Born and raised in Asia to French-Canadian parents, Michelle Lafontaine has a background that might be considered diverse and multi-cultural. Interesting it was. She left Asia and moved to Canada with her family as a teenager, settling with them in a little town in Quebec for a few years before moving to Montreal to study interior design. The desire to be closer to the Pacific Ocean brought her to the West Coast of Canada, where she settled in the beautiful city of Vancouver and began a career as an interior designer. Having always had a dual career as an interior designer and interior design instructor, it was only natural that when Michelle started designing and making jewelry, the desire to pass on her knowledge to others led her to eventually teach jewelry design. Michelle returns to Artful Gathering once again in 2016 with a brand new jewelry workshop, sharing one of her techniques for transforming ceramic into beautiful silver beads.
Design inspiration comes from Michelle’s surroundings in the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest. Living at the base of a mountain and the edge of a forest, with only a short walk to the water, she often stands on the dock looking out at the skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver, only a few miles away. That interesting juxtaposition – one foot rooted in the rugged natural beauty of the wilderness and the other in the quasi-sophistication of a large but laid-back urban city – comes across in her work. Other inspirations come from her love of travel, the mythology of ancient civilizations, tribal cultures, materials that seem to have been dug out of the ground, geographical wonders, and the decay of urban structures … all fascinate her.