the earring show
the earring show 2023

the earring show 2023

available online: may 4 – july 31, 2023

on view in gallery: may 4 – may 18

opening event: may 4 

Thank you!

A big thanks to everyone who attended this year’s opening event for The Earring Show, held in-person for the first time since 2019! Thank you to every participating artist, supporters and sponsors, and to everyone who contributed to our annual exhibition in 2023. 

the 10th edition

The Craft Council of BC presented the 10th edition of The Earring Show, an annual exhibition that highlights contemporary jewellery design. The exhibition sheds light on the timeless connection between craft and culture, and how they influence each other. The event provides a novel opportunity for the general public to engage with contemporary craft.

The Earring Show as an exhibition was on view May 4-18, 2023 at CCBC Gallery and was available online from May 4 to July 31, 2023.

meet the 2023 award winners

sherri pelican


Sherri’s work resonates with the play of shapes and layers and the dialogue between materials and surface texture.

Sherri Pelican is a contemporary jewelry designer and metalsmith. She works and resides on the unceded homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation in Vancouver, BC.

The art and craft of jewelry making has been a lifelong passion for her, beginning with a love of beads and beadwork and evolving to designs fabricated in metal.

Her designs are inspired by architecture and urban environment: structures, materials, and surfaces. Textured surfaces, geometric shapes and repetition form the framework of her designs. Within that framework she uses negative space, patterns, and layered elements to create pieces meant draw the eye with depth and texture.

Sherri works primarily in sterling silver and creates all her jewelry by hand using traditional metalsmithing techniques.
She enjoys using traditional jewelry materials such as pearls and semi-precious stones in her designs; but she is continually excited about the exploration and use of non-traditional materials as well. Glass seed beads are one of her favorites for adding color, texture, and dimension to her work.

While she is almost entirely self-taught, Sherri has attended intensive workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Penland School of Craft, and at private studios in the USA.

Sherri created the Latent Series for the 2023 CCBC Earring Show. These small works are based on unperceived and overlooked spaces, and the objects they contain. Sherri was inspired to create these earrings while on her daily walks when she would observe the destruction of and subsequent rebuilding of homes in and around her neighborhood.

The earrings were all fabricated from sterling silver using traditional metalsmithing techniques. In keeping with the idea of unperceived and overlooked spaces, all three pairs of earrings were oxidized and the metal left blackened.

On the earring titled “Under the Eaves”, Sherri used roller printing, stamping, and carving to create rough textures and irregular patterns on the sterling silver. She then added further texture and color by stitching faceted moonstone beads and seed pearls together. These were riveted to the silver base, creating the look and texture reminiscent of a wasp’s nest spotted on a derelict house.

For “Along the Laneway”, Sherri wanted to portray the variety of disparate items dotting laneways throughout her neighborhood. Crushed goldstone and resin were used to create the focal piece, the rough texture like mounds of crushed landscape stone behind a construction site. The faceted stone beads and handmade silver charm are a nod to the debris of demolition, such as broken glass and wire fencing.

Textured metal and semi-precious stone beads were also used for “At the Rain Spout”. Sherri used sterling silver dust and fusing to create a textured and irregular surface which she forged into a concave tube-like shape. She added color, texture, and sparkle by stitching faceted blue quartz beads together and riveting them to the curved base. The dimension, color, and sparkle of the beads in the curve of the metal recall the flow of water through downspouts during Vancouver rainstorms.

burcu büyükünal

limited edition

Burcu describes herself as a designer-maker who creates contemporary jewelry inspired by the making process itself and the materials’ abilities.

Burcu Büyükünal was born in 1980, Ankara, Turkey. She graduated from Industrial Design Department of Istanbul Technical University in 2003. She worked for the jewelry gallery elacindoruknazanpak for four years following her graduation. By the time, she also taught metalsmithing classes in Istanbul Technical University. In 2006, she received Fulbright Award and moved to USA to study jewelry and metalsmithing at SUNY at New Paltz. She completed graduate school in 2009 and returned to Turkey. She cofounded Maden Contemporary Jewelry Studio in December 2011 with her business partner and friend Selen Özus. Currently, she teaches classes at Maden and has been continuing production of her jewellery brand since 2005. She has exhibited her work in various events and exhibitions in USA, Europe and Asia.

Burcu defines herself as a designer-maker who creates contemporary jewelry as well as conceptual art pieces. Her jewelry is inspired by the affordances of materials and techniques and her hands-on experience with them. On the other hand, her conceptual work questions conventions and societal norms relating to body and jewelry. She formats her work at non-functional products that carry challenging questions for herself and the viewer.

Repetitive movement has been present in various collections of mine as I am someone who likes to organize things, stick to the habits and pay attention to details. I like my comfort zone, the predictability of materials and creating harmony, but I’m always on the search for “new”.

I have always assumed stones as a limiting element for design. The Glimpse series started with my curiosity to use stones in my work in my own way. Finally, I was able to shape my relationship with them. (Glimpse1 Earrings) Contrary to their nature, I hid them among the drops of wax. They’re not very noticeable, but they do make small sparks. I set them in wax and send them on the adventurous journey of casting. They sometimes come out just fine and sometimes have some cracks inside. I keep them as they are unless they got too fragile. I also keep silver in its raw white color it comes out of casting. As a trained designer, I am used to creating design alternatives of an idea. So, I made stoneless pieces (Glimpse2 Earrings) using just wax drops to see how the idea evolves. I used oxidation letting the silver drops stand out and sparkle as stones.

PLA is a material I used long before wax and stones. I use PLA filament flowing from a 3D pen and let the material flow creating paths and drops in a way that is similar to the one I use wax. I’m interested in the surface that forms when PLA flows onto the flat area I’m working on. This means that I see the result only when I finished my drawing and lifted it from the table. I use white and translucent PLA filaments and support them with silver sheet on the back to create depth on flat surfaces. (Surface Earrings)

kate gardiner

emerging artists

Handcrafted in tribute to the rangelands.

Kate Gardiner is an artist based in Canberra, Australia. Beginning in 2015, Kate undertook a number workshops including vessel making lead by silversmith Alison Jackson (Ferro Forma), contemporary enamelling techniques lead by Barbara Ryman at the Australian National University, and she has forged Damascus steel and crafted Japanese knives at the workshop of metalsmith Karim Haddad at Tharwa Valley Forge. Throughout 2018 – 2020, Kate attended jewelry making workshops under the guidance of goldsmith Katie Shanahan at KIN Gallery, Canberra. During this period Kate developed, trialled and resolved what has become her Rangelands series of earrings.

Kate’s artistic focus stems from both personal and career influences. Her formative years were spent on her family’s farm in the rangelands of western New South Wales, Australia. During her career firstly as a Primary School teacher, and later working in Fine Art galleries and historic house museums, Kate maintained a focus on raising awareness of environmental capital. Bearing these experiences in mind, Kate designs jewellery to be worn on the ears as a metaphor for the imperative to listen to the critically-informed, innovative work farmers are doing to repair ecological systems in the rangelands of her homeland and across the world. Through her Rangelands Revealed project, Kate makes an annual donation to the Adopt an Acre program lead by Frances and David Pollock, owners of Wooleen Station located in the rangelands of Western Australia.

Kate has a Bachelor of Teaching, and a Master of Art Administration. Commencing in May 2022, Kate is currently employed as an Artist in Resident at KIN Gallery, and she continues a self-directed practice to build her skills.

Techniques Kate Gardiner utilises in her Rangelands series include annealing, rolling, saw-piercing, and oxidising sterling silver, as well as hand-sewing silk thread into some of the designs. In other designs, pieces of 9 karat yellow gold wire are inserted in a random arrangement across the face of the sterling silver earrings. Each pair of earrings combine fine materials and textural qualities, and they are fitted with handcrafted sterling silver hooks.

The colours and design elements are inspired by both macro and micro features found in the landscape of western New South Wales in Australia. For example, the curved edge detail traces a line similar to the sandstone ridges that extend for kilometres through the rangelands, while the size of individual earrings is similar to the pieces of bark of the Leopardwood tree; called ‘ngyarrkaray’ in the language of Traditional Custodians the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people, and in Latin Flindersia maculosa. Coloured silk thread has been used to represent either the dark shadows cast by the layers of peeling bark, or on a much larger scale the red, sandy-loam soils of the rangelands. Similarly, designs incorporating 9 karat yellow gold wire, balled at each end and set into the sterling silver so that they move slightly, is an element reminiscent of the small pieces that crumble off the bark, while at the same time they are arranged across the blackened surface like stars dotted across the vast night sky.

earrings: craft and culture

The Earring Show serves as a unique space that presents earrings as art, culture and a snapshot of contemporary high-level craftsmanship. Over the past 7000 years, earrings have acted as a window into cultural practices. At times, earrings have been used to introduce new norms into culture, at other times, culture has been expressed through earrings. The exhibition recognizes the importance of earrings throughout history in their various roles, from adornment and status markers, to protest and cultural statements.

This year, the exhibition sees over 200 handmade earring submissions from around the world, made from an extensive variety of mediums. These earrings are never neutral; they express a passion for art, design, technique, a societal concern, a cultural statement, or simply the physical expression of the artist’s craft. The artwork often relays a story that speaks to a part of the makers’ identity. Through the exhibition, these unique pieces and their stories have the potential to become a part of the wearers’ own story. This reflects one of the goals of the Show: to create shared experiences around craft between makers and wearers.

The Earring Show began as a one-day local event, and over the past 10 years, it has grown in its scope, meaning and representation – while always acting as a contemporary reflection of craft and culture. Today, The Earring Show is a hybrid event, displaying earring submissions both at the CCBC gallery in Vancouver and online.

artwork categories

Artists who submit their artwork to The Earring Show can do so under one of 3 categories: One-Of-A-Kind, Limited Edition and Emerging Artists. 

One-Of-A-Kind pieces are just that – one-of-a-kind. They are unique earrings that are neither mass produced nor produced in a limited run. These earrings have a special combination of characteristics, materials and craftsmanship that make them irreproducible. 

Limited Edition earrings are pieces produced in limited runs that demand careful and skilled craftsmanship for consistency. While pieces in this category can have multiples reproduced, there are still slight variations among them, due to the properties of the materials (e.g., variations in gemstones, for example), design decisions from the artist (e.g., variations in colour with dyed materials) as well as the handmade nature of the artwork.

Emerging Artists can apply as they go through the early stages of their making career. The Earring Show aims to provide a space for students, early graduates or self-taught makers that have recently started out. 

A jury selects a winner from each category to receive a prize for their work. The awardees are announced during the opening night.