Prompt 1 – Gift

Gifting Presentation

For this first Prompt, each of us wrote our name down on a piece of paper and placed it in a bowl. WhIchever name we drew was the classmate we were meant to create a thoughtful handmade gift for. at the end of the week, we were to present it to them in front of the rest of the class.

I chose Howsem for my giftee. To keep it casual, Howsem and I sat outside in the sun with coffees purchased at the University cafe. I asked him about his biological and chosen family, his reason for falling in love with design, his choosing of ECUAD, his passion for reading and making books, his love of cooking, his tattoo, his girlfriend, their cat, and the distance between them.

After speaking with Howsem, I made a mind-map on a piece of scrap paper of all of the details he shared with me about his life and passions. Below is the consolidated extension of the quick mind-map—

Consolidated mind-map image

I tried to pay attention and noted down the moments where Howsem reflected fondly on memories or passions. These included his love for his cat, girlfriend, handcrafted gifts, cooking, and making and reading books. Howsem also excitedly spoke about his planned future tattoo of his cat Mitmit by a local Vancouver illustration tattoo artist, and he was looking forward to a future trip to see his girlfriend and cat in Toronto.


With my skill and knowledge as a jewellery and metalsmithing artist, a bookmark seemed like the perfect way to illustrate and showcase all that Howsem shared with me.

Brooches by Hyun-seok Sim
Octaevo Brass stamped Bookmark – used as a metal thickness/gauge guide
Brooches by Hyun-seok Sim
Detail of face markings
Side profile
Another side angle

First bookmark iterations

Design variations.

More variations.

Moving on to paper models and brass sheet tests for the correct drill and saw blade sizing.

Planning out the drill and saw lines and breaks

Finishing Touch

After drilling and sawing out the final piece, I then de-burred, filed, and sanded the edges to a high polish. For a clean and consistent finish, I sanded the two sides in circular motions with 1200grit sandpaper and brass brushed with soap and water.

Wrapping it up

I personally feel great joy out of wrapping a gift with care. To me, it feels like an extension of the gift and it can elevate the overall experience. Years ago, I began and branded a jewellery business, Worthy Maker, where I accumulated various sustainable packaging materials such as jewewllery recycled boxes and bags, each stamped with my logo. I carefully placed the handcrafted brass bookmark in one of the black jewellery boxes, wrapped it in tissue paper, placed it in a black gift bag with tufts of tissue paper, which I find always brings joy. I then wrote a card to Howsen that read as follows;


Thank you for sharing parts of yourself and your life with me. I took great joy in witnessing your passion for your born-into and created families as well as your passion for reading and creating books.

My hope is that this handcrafted solid brass bookmark will bring additional joy to the experience of reading and viewing your books. I hope it does this through both its simple page-marking and the reminder of your beautiful Toronto family of 2, Mitmit and Kori.

I enjoyed our discussion about the strangeness of our relationship with cats. What incredibly complex creatures they are that some of us welcome them into our families with open loving arms even after they ignore and scratch us to bits. Mitmit is lucky to have such unconditional love and care from you and Kori. I’m sure that you will be reunited with them soon and you can bring back some fresh Mitmit battle-scars!

I look forward to getting to know you further,


~ written card by Jade

Curious Process Reflections

As someone with social anxiety, I find initiating social interactions agonizing at times. Reflecting on the process of this Prompt project, it gave us the opportunity as a cohort to get to know one another in a unique way through the informal interviewing, designing, creating, and sharing of intentional gifts for one another. I have come to not only further understand and know Howsem, my “Giftee”, but I have also come to further understand myself and how my social anxiety presents itself. I am grateful for this prompt as it gently nudged me out of my comfort zone both socially in our Cohort as well as creatively in my studio.

I believe that with the ultimate purpose of this Prompt being to begin a connection with our cohort, a value of curiosity took place of my social anxiety. This granted me the freedom to speak openly with Howsem, to attempt to be the listener that he deserves. In my experience, to know someone – or to begin that process – requires a willingness and ability to show up with curiosity.

Design Flaws

After speaking with Howsem, there were some elements of the design that could use some improvements. In the past, I have created 1 or 2 bookmarks with the response being that they were too thick. For this gift, I decided to research what thickness of metal larger companies were stamping their brass bookmarks out of. I based the gifted bookmark thickness off of the standard gauge from my research but I failed to wonder if the bookmarks were a strong or less malleable alloy of brass to what I had in my shop. Because of this, as well as sawing the whole way across some of the illustrated lines without breaks, the bookmark bent at the base of the legs when it fell out of his book. if i were to tackle this again, I would thicken the brass .05-.1mm more and test the design again. I would also learn how to engrave so that I could engrave the lines in some areas where the connection points might be too weak or thin. As another option, I would attempt to saw it out thinner and sweat-solder it to a flat sheet so that the cutout and sawn areas were backed my metal. This would create more of a relief look but it would also take much longer to form and finish.

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