This Custom Life

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It’s been a while and I just had to sit down and throw up a few custom jobs that have me pretty excited.  A few I’ve just wrapped up including one LONG TERM project that took me the better part of five months to finish.

The Abraxis ring.

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A client threw this one at me back when we were all wearing coats and I have to admit, I just didn’t get the concept at first.  He had worked the whole thing out – knew exactly what was supposed to go where and how it was supposed to look.  He did what I usually like clients to do which is REALLY think out what imagery was supposed to be worked into the design.  Problem was, I really didn’t think it would come together the way we were talking about it.  He’d say “put this here and put that there” and I’d kind of think “okay…gonna be a trainwreck.”  But hell, this ring came out great.  More than great.  I was very, very happy with it to the point of wishing I’d offered something like this as a regular part of the line.

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We’ve got some great texture worked into the shank with a classic 3/4 skull and crossbones on one side and a buddhist wheel on the other.  Big cock on the shank.  No, I’m not kidding.  And guess what, it looks badass.

The front features the wrapped snake and Abraxis with his two snake legs, whip and shield.

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Google it.  I think it all ties together.  Very cool project and definitely a one-of-a-kind piece.

Speaking of one of a kind pieces, I also had a client come back to me after ordering a Torque and want a full custom skull ring to go with it.  I dig this.  First of all, that’s kind of my thing: a big ring and a bracelet on the same hand.  I used to offer a special on the Full Right Hand that packaged these together.  Second, the concept was great.

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This is the emblem from the Prussian Totemkopf.  There are some pretty amazing photographs of these calvary badasses in full regalia.

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It’s got distinct round eyes with bone ridges completely encircling the brow.  No bottom jaw.  I was adapting this a bit since we can’t do a good 3/4 version that would wear comfortably, but I think it’s pulled off rather well, if I do say so myself.

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The trick is, when a client brings in a concept for a 3/4 view skull ring, to design the ring straight-on that will look accurate from the 3/4 view, but still wear in the round.  It’s hard to explain, but you can see in the photo above that the skull has the same basic sculptural planes that the reference does once we turn the skull’s head.

It’s always a blast doing Jupiter rings or a one-off skull like this one (which started as a Big Voodoo, believe it or not) because I feel like it’s going back to my roots as a skullsmith.

Not to be outdone, I also had a client order her fella a custom wedding band with a series of small skulls nested in the shank.

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When I do a band, I still want it to be hefty.  Nothing is worse than one of those cheesy paper-thin bands that was obviously formed out of a piece of wire and soldered together (which is basically how it’s done 90% of the time.)  This one is cast all in one piece.  And the result is a lot heartier and more satisfying.

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Still comfortable as well, since I comfort-fit the inside of the shank.  But this bad boy won’t squash into what I call the “five year oval” that many of the thinner rings become after they’ve been squashed and stretched into oblivion.

Last, but not least, I’ve got an AWESOME project on the bench for a client interested in a full custom piece.

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We’re doing one for the man.  The Evel Knievel ring is underway.  It’s hard to explain to young people what a big freakin’ deal Evel was, even by the 1980s when I was growing up.  Well, we’re doing a ring for Rob to honor Evel and his bike.

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This one is based on client sketches that I’ve adapted into something very wearable that uses all of Evel’s imagery.  Another longer term project that’s going to take some time to get right, but it will be worth it.

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The block-out is done to a size 10.  Fits like a glove, but she’s heavy and solid as well.  We’ll keep hacking away at this one and post updates as we go.

One of the reasons I’ve been away from the blog for a while is that I’ve moved into bigger and better digs.  I’ve got a new place and a new studio with more room for metal work.  Very happy.

The bad news is I’m also going to be back in Hong Kong for the month of June and this means I won’t be able to work on any pieces while I’m gone.  So if you have a project in mind, email me and get on my waitlist.  I’ll get to it by the end of June and try to get your piece knocked out as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality that we both want.  Stay tuned!

Cleaning out my jewelry box

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I’m a jade guy.  I wear a lot of it.  But I USED to be a turquoise guy and I have to say it’s still my favorite stone to set in a skull ring.  But I have too many pieces I don’t wear anymore and something’s gotta go.

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So I’m going to sell these two puppies.  Polish ’em up, clean ’em up, and sell them.  The Big Voodoo is a size 11.5 and that Little Voodoo is a size 9.  Solid sterling, of course.

Email me at matt@mtmaloney.com or message me on twitter @MT_Maloney and let me know if you want to buy one or both.  $125 for the big one and $100 for the little guy. Call it $210 for both. Shipping on the house.  I used to wear the big one on my ring finger and the little guy as a pinky ring.  

Pinky rings are badass anyway and a skull ring pinky ring is almost drop-the-mike time.

Apologies to my international clients, but I can’t send these overseas with shipping costs.  

Loon Official Trailer

Most of my clients know I’m also a digital media artist.  I spent December and January in Hong Kong shooting a 1o minute stop-motion short in the streets.  (Checkout http://www.angry-animation.com for more details on THAT)

But I wanted to share the trailer I’ve just finished.

NOTE: You really need headphones to hear the low-end sound.  This is about image and music together, so take a minute and get plugged in so you don’t miss out on that moogtastic low-end noise.

I’ll be updating angry-animation.com soon with release information for those who want to check it out once it begins its theatrical run.  I don’t have anything solid yet, but stay tuned and I’ll update when I can.  In the meantime, please share this around and spread the word.  It’s on like Hong Kong.

More rings coming right up.

Cigar smoker

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Finished up this evil-eyed cigar smoking Big Voodoo this morning and was doing some email, invoicing, all that stuff.  Happy to say, I think I’ve got some cool new projects coming up.  A few full-custom pieces that I’ve been working on for the better part of a month are about finished and as much as I’ve enjoyed working on them, I’m really ready to get them off my bench and to move on to some more classic skull rings like this.

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She’s built on a Big Voodoo frame with a custom jaw, cigar, and ruby eyes which were reshaped to look pissed off.  Or stern, let’s say.

I’ve done a number of these rings recently with the bottom jaws.  They’re all custom carved, so no two are alike.

Gotta run for now.  I’ll be back with more updates in a week or so.  Stay tuned.

The Shield.

Took me about two months to finish this one.  Had a hell of a lot of detail to work out and I wanted to make it exactly perfect or Patrick, my awesome client. Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 10.10.45 AM This was all about the badge.  We worked a design together that would be definitively NEW YORK for the shank and wouldn’t compete with the shape of the badge.  It’s a big ring, like I like ’em. Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 10.11.15 AM I’ve been toying with the idea of offering a shield line of rings for cops and other law enforcement agencies, but the problem has always been that for the most part you can by cheaper, mass-prodcued rings depicting simple agency shields and insignia.  But Patrick’s idea was so personal and his emphasis on the badge looking substantial was such that I couldn’t pass on this project. Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 10.10.57 AM We also worked in his service years onto the side and his initials on the back.  The result is a super heavy piece unlike any other cop rings I’ve been able to find out there.  Solid sterling too. Gonna please, I can tell you that.

Back in action

 

 

Yes, I’m back on the bench.  Happy to be back, too.  Got a lot of projects wait-listed from motorcycle club rings to wedding bands to full custom jobs to the good old fashioned custom skull rings.

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A couple of things will be changing in 2015.  I’m going to pace myself a bit better, not rush multiple jobs or take on more clients at one time than I should.  I got into this business to focus on individual clients and when I’m knocking out 20 or 25 rings at a time, that just isn’t happening.  So don’t be disheartened if you contact me to place an order and I ask you to hang tight for a few weeks.  I’ll get to you.  I just think your project deserves my full attention.  If you doubt my intentions, know that I was invited to create rings for the Sons of Anarchy season finale event and I declined because I wanted to deal with individuals like you guys.  Yes, I’m Jerry Maguire.

Speaking of individual clients, this post is largely for Dylan who has asked me to make a custom Tiki ring with a gemstone.  I’m feeling the amber.

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I picked up these stones on Lamma Island a while ago, but I only have a few left.  I still have one of the bright yellow ones from the far left and the four transparent stones on the right.  This isn’t cheap amber.  Not that resin, assembled shit you get in the states all the time.

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This is Lamma.  I get off the ferry here after about a 45 minute ride from Hong Kong island.  It’s a tiny little fishing island and I hike right over the mountain to Yung Shue Wan to visit the Lamma Island Amber Shop.

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Cool right?  This shop is tiny and set into a dark corner of this tiny little road called “Main street.”  I’ll usually swing by this great joint called Lamma Grill for a whiskey and the closest thing to a great American cheeseburger you’re gonna find and then find this shop which is practically GLOWING like a gemstone.

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The place is run by Udo and his wife.  That’s Udo below selling amber in Tibet in ’92.

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I freakin’ love this place.  I spend a lot of time looking through their stock and their finished jewelry.  I’ve made a few skull rings with their amber set into the eyes.  Just a great place.  I wish I could just import from these guys regularly, but the demand for amber just hasn’t quite caught-on in the US yet.  So what I usually end up doing is swinging by to pick up gifts for family and friends.

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So yeah, if you’re ever in HK, catch the ferry at pier 4 to Lamma and visit them.

So Dylan – let me know what wer’e gonna do.  Drop me a line.  And I’ll catch the rest of you cats in the next week.  Stay tuned.