Sonja Rosenberg has spent a lot of time in the middle of Canada as well as on either end. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the mother of four learned metalsmithing and jewellery design in Halifax at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and eventually found her way to Castlegar, British Columbia, where she continues to create beautiful artwork today.

When she’s not in her studio, Sonja enjoys spending time in her garden or walking through the mountains near her home. We caught up with her as part of our monthly series that celebrates and showcases local artists.

Hi Sonja. You recently moved to Castlegar, correct?

Yes, I moved with my family to downtown Castlegar from Manitoba last fall. We came to the Kootenays for the mountains, weather, adventure, and community. Our new home has not disappointed.

What’s your favourite part about living in the region?

There are so many great things about the Kootenay region: the friendly, welcoming community, the easy pace of the small city, the stunning landscapes, the creativity and positive energy. I don’t think I can choose just one!

How did you get started in jewellery design?

I began my jewellery and metalsmithing education in Halifax at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, but my introduction to the jewellery world came from my aunt who is also a designer and maker.

What are your favourite types of jewellery to create?

I really enjoy building voluminous shapes out of wire, creating dynamic lightweight pieces, and including beautiful stones whenever possible.


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What’s different about jewellery design versus other forms of artistic endeavours?

The thing that sets jewellery apart from other arts is the material. Designers and makers have the option to work with a variety of precious metals including silver, yellow or white gold and platinum. The artists can set and feature a wide range of precious and semi-precious gemstones or use alternative materials to create intrigue, texture and colour.

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I’m not in my studio you might find me in my garden or walking through the stunning mountain parks, usually with a few kids in tow.

What’s your advice to kids wanting to get into jewellery making?

Wax carving is a great introduction to the jewellery-making world. Learning to carve and shape the wax is a very forgiving and intuitive process, not to mention wax is much cheaper than working directly with silver or gold. The wax carving can then be sent off to the casting house and when they return, it’s like magic holding your new sparkling handmade jewellery for the first time.

Where can we learn more about your work?

If you’re in the neighbourhood, visit the Kootenay Art Gallery. They have a selection of my work to view and try on in person. You can also follow me on social media (@sonjarosenberg), where you can get a peek into my studio, creative process, and keep updated on future events and you can discover more at my website: