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Artists & Makers

Peter & Traudl Markgraf
prints and serigraphies

James Parry
pen & ink drawings

Lorne Elliott
comedy MP3 tracks

Susan Jephcott
paintings and books

Joan Suzanne Salter
oil and acrylic paintings

Charles Becker
jewelry and miniatures

Heather Lowe
oil paintings

Hudson Shirts
vintage design T's and Sweats

Charles Becker

Minitatures - Regalia
Minitatures - The Ark of the Covenant
Jewelry (coming shortly)

It was my father who instilled in me a love of our Canadian lakes and forests. When I was a boy I spent countless hours with him on fishing expeditions, camping trips, treks through the woods, and long hikes along mountain cliffs. He taught me about the beauty and mystery of nature. He taught me to hug trees and keep exploring. My father also taught me about craftsmanship. I spent much time with him in his shop, watching eagerly over his shoulder, as he constructed fine furniture and did upholstery work. My father was my hero and I have always strived to make him proud.

Mountains, jungles’ lush green growth, inky black skies blazing with unfamiliar constellations, deserts and rivers, have always drawn me in. It was natural for a jeweller with the heart of a Marco Polo to visit gemstone mines whenever I had the opportunity. Mexico for opal, Thailand for sapphire, ruby and pearl. India, with more people than you ever thought possible, for amethyst, moonstone, and aquamarine.

When you think sapphire, you think blue. Emerald is green, and topaz looks like brandy before a cozy fire. Sapphire is corundum and comes in every colour of the rainbow. Next to a diamond, sapphire is one of the hardest gemstones in the world. When it is red, it is a ruby. Sapphire, yellow and green, look like summer. When sapphire is orange, it is called Padparasha, and very rare. In its larger size, the Padparasha rivals fine diamond in its value. Emerald and aquamarine are both beryl. It is the chromium-oxide in the beryl that gives it its green colour.

Sometimes a tired-looking stone can be coaxed to life by man. Some emerald is soaked in a hot mixture of beeswax and pine oil. Sapphire is often placed in a borax bath and heated. This sometimes results in a deeper colour or a clearer sparkle. Like one of us applying hand cream after a day in the garden, we look and feel better.

As a gem’s size increases, so does the price. With small goods, the price per carat is much less.

I learned early in my career as a jeweller, the difference between buying something just okay because it was inexpensive, and paying a little more for gem-quality — the difference is that one of those choices is alive, scintillating and magic.

Making miniatures is a new experience for me. I have never worked on anything at miniature scale before; the work is actually more demanding. Miniature jewellery re-awakened something in me which had dozed off over the years. One example is the Royal Regalia line of miniatures. To make a crown in full-size today, would cost millions. Then, who could buy it? A one-twelfth scale crown however, can be made, with the exact same skill involved, and sell for well under one thousand dollars.

The work is fun and challenging. Thank you to the world of miniatures for the inspiration, and the inspiration yet to come. Thank you for visiting Gallery Plus

Very sincerely, Charles