It all started with plastic ponies. When Su Foster was young, her mother came home with a bag of leather scraps from which the designer fashioned miniature saddles for these toys. Even at a young age she showed a keen attention to and love for detail, adding stirrups and even buckles to the crafted saddlery. Continuing to exercise her creative muscle in high school, Foster made faces out of clay which were painted and sold to classmates. They were so popular that for a year she sold them in west coast boutiques.
Since the early days as a kid crafter, Foster has become known locally as a skilled jeweller and talented artist. She has three beautiful lines created in a studio space in East Vancouver in the artist-occupied Mergatroid Building. The West Coast line is comprised of textured rings inspired by the nature found in British Columbia: woodgrain, rain, driftwood and rainforests. The artist shared that this line was motivated by the men she often saw at craft shows with their wives and girlfriends; "I'd always see husbands and boyfriends wandering around with a glazed-over look on their face, so I thought what would men like?" Salad-days is a line of fun, dainty and affordable rings and earrings inspired by plants. It was created as a budget-friendly introductory line that wouldn't intimidate first-time customers. The third line currently in development is a luxurious collection of filigree jewelry made of silvers and golds. The filigree was born of Foster's love for small repetitive tasks as well as the desire to display the more advanced techniques learned in school: "Because there are so many jewellers out there, I try to do really technique oriented processes so I can stand out."
When asked about her affinity for crafting rings (two of the collections are ring-focused), Foster explained, "I think I do rings because a lot of people don't. In order to make a ring you have to have some jewellery education; you need to know how to solder for example, so somebody who does beading or hemp can't compete." The artist learned these more advanced techniques at Kootenay School of the Arts where she earned a diploma in Jewelry and Small Object Design. Also adding to her credentials was an after school job in high school where she worked with a local goldsmith placing tiny scales on the backs of the brass dragon sculptures he made. As a self professed lover of miniscule, repetitive tasks, the part-time job was a labour of love.
Foster's inspiration often arises from the need to get creative. A lack of tools and supplies can be the inspiration for some of her best ideas. This common thread of creativity has always been there and has been crucial in her success as both a jeweller and artist. The West Coast ring collection can be found a Lloyds of Gastown and Salad Days is available at Forsya Boutique on Main St. She is also very active at craft shows and sells some pieces in her online shop.