Allan Hill grew up in St. Marys, Ontario Canada – a small town located close to Stratford, Ontario – a place know for it’s Shakespearean and Modern plays and artistic atmosphere. It may have been this influence that led to his creative side, always tinkering with objects and finding out their inner workings, or his father who, now passed, was passionate about everything from sailing (and fixing up the sailboat) to every and any musical instrument – often fixing and giving new life to those items as well.
Allan grew up believing anything could be improved with a little hard work and learning, and had a natural talent for detailed work with his hands.
In early 2012 Laurel brought Allan a project – she wanted a wooden ring. She had seen pictures of the idea online, and being in love with nature, thought that wooden rings would be the perfect option as wedding bands for the two of them. Allan set to work to create one and soon Laurel had more rings than she could wear. Allan’s natural inclination towards perfecting whatever art form he tackles led to him innovating and improving at a rapid pace, each ring a more solid, beautiful and perfect piece than the one before.
Since that first ring in 2012, Allan has found a passion for woodworking and goldsmithing and has improved his talents at every opportunity.
In 2015 he trained with an artisan woodworker to learn the art of the lathe to create beautifully finished wooden bowls from many different woods, improving his own woodworking experience and knowledge of how to handle exotic hardwoods.
In 2017 Allan travelled to California to train at a jewelry school in the art of lost wax casting and become a goldsmith, working with precious metals to create our precious metal core and luxury line of rings.
In 2018 Allan will be travelling to a school in Florida to further his skill of gemsetting and learn advanced techniques to offer our customers even more in the way of their custom designed jewelry.
Allan’s ability to bring together woodworking and goldsmithing has resulted in some of the most beautiful custom jewelry. His dedication to his art form and need to always compete with his own best only leads to better and better offerings from Northwood Rings.
Laurel Hill grew up in a small farming town in southwestern Ontario. Her grandparents owned a large hobby farm with acres of wooded land and lots of room for her inventor grandfather to work on his projects. Before even beginning kindergarten Laurel was often found at her grandfather’s workbench, watching him piece together a new idea or weld metal from a safe distance. When not inventing or building, her grandfather would take her for long walks through the woods or down the country concession to a bird sanctuary providing shelter for Canada Geese, a bald eagle, peacocks and multiple other birds that Laurel fed and admired. It was through this man that Laurel discovered her love for nature, conservation and crafting new ideas.
Always inventive, Laurel spends most of her free time in nature or learning a new craft form. She has an insatiable drive to try and discover many creative outlets – from rug hooking (a Nova Scotia pastime), to weaving, to alcohol ink painting – if it’s creative you can guarantee Laurel will want to be involved and give it at least one good try.
Laurel will be the first to tell you that although she loves being hands on with her projects, Allan is the one who can perfect those small details in real life. Laurel’s talent may not be in her hands, like Allan, but she is skilled behind a computer using programs to bring her ideas, or yours, to fruition. She has a natural hunger for learning and creating, and programs like Illustrator, Photoshop and CAD design come easily to her. She is able to work within these systems to take an idea from words to a sketched design and has a natural talent for color, proportion and balance in her work. Most of the ring designs available on Northwood Rings are her own design, and she enjoys creating pieces that are unlike any other.
In early 2018 Laurel trained in Toronto to become a certified jewelry CAD designer to further her own skills and to open up the ability to work directly with customers to bring their designs to life in a tangible way – to be able to send them detailed sketches, renders, and then print their design to be cast by Allan. Northwood’s investment in a 3D wax printer along with Rhino Gold software has given Laurel the tools to bring new designs to Northwood in unimaginable ways. We are excited to see what work will come about from these new additions.
We couldn’t run Northwood Rings without our employees. Whether they are hands-on talent in creating the rings, talented in organizing our office, providing top-notch customer care via email and phone, or providing a wagging happy greeting to all who enter our workspace, our team is our backbone and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. Meet our team members below.
Kristina joined our team in early 2016 and has been a pro at making rings right from the start. We knew she’d be perfect when we spotted her nails. You might see them featured on our instagram when she models rings – they are works of art in themselves!
Her attention to the fine details makes her unbeatable at design when it comes to our rings. If you have a mother of pearl or pau shell inlay in your ring the chances are it was set by Kristina. She takes care in selecting and placing every piece into the inlay for a perfect finish.
When she’s not at work you can find her:
- Running her own creative business (she makes records into purses!)
- Designing those fabulous nails
- Behind a camera lens taking amazing shots
Not present in our actual workshop, but still a major part of our team, is our email support contractor Bailey. If you’ve had the pleasure of dealing with Bailey by email you know she has a talent and love for customer support. Our shop wouldn’t be the same without her, even if she isn’t physically with us on a daily basis.
Parker is the owners Barbet puppy (that’s a French Water Dog for anyone wondering).
She was brought into our family early in October 2017, but she didn’t take long to settle into her role of ‘Shop Dog’. She loves visiting and getting spoiled with pets and attention whenever she shows up.
When she’s not at the shop she can be found:
- At the dog park. It’s her favourite place outside of work!
- Begging for treats or pets from anyone…there can never be enough.
- Curled up on the cushions at home. Play hard and nap long, she seems to have life figured out.