Todd Jeffrey Ellis ~ Silversmith
Artist Profile by Emily Ireland
When seeing certain works of art, sometimes it can be hard to imagine that they are made by two hands and a heartbeat. Todd Jeffrey Ellis is one of those gifted artisans; he is a silversmith from the Haliburton Highlands and his work is not just something to see, but rather to experience.
In September 2018 Ellis was commissioned to design and create a ceremonial mace as a symbol of Fleming’s leadership, authority, and values.
With the commission’s only limitation being that of traditional form, Ellis was given the freedom to design as he envisioned and chose elements that would represent Fleming’s existence, achievements, and core principles. He felt that the foundation of the institution is relationships and the community created by the relationships between students, faculty, and administration, which is reflected in the mace’s design.
300 hours of workmanship went into to the project, two kilograms of sterling silver was formed and hand-raised, using both traditional and anticlastic silversmithing techniques. Each medallion and gemstone are tapped and threaded into the sterling silver core allowing movement and turning.
“I wanted the components to stand proud of the mace, not actually touch the body. Supported but not inhibited, they can move as opposed to being permanently held in place. Students, faculty and administration come and go, but support remains, and community endures.” said Ellis.
Ellis holds a Bachelor of Design (BDes) in Material Art & Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). He has worked extensively in various areas of the arts: teaching, directing theater, and set, prop, & furniture design. His love of metalwork took hold when he discovered chasing & repoussé and traditional silversmithing in 1994. Since 1994 he has studied silversmithing techniques at OCADU, George Brown College, and the Haliburton School of the Arts. He has also completed extensive studies with such renowned master silversmiths as Lois Etherington Betterridge, Brian Clark, Charles Lewton Brian, Michael Good and Don Stuart.
Today Todd Jeffrey Ellis works in Paradigm Designs studio, located in Haliburton, Ontario overlooking beautiful Lake Kashagawigamog. The studio is open by appointment and is part of the Haliburton County Studio Tour.
Todd Jeffrey Ellis – silversmith, also offers classes and workshops held at Fleming College HSAD in which he guides you through traditional silversmithing and metalsmithing techniques. You will learn to raise a bowl or vase, or perhaps you have something custom in mind; Ellis invites students to bring ideas and enthusiasm to create a masterpiece.
*For the full Press release on the Fleming Mace please visit https://silversmith.ca/the-ceremonial-mace-of-fleming-college/