Making connections
October 16, 2012

angela-grace-necklace-235  angela-grace-ring-235 
 angela-grace-fox-235  angela-grace-ring2-235
Photos by Christina Arsenault  

Angela Arsenault (BFA 2004) is getting used to seeing her jewelry adorning the fingers, wrists, necks and earlobes of celebrities. But even as she smiles for the camera and stands next to her famous admirers, she’s thinking of her patrons back home.

Just back from the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, where she was invited to show her work in the gifting suite, Angela says it’s all about getting her name out there and building her fledgling business, Angela Grace Jewelry. In the spring, she jetted off to France and spent a few days in the gifting suite at the Cannes Film Festival.

“For me, this isn’t about celebrities. It’s about the publicity I get locally before and after,” says Angela, a Cape Bretoner now living in Halifax. On her blog,, you can see her posing next to TV actresses Alicia Josipovic (Degrassi), Sandra Vidal (The Bold and the Beautiful), Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory) and many others as they flash their new made-in-Nova Scotia jewelry.

The tactic seems to be working. While in Los Angeles and Cannes, she garnered a lot of attention both at home and internationally for her elegant, beautifully crafted pieces—small, wearable works of art in gold, silver, bronze and copper.

“When I was in Cannes, I was meeting reporters from around the world, from Fashion TV, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar,” she says. “These are connections you don’t get sitting at home.”

And business is hopping. Her work is carried at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s gallery shop, Swoon Fine Art Gallery and J & R Grimsmo in Halifax, Dots and Loops in Lunenburg, and Distill and Labour of Love in Toronto. As well, she sells online through her Etsy shop and at craft shows, including the upcoming NSDCC Christmas Show, Nov. 16-18 at the Cunard Event Centre and the Halifax Crafters’ Holiday Market, Dec. 1 and 2 at the Olympic Centre. Her best seller is her fox ring, a cast-metal piece which has gemstone eyes and a tail which curls around the finger to form the band.

Interestingly, Angela attended NSCAD, graduating with her BFA in 2004, but studied photography and film—not jewelry. She discovered her calling later, after taking a jewelry class through the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design and getting encouragement from teacher Peter Laurence. She then attended a two-year intensive course at Vancouver Community College.

But her NSCAD experience serves her well, in terms of her approach to her work and the connections she made.

“I feel we’re all supporting each other; it’s a good community,” says Angela. Her sister Christina Arsenault (BFA 2008) does all her photography and many other NSCAD entrepreneurs assist by carrying her work in their shops. “You make great connections even though you have no idea where they’ll take you down the road.”

angela-grace-300  Angela Arsenault in her tiny Halifax studio. (Christina Arsenault Photo)