The Artist, Lucya Almeida

 

I was born in Angola, Africa where my family lived for a number of years before eventually immigrating from the Portuguese islands of the Acores to Canada, settling in Toronto. Both of my parents worked with their hands, my mother as a clothing designer and seamstress and my father as a master carpenter.

When I was nine years old, we moved to a neighbourhood in Little Portugal, where 'old Europe meets 21st century style' (http://littleportugal.ca/home) in a blend of galleries, boutiques, and late night entertainment. There just so happened to be a bead shop two blocks away, a magpie's haven. Need I say more? I turned a childhood hobby into a successful career when I was "thankfully" laid off my office job. My company name is a play on my middle name, Fatima, and I used the word "collection" to incorporate all of my strengths and interests.

I am also a percussionist and have studied and performed with outstanding percussionists Glen Sorzano, Nicholas Hokin, Mutadhi, Ron Cross and Armando Borg as well as drummer Mark Hundevad. I currently play with Jim Heineman's Dream Band and Mark Hundevad's Controlled Demolition. I co-produced and performed on my musical mentor Jim Heineman's CD entitled 'Rh Positive,'  Jim Heineman's Dream Band, and Live@Lorraine's, which was nominated for an International Independant Music Award for best Jazz song in 2011 for the title track and won the public vote for the category.

I've sold my jewelry to galleries and boutiques all over the country, and at shows and festivals mostly in Southern Ontario. Now based in the beautiful rolling hills of Bethany, I still have a "pop-up shop" at my place on Ossington Avenue during the warm weather. The same Toronto property is also my music & art gallery called 'Fatima In The Alley.'

My mission at The Tima Collection is to create unique, beautiful and good quality jewelry. I create pieces made from natural earthy materials that carry on the ancient tradition of wearing jewelry for healing, protection, inspiration and assistance in times of transition and transformation. Inspired by these things, and by life growing up in Little Portugal and the cool rhythms of Toronto jazz, my logo is, “Jewelry for Body & Soul."


ABOUT THE JEWELRY:

Most of my materials still come from business owners in downtown Toronto, some of whom I've had business relations going back 20 years when first starting out. Most of the copper I used is manufactured by a company in the United States, as are the hypoallergenic niobium hooks used in many of the earrings designs. All of the jewelry is crafted using hand tools, so you might find the odd nick, but we take care to ensure high quality craft and this serves as a reminder of its handmade origin.

Recently I've found a supplier for beautiful 100% copper chain. Many shop items feature these chains, making them about 95% copper (except for the findings: clasps, jump rings and chain extensions). Most of the findings are copper plated steel or brass. All of the jewelry is 100% nickel and lead free.

How do you clean copper jewelry? Simply use soft steel wool, found at a local hardware store, or a silver polishing cloth. Most of my work is left as raw copper, and so it does darken over time but polishing with steel wool gives a lovely textured finish. Also, if worn often the oils in your skin will keep the copper shiny and bright.

Will it turn my skin green? It might a bit, especially on very hot, humid days. It may also depend on your body's acidic levels, sometimes related to diet. Many people find copper jewelry helps for arthritic pains, and copper is antimicrobial, used widely in medicine. Many people also love the earthy, textured look of aged copper. For these reasons most of my copper work is left raw, however the necklace chains and findings are treated with a coating so you won't have to worry about a green neck. Also, I use hypoallergenic niobium metal hook earrings.

    Lucya trained from 1995 until 1999 at the Transpersonal Therapy Center in Toronto, and has worked part time on and off as a therapist since.