that I pulled and formed into a U-like shape, then soldered a circular bar along the top and set a small diamond on the edge in a tiny bezel. Times have changed. Ha. 

Are diamonds really forever? 

Sure, why not. They haven’t gone anywhere yet and I’m assuming they’ll be here forever. But if I had to choose between a diamond and a sapphire, sapphires are forever and diamonds are just on duty.