Caroline Lanctôt-Benoit: Multi-faceted jewelry
This article is one of a series on artists who will be participating in the various Christmas markets in Brome-Missisquoi
There is an equivalent for Transformers and Bionicles in the gentler world of jewelry. Caroline Lanctôt-Benoit conceptualized them and then created them.
It was once a bracelet and now, by adjusting the chain, it suddenly turns into a short or long necklace. The decorative jewel that’s on it is reversible, set with topazes on one side, made solely of brushed or hammered metal on the other side. It’s like having four jewels in one!
As Caroline Lanctôt-Benoit notes, in a competitive market you have to be able to stand out. But it’s also because she has a deep, long-lasting love for her artistic practice, where she places an emphasis on research and continual development, both in design and technique. And, of course, she has also studied the physical attributes of stones. “I’m constantly learning,” she remarks. “I get hours of pleasure from doing the research, designing and testing.”
But whatever trends are emerging or developing in her field of endeavour, the finesse and elegance of her jewelry pieces are her trademark. “And I make jewelry that looks like me, jewelry that, in my mind, is nice,” adds Caroline.
Meaning and long-lasting
While a piece of jewelry is quite small, there is often a great deal of significance to what the jewelry means. Caroline is well-placed to realize this, even more so because she frequently restores and designs pieces on special request. “Stones are symbolic, based on culture,’’ says Caroline. “For example, a jewel might mean a life fulfillment, a fresh start or the birth of a child. The mere fact of restoring a ring can sometimes have great significance.” Caroline Lanctôt-Benoit says she is deeply honoured to be part of this process, which often involves emotional meetings, where people confide in her.
Caroline developed a love for jewelry making at a young age. “It was my hobby, when I was really young,” she relates. “I was making jewelry while my friends were out riding their bikes.” Sure, it was a hobby, but was it a profession? To be on the safe side in case it didn’t work out, she earned a degree in administration with a concentration on marketing, but she ended up going back into jewelry making. And she realizes very early on that she made the right decision. Her practice allows her to be close to her family, as the kids come and play in her workshop. At other times, she enjoys the balance between working alone and the crowds that come out for the arts and crafts shows. “It’s a lot of fun meeting people, finding out what they like and what the latest trends are, and explaining the differences between arts and crafts and a product that’s made in China.”
Convenience is important and productive for Caroline. The latter is what prompted her to make comfortable jewelry that isn’t clingy, and to make rings, bracelets and necklaces for people whose wrists and fingers aren’t a conventional size.
At this year’s Christmas Market
Caroline Lanctôt-Benoit has created some jewelry especially for the Christmas Market – a sterling silver snowflake, set, depending on the models, with topazes, peridot sapphires or garnets. “All stones that are selected to emulate the glazed side of the snowflake, which is so white it turns bluish. Like what you see when you get up on a winter morning,” she explains. This piece of jewelry will be offered with a choice of various length necklaces, to be worn as a pendant or as a bracelet.
Caroline jewelry will be available at Roche papier ciseaux, salon des métiers d’art contemporain in Bromont.