Archive for the jewelry Category

Tokens and Paper Lace Part 2.

Posted in art, jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2009 by candlesandghosts

To begin this new piece, I started with the paper lace image

Heart-Token-1 2

and a 3 foot length of 1/4 craft pine that has been sitting in my studio.

Heart-Token-1 1

I roughly cut out the image and traced its shape on to the wood.  I also traced a larger copycat shape which will serve as the piece’s outer frame.  I then cut the piece out using my coping saw.

Heart-Token-1 3

After much trial end error (and one broken but re-glued and repaired frame later), I ended up with the outer shape of the piece which was painted,

Heart-Token-1 5

then gold leafed.

Heart-Token-1 4

Next, on the top surface of the frame, I used a sgrafitto technique which is the process of scratching or stamping through the top layer of a surface to reveal the layer underneath.  You often see this technique used in traditional Christian iconography to highlight the gold leaf.  I will worry about the sides of the frame later.

For the next step, I cut out a solid duplicate of the frame from 1/64″ modeling wood.

Heart-Token-1 6

I then laid the pieces together to get my first look at what the pendant will look like when assembled.

Heart-Token-1 7

Happy with the results, its on to working on the back side of the piece which I will have to begin in the next post.  Right now, I have a 5 month old who is in dire need of a bottle and a nap.



Tokens and Paper Lace Part 1.

Posted in art, jewelry with tags , , , , , , , on September 9, 2009 by candlesandghosts

For several years, I have been fascinated with Victorian love tokens, and have been making pieces of wearable art based upon them.   In the age before photographs were commonplace, these were often given as gifts of longing from one person to another, much as my pieces are often given as gifts of love.

Examples include engraved metal tokens,


nice calling cards,


locks of hair,


or even pieces of jewelry.


For me, what began as a surprise Christmas gift to my wife several years ago


has blossomed into a whole series of pieces.

As of late, I have also started collecting antique paper lace Holy Cards.


These were also often given as tokens of affection, or to mark special occasions, such as first baptisms or holidays.  Most of the pieces are quite small, say something around 2″ x 4″, but the detail, and variety to be found, is incredible.

I’ve started on a new piece that merges the idea of the love token with paper lace cards, and I began by using the card shown above.  Here is the image as I have modified it for use.  For reference the final pendant piece will be roughly 2.75″ x 3.5″.

Heart-Token-1 2

In the next posting, I’ll begin the process of taking you through step by step.



Posted in art, jewelry, Studio with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2009 by candlesandghosts

They are finally here- the new patinas I ordered.  I’ve been wanting to show you the progress I’ve made on the new piece, but I’ve been waiting on these patinas to arrive for about 10 days.


What makes these so special is that they are non-toxic, very low VOC, and environmentally friendly.  This was always an important issue to me, but is even more important now that Jeremia is sharing his days with me out in the studio.


Not that I think I’ll be letting him near any of my chemicals anytime soon, but the less I can expose us to the better.  The company that sells these is Sculpt Nouveau out of California, and while not everything they sell is completely non-toxic, they do take that route as often as possible.

In the meantime while I’m finishing up this piece, I have also been working on two others that I am really excited about.  I will begin documenting their progress starting tomorrow.  I am also almost finished with the photography of all the other pieces, and should have photos of them up soon.


Starting another new piece

Posted in About My Work, art, jewelry with tags , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by candlesandghosts

While working on everything else, I’m starting this new piece- it’s a little different from others that I’ve made, because it will be as much about the chain and metalwork as it is about the pendant.

I’m beginning with an antique cork-topped glass vial, and this brass Victorian drawer hardware piece.  For reference, the hardware is about 3.5″ tall.


Both are nicely naturally weathered, so a lot of the work is already done for me.

I’m making the chain out of annealed stainless steel wire and know that I want it to mimic the swirl shapes in the hardware.


Here I’ve connected the hardware to the first part of the chain.  I decided to attach the chain on the sides of the piece so that it appears to float, but I’ve also connected it at the top so that it doesn’t move around too much.


At this point, I’m thinking about making a double chain  (a wonderful recommendation from my wife), and I believe I’ll hook it at both the sides and at the top.  Somewhere further up the necklace, I’ll bring the two chains together as one.

I’ll keep you updated as it progresses.


Sneaky Peeky #2

Posted in About My Work, art, jewelry, Randomness with tags , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2009 by candlesandghosts

So, I’m getting close to having most of these pieces finished, but I thought you might like to see another update before they are all wrapped up:


I’ve been waiting on a couple of shipments of antique beads to arrive so that I could finish some of the chains; they came in this week so I’m good to go,


and I’ve also got to get all the custom boxes finished so that each piece has a snazzy place to call home.


I’m hoping to get most everything photographed this weekend so that they can all be up on Etsy by sometime next week.


I was also finally able to purchase some much needed toolery from Ornamentea

I got a jeweler’s saw which will be great for working on some of the tin boxes I’ve recently gotten,


I also got a nice pair of magnifying goggles so that I can actually see what I’m doing,


and I got a good respirator so that I don’t die from the fumes and dust I’ve been creating.  Well the respirator came from Home Depot, but I had to work extra hard to find one with lovely “fuchsia” dust cartridges.



Finally, on a completely unrelated subject-  I stumbled upon this shirt the other day on Etsy and think it must be about the coolest thing ever created- definitely have to have one.


Enjoy your weekend-  M

Can you say score?

Posted in Family, Flea Market Finds, jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by candlesandghosts

You know every now and again, you get lucky.  I’m not talking lottery-type lucky because let’s be honest-  if I were that lucky I could pay somebody to write this post for me -I’m just meaning I’ve come across some really good items as of late, and cannot wait to get started turning them into new pieces.

The first two things I’ve found are these awesome vintage compact cases:


They both are just oozing potential with all their openings and parts that move

Here they are disassembled-


This one is great because it has a piece that rotates a complete 360, and it has a wonderful clasp for closing the compact


This one, however, might just be the coolest shape I have ever found- it measures 2.5″ x 4″ which is perfect for a neck piece, and it has 2 doors that open, plus a nice recessed area in the top


I was also fortunate enough to find some good items this past weekend at the fleamarket:

The keys will make great clasps


And though this piece of antique celluloid would make a great centerpiece on a necklace,  I think I’ll resell it in my shop.


Last but not least, what has to be my biggest stroke of luck of all- to be the Dad of a kid who looks great in striped pajamas.


Until next time-


Sneaky Peeky

Posted in About My Work, art, jewelry with tags , , , , , , , on August 17, 2009 by candlesandghosts

Have you been good?  Well O.K. then, I suppose it’s time for a little sneak peek as promised.  I’ve actually kept myself quite busy, but at long last things are starting to come together.

The view at my computer


the other half


a piece already finished that I’ll tell you about later- well soon, as soon as I can get it photographed


and another view


More on the way!