I’ve been wanting to do more Irish jewelry.  I did a Claddagh ring a while back.

It had some Celtic weaving in the band and a fairly generic heart and crown at the front.  Its my wedding ring, actually.  Yes, I’m Irish.

So my problem has been that I really like the idea of a shamrock pendant, but I’ve always hated how they look.  They’re so damn soft-looking and I wanted something a little edgier.   The Maltese have it easy because nothing looks more badass than a Maltese cross.  I made one for Gregg a while back, actually.  I’m not Maltese, though, so I’m not wearing it no matter how cool it looks.

I found myself sketching out pendants the other day and I started to play with things like the nautical star and compass and the overall Maltese cross shape.   I just wanted to do a new pendant and wanted something cool.

But if you look in the bottom right hand corner of the page, I think I finally figured out a way to do a shamrock that actually looks badass.  It uses the Maltese silhouette, but its definitely not a cross.

As you can see here, I just started carving out the wax for this puppy.  Its going to take some time, but I think it will end up looking slick as hell.  I’m going to make it a slider pendant.  These are really comfortable and they look a lot more modern then simply wearing a pendant hanging (which can make you look like an 80’s coke dealer.)

This gives you an idea of how the wax would sit on a chain.  I’m going to keep working with the pendant to get it to be even less Maltese-looking.  Stay tuned for more.


A photo-museum of skullery


I was out there reading some content from a few fellow bloggers and I was blown away by Karl Elvis’ new post.

Seeing this is too cool to describe.  Its a good cross-section of everyone who’s doing something interesting in the counter-culture custom jewelry scene.  Minus a few pieces from some amazing cats over at Flintlock Silver and Crazy Pig, everyone’s there.  Its like a family reunion of relatives that never see each other, occasionally compete for business, and all have fanatical ideas about what a skull ring is supposed to be.


If you knew how often I’m asked to rip off some of these guys……especially Creed.  If you guys haven’t figured it out by now, I won’t do it….and neither would any of the guys whose work is pictured here.

I love every piece in that photo for different reasons.  The styles are so distinct I don’t need a caption to tell you exactly who made it and in what part of the world it was made.

I especially love seeing the Dave’s Custom skull (that would be second row, second one from the left.  People under-estimate how important that guy’s work was to the industry.  Fucking classic as hell and he never drove the price up to try to pull in celebrities or become part of a pop culture trend.

You should re-visit the moronosphere for some good reading and some great photography.



Becky’s Sugar Cat

Becky is a producer and animator out of New York city who’s now here in the big ATL working her artistic voodoo and teaching young artists how to do the same.  You’d look at her and think she’s real nice, but she has a nickname.  The Velvet Sledgehammer.  Get the idea?

I’m designing a sugar cat skull for her with the appropriate words on the shank.  She’s given me total free reign to design this sucker so I’m going all out.

I’ve comfort fit the inside for her.  The shank is set forward as well so the ears wont even touch her other fingers.

This is an example of how flexible the Little Voodoo frame can be.


That’s Matt and his Lucky 13. I made this ring for Matt a while back. In fact, it’s the first Big Voodoo ever.

13 is a bad luck number for most. But for some of us it becomes a sort of gallows humor thing.  Kind of spitting in the face of Lady Luck.


Matt’s had a number of people come up to him and ask “what the 8 stands for” which is funny as hell to me because is typical of the whole 13 mentality and world-view.  That’s what life is like for some of us.  Little things don’t go our way.

When I say “bad luck” i’m not talking about REAL bad luck.  I’m not talking about dying of cancer or being killed by a tidal wave or being burned in a fire.  I’m not equating bad luck with HARDSHIP.

Bad luck to me is composed of the little things.  Like me trying to get my goddamned wireless internet to work or me donating custom jewelry to a silent auction only to have some elitist bitch bid and win and get pissed that I won’t make a diamond heart in a golden snowflake for her.

The 13 mentality goes with skulls.  It laughs at luck like the skull-ring laughs at death.  Whatever the reason is, I make a lot of 13 imagery.


So what’s the TCB thing all about?

This is a long-term project for me.  The infamous TCB bracelet.  I want this mother to be huge.  It’s an ID tag style with custom links and lots of detail work.

I’ve thought about why Elvis and TCB is so important to me.   Its a little strange, after all.  TCB (taking care of business) was Elvis’ motto and the motto for the memphis mafia.  Elvis even developed this stupid karate style called “TCB Tecnique” and wrote out a series of rules that one must live by in order to be part of the TCB thing.  Its the kind of genius-borderline-nonsense  only drugs can bring.

I’ve been to Memphis.  I’ve been to Graceland.   Its like being in Rome after the fall of the empire, only this empire fell just a few decades ago.  The place is full of tragic heroes.  Some of them are dead and many of them are still walking around in that social space in-between vagrancy and employment carrying guitars….capable of doing amazing things on those guitars that the fucking populous doesn’t care about anymore.

I’m not a huge fan of Elvis music.  I suppose I’m more a fan of the man.  He’s better than anything Shakespeare could have written.  I love “Separate Ways” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” but I love the ghost of Elvis even more.    That’s why I want to make this bracelet.   Its hard to explain to people who don’t put suffering and tragedy in the same place as creative success.

Condensing everything Elvis and his crew have said and written, in essence “Taking Care of Business”  means “man up, strap up, and get shit handled.”   Kind of my creed.  I want to keep that in the tag itself.  As for the links, I’m going to explore the more cerebral part….the ruins of the empire and the ghosts that still walk there.

Mystery Cave part 3

Finished the wax last week.  Ready to be sprued up and cast.

I’ve already had two additional orders for these.  They’ll be for sale on my site soon.  John has custom carving on his.  “Fail Better,” it says.  Very slick.

Mystery Cave part two

Wax.  Here are some shots of me as I layout the mystery cave.  I didn’t sketch this one.  I just worked on the wax while looking at the animated short I stole the idea from.

You see all that green shit everywhere?  That’s wax.  I swear that stuff is impossible to clean up.  Its in my lungs, in my beard, all over my studio…. Its worse than the freakin’ silver dust.  You would not believe the amount of this crap that gets generated while working on a single ring.  I should switch to computer-designed stuff.


Mystery Cave for @jofsharp

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I’m going to try to detail the creative process of a ring I’m making for game designer John Sharp. This ring will eventually be for sale on my site. It’s called the “Mystery Cave” after the style of skull that appears in the mystery cave in Max Fleischer’ Snow White short. Very round, very minimal, very punk.

You can see the skull very tiny in the lower right corner of the screen.

It’s strange where ideas come from.  There are many custom jewelry designers out there.  If we all just fed on each other, all of our shit would look the same.  You’ve got to get outside of your medium and see what’s out there.


Jassen’s Crow

Jassen has hit me up for a Big Voodoo customized with crow imagery. Guy runs a website called The Bag and the Crow which is all about horror films. Right up my alley. The Crow has a lot of personal imagery for the guy which I won’t go into here, but needless to say its meaningful.

I was thinking about using a crow silhouette on the forehead with feather’s on either side of the skull.

Jassen and I talked it over and agreed on a final design.  He wanted a dark gunmetal as well.  Crows are black, after all.

I wanted to do the sides of the ring out of these 3d feathers.  It worked, but made the ring stand off of the hand a little too much.   I went back in and reduced the count a little bit to get something more workable.

A crow on the forehead was the low-hanging fruit.  It looked excellent, but I wanted to make sure Jassen wasn’t up for something a little more interpretive so I sent him options.

He fucking hated the one on the right, so we went with the crow on the left.  I agree that it works great and it’s probably the best fit for his theme.

the finished wax

And it looked great with the finish.

This was one of those rings I wish I could have kept for myself.  But I sent it off to him.  Jassen was cool enough to send me a photo back.  Not enough clients do that.  Maybe they think I’m not interested, but truth is I like seeing them being worn by the people they were built for.

the last thing you'd see before you wake up with a crow stamped on your forehead.