Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where horizontal meets vertical, a cross

 About ten years ago when I was visiting my dad back in Texas, my step sister asked me if I ever made crosses. I had made a few years before in my first 5 years of being a jeweler but hadn't in several decades but her question stuck with me and when I returned to California I started playing with a cross design using shape elements that I used in other jewelry forms and also mixing metals. A series of crosses evolved and probably 30 variations later I made the cross at the far left of the group to the right. Back in October of last year, out of the blue

and never having made a cross before, Carlie suddenly started working on a half dozen cross designs most of which we sold at fairs before Christmas. When we started working again in January she continued designing and making crosses and her variations continued. All the other crosses in these two pictures are her designs. It was really great fun and also inspirational to me to watch her play. I imagine that I will make some more crosses in new variations sometime during this upcoming year. This is a typical process for us in our jewel work together, throwing ideas back and forth between our work benches and influencing and inspiring each others work. It's a fun game we play. The crosses without stones pictured here range in price from $135 to $155, the ones with stones range from $145 to $185. The price includes a sterling silver snake chain. I forgot to mention that the last time I visited Texas and saw my step sister, I gave her one of my crosses in thanks for her instigating a successful design series of jewels.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The ever changing Metal Mandala

I call these jewels mandalas, most are set with Chinese fresh water pearls in the center but sometimes I use agate, mother of pearl or gold domes. This metal series has been developing for 30 plus years, although the ones pictured here were all created during the last 10 or 12 years. Before and after I started making jewelry I was attracted to the mandala form and drew and painted in this mode including once a painted one ten feet in diameter on the side of a store in Ventura about 1970.
The metal ones are composed of multi metal layers, the top layer pierced with a thin jewelers saw blade in a variety of patterns and the back layer(s) textured by stamping or roller printing. When the back layer is copper, it is usually colored by heat oxidation with a torch. layers are joined together with rivets that I make out of wire. The design process starts by dividing a circle into equal segments, most commonly eight, but sometime 6, 5, 4 or 3 and then creating a design motif that repeats in each of the sections. I plan to divide a circle into 7 segments this year to see what kind of design that might lead to. These jewels can all be worn as either pins or pendants and although in this illustration they all look the same size, they actually vary in diameter from 1 1/4 inches to 2 1/2 plus inches. I normally only make one at a time and have rarely had more than one in my case at any given showing. These days I'm tending to make ones of smaller scale because the bigger ones are not selling.

Friday, January 13, 2012


It's been a while since I've set any faceted stones, but one of my very good customers brought a very beautiful pink sapphire back from a trip to Madagascar and asked me to make her a ring with it. At this phase of my very long jewelry career I choose to do very little custom work, choosing instead to let myself play at my bench and do what feels good to me but decided to take this one on. As I often do, I'm making models to get a sense of what the sapphire ring will be like. These are the first two models and they sold very fast at Christmas time, one with a Brazilian amethyst and one with a citrine. I'm working on a 3rd now and also the sapphire ring. I'll post pictures of them when they are finished. I'm actually going to create a series of faceted stone rings since I got such a good response and also because I have a stash of faceted stones that have been sitting boxes for years. Knowing me I'll probably even buy some new ones when I go to the San Mateo Gem Show this spring. I'll post pictures as I finish more rings. It's my intention this year to see if I can sell new work through this blog. Actually I've already sold a couple of things, some clients who moved to Atlanta, Georgia and haven't seen me for years found me through this blog and ordered a couple of things recently. 

I'm in the initial phases of creating another blog that will be a teaching blog to share the techniques I use to create my mixed metal jewels. I hope to have it up and running by the 1st of February.