2017 can kiss my sterling silver ass

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Yeah, eat a Cleveland steamer, 2017.

I’m not going to complain.  I’ve got it out of my system.

But I’ll say this:  between my own health stuff which forced me to literally decimate my incoming orders, legal and other junk, and some horrible shit that happened to a few of my regular clients, let’s just say it’s been one of those years that makes you aware of how freakin’ fragile our lives are.

Then again, good stuff too.  I’ve got a new company called Black Rainbow to handle all of the animation and mixed-media work I’ve been doing.  (Went into business with the wife, so we’ll see how deep THAT water gets).    I also saw Guns and Roses in Madison Square Garden which was a life-changer.   And how many times did I see Blade Runner in IMAX?  Five.  I went and saw that bad boy five times and I would have seen it again if I knew how reduced the experience was on the regular screen.  If you missed that shit, you just flat-out missed it.  Don’t get it on iTunes and watch it on your little smart whatever and then post on whateverbook and talk about how you don’t know what the big deal is.   I also saw the restoration of Suspiria on the big screen in ATL.   Go Synapse Films!  Oh, and Phantasm.

And Zima came back.  Which is awesome because it reminded me of drinking it in college.  But it also sucks because it reminded me that it sucked.

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That didn’t stop me for buying like 8 cases and drinking them all while listening to GNR’s Use Your Illusion double disc.

Enough rambling, let’s talk turkey.

Another great thing about 2017 was some douchebag ripped off my tiki design.  Remember this one?

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Well, I made a new custom Tiki for Ed with extended teeth and a badass green gemstone in the forehead.  So get busy, assholes, you got a new one to steal.

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It’s a one-of-a-kind and even has a cool ‘wood’ type texture on the finish.   Ed wanted it BIG and he sent me a shot of it on his hand (which, by the way, Ed, looks like you’ve used to punched the crap out of some people, so I’m glad you were happy with it.)

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Ed did this one full custom with me.  Can’t be duplicated, but I’ll be making a new similar Tiki at some point for pre-orders for those of you that dig the tiki thing and want to get one.  Keep in mind, I’m still rocking the ORIGINAL Tiki Tattoo.   Here they are side by side.  The gemstone is a custom addition, but the standard Tiki ring is here.  I’m going to make 3 more this season, so let me know if you want one.

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I also had a client order a custom skull ring and torque combo set in the Mystery Cave style.  This is one of those cartoon skulls that I’ll carve up for people on occasion.  They had the awesome idea of making the ball-ends of the torque into additional cartoony skulls and I thought it was a great call.  One of those orders I hated to send out and would have much rather worn myself.

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I’ll still do these cartoon skulls every one and a while.  If you’re interested in one, drop me a note and we can talk.  (Jenna, I know I owe you one.)  I’m interested in doing a few of these and continuing to explore the skull as a reduced shape.  I’ve been tooling around with a wax, in fact, that will probably end up being something once I finally figure out what I want to do with the eyes.  Thinking about a vertical shape, maybe.

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On the realistic skull ring front, I’ve had a few requests for a King Skull and I’ve  been telling clients to hold off as I’m working on a new sculpt.  I’ve been threatening to retire the current king skull and I’ve finally done it.  I love her and she’s one of my favorite designs, but like the McRib, I think these models work best when they are exclusive and in limited editions.  The new jawless skull will be introduced soon, I hope.   Right now, I’m busy with Gentlemen.

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The Gentleman ring.  (Seen here with a black lace agate which looks freakin’ great in there).  I’ve just started working on a new custom ring for a new client who wants it done in beautiful high-dome Burmese jade.  I wear a jade ring like this and it’s my absolute favorite gemstone.  Look at this massive jade cab I got my mits on for this beauty.

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That’s over 50 ct of REAL jade.  So many so-called “jade” gemstone rings I see out there are completely fake.  There are a number of ways to tell that I won’t get into here.  A great way to start is that real jade isn’t cheap.  Now in Asia, the high rollers wear a very, very brilliant deep green stone that looks almost like green plastic.

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First – most of this is fake.   If you didn’t get a nosebleed when you paid for it (and usually a certificate of authenticity as well) you bought “not jade.”  Or maybe you bought a lower quality jadeite that has been dyed.  Now even if it is real, it’s expensive and frankly I’m not crazy about the look.  Because, yeah,  it looks like plastic or even chrysoprase, which is, in my humble opinion, a much better-looking stone and costs about 10% as much.

Some other jade fans wear this stuff called Nephrite.  Which, I will say, can be awesome if it’s used in the right context and size and it is actually jade.  I’ve done a few skulls with Nephrite eyes and they look badass.

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The color is deep, forrest green and I dig it, BUT if you buy cheap nephrite it just looks like frozen spinach soufflé.  You’ve got to check the stones in good light to make sure they don’t have too many occlusions.

Me?  I’m a Burmese jadeite man.  I like the lighter, creamy jadeite jade which hasn’t been dyed at all.  It’s still pricey, but nowhere near the level of the candy-green stuff.

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Yeah, that’s my set I wear MOST days.  Those beads are made by Jason Walz over at Custom Mala Shop, but the rest is me.  I get my stones from Hong Kong, usually, or order them from one of my trusted vendors when I can’t catch a good flight over there.

This new Gentleman client of mine spotted my full custom jade ring with the buddhist knots in either side and asked if I’d make him something in the same aesthetic vein.

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His Gentleman will be a bit larger, actually.  It’s going to take me a while to get the stone lined up and the additional custom carving done in the wax, but I’ll post pics soon.

Meanwhile, how about a SPECIAL?  This is for 2018, so I call it, the

DARK DAYS OF WINTER SPECIAL

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I found this freakin’ beautiful black obsidian gemstone with a bit of gold highlight.  You know obsidian, right?  Called “dragonglass” in a very popular, yet litigious and unnamed book series and television program starring orgies and dragons.   If you’re more like me,  you’ll be more interested in it because it’s also what the man’s wife uses to kill herself in Cormac McCarthy’s  soul-crushing novel “The Road.”

Check this stone out:

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Right?  Awesome.

So I’m curious if anyone is interested in a Gentleman with this gemstone.  I’ve only got one, so first paid, first served and I’m only doing it with this stone because I think it’s awesome.  But if your’e into it, I’m going to do it up in a Gentleman ring for $420 delivered to the US.  Gonna name her the “Road Agent.”  I’d vote for her in a gunmetal finish, but high-polish would look great too.

Well, that’ll do it.  I’ll leave you with a shot of a recently completed Leonids ring with that beautiful Kingman turquoise.  I’ve only got one more stone left, so let me know if you want her.

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So, seeing as how this past year went, like most of you, I think I’ll not WISH for a happy new year because that shit doesn’t work out.  Instead, let’s MAKE this fucker happy.  We’re gonna beat 2018’s ass so hard that 2019 might just not show up at all.  Have a good one and stay safe.

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Modern Skullsmithing

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I’m making a few pieces this August.  If anyone is interested, time to visit my new site and see what’s what.   The Film/Animation side is still very much under construction.  More on that later.

I’ve gotten some tremendous feedback and support as I’ve been dealing with health stuff. I’ve been reassessing what I wanted to do, the kind of projects I want to work on, etc.  Basically it’s come down to working with the right people on the right projects within the right timeframe.  A modern strategy for skullsmithing.

I’m taking requests for pieces year round, but I’m only going to work on select projects during certain times of the year.   I’ll be offering specials and concept pieces via Facebook and Instagram (find me there through my social media links) .  For an awesome core group of regular clients who’ve sent me encouraging messages and with whom I’ve worked in the past – you know who you are – you can always get a piece made at the front of the line.

Given that my time is limited, I’ve broken things down between how I want to spend my time and how I don’t.  You all ever do this?

What I want to do:

  • Make clients happy.
  • Take more time to make pieces for clients.
  • Make the perfect jawless skull ring.
  • Get into bangles a little bit.  Something badass is waiting to happen here.
  • Get into beads.  I have no fucking idea how to do this.
  • Make clients happy.
  • Learn to set silver into stones like all-around badass and ring-making legend Alex Streeter.  Not going to duplicate his work, but I need to get some gold lightning bolts into some black stones.
  • Balance jewelry with sculpture, digital media, and the other artforms I work with.
  • Make clients happy.
  • Get some better packaging.

What I don’t want to do:

  • Make adjustments for people who didn’t size their fingers before ordering or tried to size it themselves to save a 5 minute trip to a jewelers to have it done right.
  • Talk concepts with people who can’t afford a piece to begin with.
  • Rush.  The rings are done when they’re done.  4 weeks is standard. Sometimes a week less, sometimes a week more. Don’t like that?  Get some pre-fabricated tin-filled shit from Ebay and have a nice shitty life.
  • Explain how veins in a stone aren’t cracks.
  • Discuss projects with people who can’t spend 3 minutes looking at the website to see what kind of work I do.

Sounds like I’m being a snob, right?  Well, think about it: maybe we need to be a little more snobby.   Think about how awesome it would be if you could strip the bullshit from your own life and focus on doing things that matter to you and only interface with people who make your day-to-day life better instead of worse.  That’s what I’m doing.

So, if you’re into it, send me an email at matt@mtmaloney.com and let me know what kind of work we should be thinking about.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for updates here, on Facebook, and on my tiny little Instagram page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R&R

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As some of my clients are aware, I’ve been suffering from some health problems recently. As a result, I’m sorry to say that I’m not taking any jewelry orders right now. The skullworks is getting shut down for the time being so I can focus on recovery.

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I certainly intend to re-open in the future, but how and when that will occur is unclear. If you already have a project underway with me, rest assured I’ll be finishing out those pieces. All club members: if I’m doing club rings for you, please contact me at matt@mtmaloney and I will still be able to fill those orders.

It’s been an amazing first act and I appreciate all of you checking out my work. You can still connect with me on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

In the meantime I thought I’d leave you with something fantastic.  Or rather….not so fantastic…

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That’s right.  One of my awesome clients – Jim – pointed out that a feeble attempt to ripoff my Tiki ring has been posted to Ebay.  Stainless steel, hollow-backed, and lacking any planar variance at all int he design, this epic turd had me and mine laughing our asses off for a few hours.

Here’s the original.

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So I’ve been asked a bunch of times whether or not I’m pissed off about this.  No, of course not.  I think if it were remotely close, it might be different.  But the chump who wants a 20 buck crappy-looking (and dishwasher safe) Tiki is not the same person who wants to get something custom carved in precious metal.   Custom is custom and…well…sculptural ability doesn’t grow on Chinese trees.

But I am sad to be signing off for now.  When I get my feet back under me and I can reassess things, I may very well start taking a few orders here and there, but I don’t really have any plans right now.  I have to feel things out.  You know how us artsy-fartsy types can be.

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MT’s skull.

 

Gentlemen and the Leonids

It’s so great to finally see the Gentleman in all of its glory.

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I wanted to make a city ring.  Something you could wear on a pinky or ring finger in the board room that JUST walked that line between safe and dangerous.  (Isn’t that what a pinky ring is all about?)  Of course, they’re really big enough to go on ANY finger.

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I’m working my way through the first order of 5 right now and they’re just about ready to go online.  Once I get a few more variations done, I’ll ask my web wizard to throw them up for sale.  I have all kinds of stones for these.

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The ring is well-balanced and solid, not hollow backed.

And yes, it still features a small pair of skulls for those who want to look.   I have so many projects that I’m behind on but this thing just HAD to finally see the light of day.  It’s been a long time in the making.

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Also, check out the Leonids with the red stone.  Client-provided that and it looks great.   I wish I had a better shot of it.  Oh well.

Jupiter in Jade and a stoney-eyed Madman. And a new King is coming.

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I’m really digging this recent pair of custom orders.  Skull rings with gemstones?  I’ve got two unique takes here: one a Jupiter and one a Big Voodoo.

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Both are fully sugared up – the Jupiter with jadeite eyes and a full sugar aztec theme around the rest of the ring.  The other has a central image of an owl and then yellow and black stones for the eyes.  I’ll be putting more shots of both of them up on my Instagram page.  If you dont follow me there, you should.  It’s where I put most of my special sale announcements and show a lot of progress.

I’ve done a few custom Jupiter skull rings recently. The form is so classic that we can really go nuts with the surface and still get something with a lot of structure to it.  Setting gemstones in it is a bit of a war.

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But this one turned out great.  See a few more shots below.

I’m very proud of this ring, obviously.  Weird to make a piece of art that I’m actually happy with, but the last few rings I’ve done have just turned out so f’king well.  I DID fuck up a Tiki that I’m currently re-making for a client.  Sorry about that.   This one and the Tiki are my toughest sculpts so the chance of me totally laying an egg is a bit higher.

I set out (like seven years ago or  something) to make the best skull ring you could get.  Standing on the shoulders of giants like Courts and Hackett, Tony Creed, CrazyPig, and Ruby Crush, I wanted to make the largest, solid-but-wearable skull ring on the market – at least in the United States.  Like the man said, “If your’e going to try, go all the way. All the way.”


So did I do it?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I think what I realized when I made the Jupiter was that there is no “best” ring.  There are simply levels and at the top of the levels is this little bar.  And leaning on the bar are these badass skullsmiths like Julian Lamb, Tony Creed, Courts and Hackett, the Deadringers maniacs, and Armand at Crazy Pig and a few other guys like John Mettier at JM Customs Skull Rings and Demitri Bakogiorgis who makes so much freakin’ product I don’t know how he has time to eat.  The ghost of Dave at Dave’s Custom Skullrings  is there who probably wins the award for craziest website.  Josh Warner is there, but but good luck getting one of his skullrings nowadays.  (He designed this amazing Club Ring which is taking the world by storm, and rightly so.)   Every day, more people make it to this bar and they all have the same realization:  it doesn’t stop.

Because the guys sitting next to you are still learning and you’re still learning and everyone still feels like there’s so much more to do.  Everyone is inspiring too.  Somebody drops a new piece and everyone says “damn, I have to up my game.”  When I see Into the Fire Jewelry put out these badass blackened skull that look like they were carved out of obsidian or Ruby Crush drops this fucking amazing gemstone ring…….

So…..

I’m going to design a new jawless skull ring that will replace the King Skull as THE fucking jawless ring on the market.  Just sit tight and you’ll see progress throughout the year.  I hope to have it live for Xmas, but you know me.  I’m slow as shit.  I’m going to retire the current King model and redesign it.  I love it too, but it’s time for a change.

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If you’re the owner of my classic King Skull, hang onto that puppy tight because it will soon be ‘out of print’ so to speak.  I love this fucking ring.   I could keep making them, sure, but i kind of like the idea of the piece being completely retired out of respect and given over to the ages.  Makes it more of a collector’s item and preserves the purity of the design.

It’s also with a heavy heart that I announce that the Gentleman ring is officially out of pre-orders and will be going live on the site in a few weeks.  Stay tuned for more of that as well.  Look at that freakin’ master wax:

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So I’ll leave you with an inspirational video.  What?

Gentlemen, start your engines.

Remember when I announced development of a new Gemstone ring.  (check it out HERE if you haven’t read it yet.)

Well, folks, the Gentleman ring is finally ready for pre-order.  It took a lot of time to get her ready but here she is, complete with a massive 30mm x 22mm oval gemstone.

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The goal was to make a REAL gemstone ring for clients who want a good, custom made, solid backed, hi-quality piece.  As usual, I set out to make this ring after discovering that there were very few quality gemstone rings for men or women who want a significant stone in a substantial ring.

Which gemstones are available?

  • Black Onyx
  • Tiger’s Eye
  • Black Lace Agate
  • Aventurine
  • Rose Quartz
  • Red Carnelian
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Malachite
  • Blue Lapis
  • Dark Green Jade (for an extra $20)

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How much does it weigh? I have no idea.  I’ll get that figured out by the time in lands on the website for general sale.  Right now, i’m taking 5 preorders.  That’s right, 5 preorders based on my digital renderings here.  This beauty is going to retail for $475 when she’s done and the first five will run at $425 each for sterling silver.  I don’t have a price for gold yet, but if you’re interested, just shoot me a message at customs@mtmaloney.com

 

 

The Red Devil

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I’ve had a few requests for skull rings with gemstone eyes recently and I have a pair that I wanted to show off because the results were just so cool.

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This bad boy is a fully customized Little Voodoo with a pentagram centered on the forehead and a little bit of sugar around the shank.  Yet another example of how the Little Voodoo can be customized despite the small surface area.

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This is a small skull ring, dig?  Or at least it’s small for my line.  It does best with one central image and then some minor ornamentation to support it.  Sometimes i get clients who request a smaller ring but have a ton of imagery they want to include.  If this is YOU, then you should really spring for the Big Voodoo.  Don’t worry about being able to ‘pull off’ a bigger ring.  It’s all about how you wear it.

Speaking of bigger rings.

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Another red-eyed demon – this one a Jupiter with the stones set DEEP in the socket.  Fangs as well.  Pretty slick, right?  This was a tough one to build.

And then there’s this:

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This is a Jupiter Skull ring with blue sapphire eyes.   Kinda hard to see in the photos, but there’s even a starburst specular highlight in the stones.  This is another example of the Jupiter ‘sugared up.’  Yeah, its a big ring, but we can fit a lot more imagery on the surface too.

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I’ve also had a few requests for a smaller, more understated ‘realistic’ skull like the King Skull or the Jupiter….something about the size of the Voodoo, but with the classic lines of the realistic series.  I’m eventually going to do something like that, but I haven’t finished the Gentleman yet either and I have to take one thing at a time.

Still on the waitlist right now, but I’m taking new orders in late August so hang tight and stay tuned.