Imagine carrying a piece of your favourite wine everywhere you go. That's what it's like for a wine lover who is wearing a piece of Asil Designs jewelry.
Lisa Pearce brought wine and jewelry, two of her favourite things, together through her grapevine-inspired collection. From earrings to necklaces to bracelets, the jewellery contains an actual piece of vine taken from the vineyards where their favourite wines are prepared.
Pearce, who was born and raised in Thunder Bay moved out to Niagara with her now husband for school.
As a winemaker, Pearce’s husband, Adam Pearce, saw a calling out to the vineyards in the West, where they eventually moved after finishing school. It was during one of her walks in the vineyards that inspiration struck
“I was walking through the vineyard one day and I just said there's got to be a way…” she said.
“To take the grapevine and put it together with jewellery and not make it corny or cheesy but make it something people would want to wear.”
Which is how her first grapevine jewellery collection was born in 2017.
Though the inspiration for Lisa Pearce’s niche jewelry collection began during her time in the Okanagan vineyards, for her, the humble beginnings of entrepreneurship and small business life started 20 years ago, when she “dabbled in just about everything” along with her sisters at their Thunder Bay home- turning their parents’ home into a boutique shopping experience for one weekend every year, selling their creations.
At the time, Lisa made her first jewelry pieces not knowing what would come out it.
Eventually, she made her way to Niagara for school, where she studied Art Design Fundamentals and Graphic Design, and her now-husband studied viticulture and became a winemaker. Okanagan Valley in British Columbia called out to the couple as they made their way to the West, far from Thunder Bay, for six years before moving back to St. Catharines in Niagara and being closer to Thunder Bay.
“Living out west was beautiful, but it was just difficult to travel back and forth often [to Thunder Bay],” Pearce said.
Once they moved to Niagara, Pearce continued designing her grapevine-inspired jewellery and built her small business, Asil Designs.
Lisa Pearce said her designs have evolved over the years, and “with my husband being a winemaker, also from Thunder Bay, we were blessed to live in and around beautiful vineyards, it was only natural that my designs would eventually lead that way.”
It was her desire to stand out from other jewellery artists that led her to her “Vineyard Collection,” where she incorporates a piece of grapevine into each one-of-a-kind design that’s perfect for any wine lover, especially as gifts, she said. Adding that, “each piece is labelled with the variety of grape that it is made with so you can “wear your favourite wine.”
Although she enjoys making all kinds of mixed media jewellery and has created different collections, she is most proud of her “Grapevine Jewelry” and is excited about what the future holds for her little business.
For your beer buddies, she’s just launched her “Craft Beer Label” line, made out of recycled Fairweather beer labels, making a great Christmas gift.
Christmas markets and the small-knit community
Although Pearce lives in Niagara with her family, she said Thunder Bay has a special place in her heart as “home.”
You can find her and her designs usually in the Craft Revival Christmas markets in Thunder Bay, as well as other markets in Southern Ontario.
She has also created a “Hometown series” jewellery line featuring Lake Superior stones and paintings of the sleeping giant along with her love for the city.
“The community reception has been amazing,” she said. “Living in Ontario’s wine region has been amazing for my small business and Thunder Bay always welcomes my designs with open arms…I love coming “home” and seeing all my regular customers and meeting so many new ones each year!”
She said her designs cater to all wine lovers, especially to tourists coming to Niagara. They make wonderful gifts for wine lovers and people bring these back to their loved ones as souvenirs, she said.
“When I do these [jewellery] shows, I'm set apart from all the other you know, it's something different, it's something unique,” she said.