Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dog Charm

Woof! woof!!
Meet Picasso, one of my recent custom orders.
I have been finishing some last minute holiday commissions before I leave the city for some family time in the country.  I was excited to work on a piece that will be dangling from the charm bracelet that also holds the gargoyle charm I made a while ago.  I took a shot of the wax before I casted the charm in 18 karat yellow gold.  I ended up using two different types of wax - the blue wax I could carve into using wax burs on my flex shaft as well as dental tools that I use for carving and then the pink wax on the ears.  The pink were tiny wax sheet pieces that I folded and then bonded to the blue wax by melting it in place.  The dog became more and more delicate to carve as he got smaller and I ended up having to give him surgery a few times when almost all his legs fell off, but I think he definitely ended up being well worth the effort.  I am especially proud of the texture I gave his shiny gold fur.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pin Swap

Bunch 'o brooches

Scrap transformed into "Platinum" brooch

Yay! Self promotion.
Tonight is the Annual General Meeting for the Metal Arts Guild.  As an icebreaker they encourage members to create pins that they can swap with others.  Yesterday, knowing that I am dying to trade with other creative folk I decided to whip up some enamel brooches.  Instead of creating perfect forms I searched through my copper scrap bin for pieces with an interesting shape that I wouldn't have to alter.  I have quite a few pieces from my hydraulic press dyes that didn't work out.  Sometimes the copper sheet was too close to the edge and collapsed into my dye when I was adding pressure, so I gave six of them an enamel makeover.  I sawed out some forms to hold the pin back in place, but other then that and the enamel I didn't change my scrap pieces all that much.  I decided to add on a painted layer of enamel that I labelled each with a different metal. Just before firing them in the kiln for the last time I added my blog address and name, just so each recipient knows who it is from.  Hopefully some of the new owners will be reading this shortly after meeting me and exchanging for one of their creations!

Friday, September 9, 2011

More Painted Enamel

Today I was able to keep a better watch over my painted enamel pieces when they were in the kiln with UV googles that aren't as dark as mine.  So, each of them turned out wonderfully.  Each of these was done on a coloured layered instead of the a white background, like the ones in yesterday's post.  Now comes the tricky part - fabricating something to set these babies into.  I am unsure of what to make them into - pendant? ring? brooch? Help me decide! 

I have been going into each little guy without really thinking about what I want to paint beforehand.  I think if I end up painting more I will continue with my tattoo theme and throw in some medieval inspiration as well as looking back to some poetry that I love.  And lots more skulls of course.  Suggestions for ideas are welcome!

This is all eventually leading to some grander scale pieces that I have in mind.  I definitely wanted to get the knack of using my acrylic enamels before jumping in too deep & so far, so good.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Painting with Enamel

Lately I have been extremely creatively scattered.  I have been burning myself out by making things at home - stenciling some handmade pillows, cutting linoleum prints, and doing some painting.  Also, attempting to organize things to avoid working.  I spent way too many hours online scouring for a new duvet cover.  Go ahead and judge me.  However, since I painted my bedroom I have been in need of something that matches the new colour (insert rampant consumer jab here).  In between my online journeying i whipped up some enamel paintings.  I should also let everyone in on the fact that I was watching Battlestar Galactica while doing so.  The skull was a connection to my ongoing obsession with the Dias de los Muertos.  I have been contemplating getting more tattoos lately, hence the tattoo designs.  I'm sure my mom appreciates them being painted on jewellery rather than on me.  My years of drawing henna tattoos have been put to use once again!  The one thing I found out about enamel that I hadn't known before is that red and white enamel repel... if you are lucky you can catch it before it happens (which is why you are seeing this batch of pieces and not the last ones I made - now lost to the light of day and never to be seen again).  Enamel is not always predictable and or reliable.  I left the bird piece in the kiln a tad too long, and it developed a speckly quality that I had not initially intended.

  I think I made the frame and components a bit more complicated than they need to be, I will be messing around with an alternative.  I painted each little vignette on white enamel, so my next batch of them are on coloured backgrounds.  Hopefully those work out and are worthy of a post. 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Lotus Ring

Check out the new Wedding Band I finished recently!  It's a joy carving anything organic and I was excited to create this design because I like that it will it will sit flush against her engagement ring, blooming on top.

I casted this ring in 14 karat gold and then added a sandblasted finish (leaving the inside high polish, so it feels nice and smooth against the skin).

Friday, June 17, 2011

HD Ring for Jeff

Here's where it starts, with a rough piece of wax.

I drew the shape on and sawed off the excess.
Using various files and wax burs I shaped the flame.
I smoothed it out and hollowed the back out to reduce the weight.
I added the band using my wax pen to melt the pieces together.
I decided to use the green wax for the band because it holds sharper detail.

Lots of Process shots today! The first thing off the top of my head since I just finished editing the photos this very moment - right after I finished making the ring itself. I completely guessed the size so hopefully this will end up fitting my brother on his birthday tomorrow. As you can see from the photos, I started out making the fireball as a separate piece before eventually adding it to a ring shank that I created. I was going to keep the fireball fairly simplistic, however after starting to carve it out I added a few more flares, for a more layered look. Once I attached the the ring I had to redraw the logo on three or four times until I liked the placement of it. After I casted it and polished it up a bit I decided to add a patina to it to make it look a bit more bad-ass, somehow it didn't look as good at a simple high polish. All in all, I'm glad I challenged myself with the logo on the band. I could probably spend several more hours perfecting it, but I am pleased with how it turned out. I hope my brother likes his new ring!

Friday, June 3, 2011


I have been continuing my explorations with enameling. I started off with some cloisonné characters, but their images are going to be kept under wraps until I have them all fleshed out (several months from now, no doubt). I have also been experimenting with some simple sgraffito - a technique in which you scrap away enamel you have sifted onto the surface. The feathers were pierced from copper sheeting then I have layered two colours on top of each other. After firing the base layer I sifted the second colour and using a toothpick I scraped away to reveal the base colour and add more dimension to the feathers. I made these in mind with the Pay-it-forward volunteers from a facebook wall post a while back. To give all those who are not in the know a run-down on how this works: I spotted the declaration on a friend's wall for all willing participants to repost so that the first five people who commented could receive something that you have handmade. I contemplated going off into left field and creating something non-jewellery related, however as you can plainly see that did not happen.

Collana numero cinque is in the works currently...

So for any of the participants who are going to be receiving something in the mail from me... after numbering each piece I drew names randomly to select who was getting which feather. I hope everyone loves their new necklace!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A rabbit, a squirrel and a bird, oh my!

You may have noticed a trend in my posts. I absolutely love making gifts for people. Personalizing jewellery for my near and dears gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. It truly is better to give than receive. I love when my mind whirs into action thinking about a person and what they love in life and making something that reflects their personality and will hopefully bring a little joy into their life.

When I thought of this idea for a friend I went into idea overdrive and wanted to tack on as many components and do-dads as possible. How could one not love a piece that can be displayed, has interchangeable components and of course is all made by hand (a crazy person, that's who).

So, ladies and gents gaze upon this here object with envy because it is a one-of-a-kind creation for one special person!

I fabricated the pendant from copper that I then used different coloured flocking to jazz it up. I actually constructed it so that you can insert different background pictures into the square frame. I carved each of the animals from wax and then casted them using Ancient Bronze casting grain. A grain that I have recently acquired and absolutely love. The animals, base, and pendant each have Rare Earth Magnets to hold them into place when being worn or on display.

I simply painted the based and glued on some string and yarn - I finally found a use for my rainbow yarn that I love so much but never use.

Then I got stumped as to what kind and what length of a chain the piece needed, so after Gillian received it she added some of her heart chain, and BAM! it's that much more awesome.

A very Happy Birthday to Gillian!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enamel 101

I have been out of commission for much too long, contemplating about what I would like to blog about as opposed to actually just getting down to it. The idea about doing a weekly or monthly feature on artists that inspire me has been rolling around in my mind. I would like to give it a scheduled update promise, but I will just put it on the things to do list for this blog. Especially since I have been slacking off on uploading photos of work. I have been taking photos, it's just the uploading part that I lag behind on.

Alright! enough boring you, let us get to some pictures. Lately because of a severe lack of motivation for my usual work I have been dabbling with enameling. After doing a colour test of all the colours in the studio i fiddled around with some stenciling and some cloisonne. Note to self: when doing cloisonne, fill and do one colour at a time - I think I lucked out with this first firing in the kiln, although the foot needs another layer of colour. The back of each piece was enameled with counter-enamel - an amalgamation of all the scrap enamel mixed together. Pretty fun stuff to do, I would like to try my hand at some enamel paintings, and some wirework pieces eventually.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I feel like since I created a ring for one of my brothers as a birthday gift, that this is the year that I make something for everyone in in my family. (We'll see about that...) I knew that my sister wanted some "threader" earrings (posts attached to a tiny chain that you pull through your piercing) and since we're both a couple of foodies I wanted to make her a set of cutlery to wear on her ears. These were so much fun to make! I realize I say that about everything I make, but I really do mean it. These were a joy because I turned such a small amount of material into something. They measure around 1.5cm. Using two tiny scraps of copper and sterling silver I butt soldered the two materials together and then filed them into their shapes. I added a bit of patina to them to give them an aged and used look. Hope my sister enjoys them.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I just finished polishing off my little gargoyle friend. He is the jewellery charm replication of a sculpture that a customer brought in. Now he is a wonderful custom gift that is going to be added to a charm bracelet for a lucky lady this Valentine's. It was such a challenge working in such detail on a small scale, but I am happy about the results. When I was nearing the finish of carving the wax I accidentally poked a hole through him, so I had to melt some wax on top to fix his eye for him (which you can see from the black blob on the blue wax). Now all there is left to do is attach him to the bracelet. What an exciting piece to carve, I always love a challenge.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ankh and Fleur de Lis Part 2

I just finished polishing off another custom band that is the design opposite of the ring I made back in November. This ring was made in part with a new flex shaft tool that I am in love with. I do have all sorts of diamond burs and basic wax burs, but nothing that is really small (less than 2mm wide). My new loves are cylinder square cross cut burs. With a bit of practice and a light touch I fell hard for them. Sigh. The pics are what the ring looked like in wax after I carved it and then the final ring that is cast in 18kt Palladium White Gold. Next week I will update with another custom made piece.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Look Mom, Mokume

Every once in a while since Gillian Batcher has taught me how to make mokume gane I get the urge to try my hand at it. When I realized that my brother's birthday was coming up I knew I should take a chance at it again. I realized that he had never seen any mokume that I had made, so that was double plus bonus as well. I went with one of my favourite metal combinations, sterling silver and nickel silver. Somehow I lucked out and made the exact amount that I needed after creating the pattern on the surface. All I had to do was solder the ends together (eek!) and then clean up the edges and voila! I then searched through some of my scrap bins and discovered a piece of sterling silver and copper mokume that I had made a while ago and decided to throw that together to make a ring. It is a huge sense of accomplishment to see an older piece and the new one to realize that I have become better at developing a great random pattern.