Closer to Hell

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I’m just about finished with the Hellions wax.  I’ve set the gemstone eyes and have sized the goggles on the head for the black onyx, which will be set after casting.


The gold sleeve for the cigar will be added after casting as well.   I’m really inspired by this bad boy.  I think it might be time for me to design a seriously bad-ass biker skull ring for general purchase.  This one is just for the Hellions.

The Guru Skull


Here it is, folks.  Jason over at the Custom Mala Shop has finished his prototype mala with my silver skull guru bead and the results are stunning.

This is how I suggest you order it:  Use the black onyx beads with the hematite markers with silver spacers and red knotting cord.    Of course, you can order it in any configuration you like, but this is my personal choice.

Here he is up close.  This fella is exclusive to Jason’s shop.  It should be selectable from the guru bead option by next week.

…aaand now back to skull rings.  I’ve got a few orders coming up that I want to post.  Lot of standard pieces, but a few highly custom works.

Zen in Action

Jason’s just whipped up an amazing hand-knotted necklace with the enso pendant.  Again, a freakin’ HAND KNOTTED necklace with a hand-carved and cast enso in sterling silver.  See why I’m a fan of this guy?


Check out his facebook page here or visit or Shade of the Bodhi Tree.  When I saw this photo I kicked myself in the face.

And now, a picture of my skull ring Frank next to a giant corned beef sandwich.




Skull Ring Central


Put a whole bag of goods in the mail tonight.  Finished rings for Brian, Albert, and Matt.

First up was a Big Voodoo with a gunmetal brushed patina and silver teeth.  I can’t wait to see this one after it’s been worn for a bit.  Wicked.  I love a good gunmetal skull ring.  Feel like I should make myself one at some point.


Then I was able to finish up Albert’s Aztec ring.


This bad boy got a cool crackle-pattern around the eyes and that symbol Albert had sent me engraved on the forehead.



Every once and a while, I do a ring that’s hard to send away to its rightful owner and this was one of ’em.  Made it easier  that it has someone else’s name carved into the shank.


I was also able to get Brian’s Iron Cross Ring finished up.  Came out like a dream.  Glad to do a custom Little Voodoo again – especially one so classically customized.  How can you go wrong with an iron cross?



Thing is, I fuckin’ forgot that Brian wanted to investigate a possible black patina on this one.  Shit.  I guess it’s because the ring looked so freakin’ great with the high polish and black cross.  Well, I guess if he wants the patina, it’s on the house.  Send ‘er on back, Brian, if you don’t dig the high polish.   I wanted to keep this ring too…..

So having sold three perfectly good skull rings that I would have loved to have kept for myself, I decided to sooth myself by making a ring just for yours truly.  Well… least for now.  I’ll probably sell it when I wake up tomorrow and come to my senses.

And if this weren’t enough, I’ve got a whole new batch of skull rings coming up for that Hellions project.  I’ve had  a mold made of the master wax  and now we’re on to the individual rings for the officers.  Stay tuned: this one is going to be awesome.

Boss evolving

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Based on Jonathan’s feedback, I’ve started blocking out the BOSS.



This is a long process, obviously.  The ring is massive – a size 14 – so we’re having to go a little bit wider with the face in order to pull it off.  You can see how it fits on  my finger thus far:

Looking massive, right?  The challenge is to keep this bad boy comfortable while keeping the shank as tall as possible.

You can see that the side view below isn’t quite working yet:

Why not?  Well mostly its the bottom jaw line.  Originally Jonathan had requested that it taper in a very similar way to the upper jaw.  At this point, though, you can see that it kind of destroys the “Jawness” of the piece.   The forehead and nose are also looking a little flat right now.

I’ll check in with the client and see what he thinks.  More to come. I’ve got a bit group of skull rings in the tumbler – a few nearly ready to ship.  Big update soon.

Like a Boss

Think we’re closing in on a final design for Jonathan’s Boss Voodoo.

Client’s been great with his feedback thus far so I’ve really had a lot to work with.  I’ve done a new run of sketches with a more balanced jaw-to-forehead ratio.  I’ve also started incorporating some secondary carving around the main image of the Psi.

That Psi is actually going to stand out as a dimensional object, so even though we’re adding some additional carving, it shouldn’t get swallowed up by all of the line.  We were torn between an organic, swirly type of ornamentation or a more Greek-like geometric form.  I’ve tried to combine the two here.

I really like the small mustache.  We’ll see if that makes it to the final design.  I think most skull rings are improved by mustaches.

What makes this even more interesting is that I’m talking to the client about adding gold pupils to the black onyx eyes.   I did another rough sketch that shows what I’m talking about.


This is the biggest and most elaborate skull ring I offer.  You can’t tell from the drawings, of course, but this f’ker is going to cover the entire first segment of the finger.  Jonathan, I hope your’e okay with that!  If not, let me know because the next step is wax-carving.

A Zen Thing

Happy to announce that the Zen ensos are now for sale exclusively at Shade of the Bodhi Tree. and Custom Mala Shop.


For those of you not familiar with the site, let me do a little rundown.

I discovered this shop online when doing some research.  The place is run by Jason Walz, who is doing something incredibly profound with his work.  He’s making custom malas by hand, with great quality materials.  Trust me, this is rare.


I got into silver and skull rings because I got tired of the junk.  There was so much shit out there.   Hollow-backed mass-produced, soldered junk made by 12 year olds in a sweatshop somewhere.  I wanted to make a quality product.  Truly custom made work cast as one piece with no solder, no hollowed-out backs, and made by me sitting on a workbench surrounded by sketches.

I get the feeling Jason is doing much of the same thing, reminding his clients that there are still artisans in this country who can make things by hand out of real materials.

That’s his work above.  Hand drilled with legit Chinese knotting chord and REAL stones.


Do a google search for malas and you’ll see dozens of places that sell them.  Hell, they are extremely popular right now – not just for Buddhists, but for people who want to make a fashion statement.  Thing is, most of them are crap.  They’re strung on cheap wire or freakin’ fishing line.  They snap easily.  Their made with shitty imitation stones or wood that’s been stained with the same kind of crap you’ll find in Home Depot that rubs off on your skin and gives you a rash.  The tassels are machine-made out of crappy threads that disintegrate shortly after public wear.   They’re also made by people who don’t give a shit about what they’re doing.  Some low-salaried employee who’s making them on an assembly line or a hobbiest who doesn’t take it seriously.

Not Jason’s stuff.  He is a master craftsman.  He’s studied, he’s researched…..he gets it.


Best thing is, his work is entirely custom.  He has a few pre-made pieces as well, but the FUN of ordering from him is that he has a custom design tool on his page.  You start off by selecting what type of mala you want.  Full 108 bead count?  No problem.  Something smaller for the wrist?  Piece of cake.  Turns out Jason will also make crazy configurations that aren’t on his site if you send him an email.



Once you get your basic configuration laid out, you pick what type of beads you want.  Onyx?  Bone?   Lotus seed? Sandal wood?  Jade?  Crystal?  There are a lot of options.  Plus, virtually EVERY part of the mala is customizable.  Spacers, tassels, chord knots, pendants, guru beads, etc.  Goes on and on.

In fact, I’ve just finished a skull guru bead that will be available at Custom Mala Shop as well.


If you don’t know what a guru bead is, it’s the bead at the center of the mala where the knot and/or tassel is.  You can see what I’m talking about below.


you can imagine that knot coming out of the jaw of that skull.  Should look fantastic.  They’re not up on Jason’s site yet, so check back in a week or so.

Well, I didn’t want this to be one big commercial for Jason’s work, but frankly I just admire the hell out of it.   I’m going to be doing more articles like this: reviews of work from artists I admire.   My enso pendants and that new skull guru bead are available exclusively through his site.   I’ve had so many requests to make beaded pieces like these for clients and I’m now happy to say that if your’e interested, you can finally get one complete with an MT Maloney skull or enso pendant.

Taker ‘er easy.  Stay tuned……

An old friend


I was cleaning out my studio and I found a piece that I’d made a LONG ass time ago.  This is a skull cane from god knows when.

I cast the skull in aluminum and used an automotive paint to darken the recesses.  That’s a wooden shaft and it has a spun aluminum tip.  I wonder if I should get into making these.  I’ve never had an order for a cane before.


Jonathan’s Boss

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I’ve got a Boss Voodoo in the works for Jonathan.  This is the mother of all skull rings.  They are HUGE, completely custom made, and usually have gold teeth and gemstone eyes.



Again, I don’t do hollow skull rings, so you can imagine how solid and satisfying that bad-boy is to wear.

There are a lot of moving parts with rings like this.  We have SO many details to go over.  Basically what Jonathan wants is a BIG ring with a big thick shank.

The only thing we’ve discussed thus far is the incorporation of the Psi, the symbol for psychiatric study.


Cool thing about an image like this: it happens to be shaped very much like the center-line and forehead of a skull.  Preliminary sketches were easy:


Now this image uses the Psi in a very dominant way.  It completely defines the planes of the forehead and nose and doesn’t leave much room for a bottom jaw.

Jonathan’s feedback?

“That looks like ass.”

Well perhaps not that terse, but basically he said he digs the Psi, but wants it to be a little more conformed to the forehead area.  He also really wants a bottom jaw.  Here’s another stab at this:


That side-view drawing looks kinda funky due to foreshortening.  You’d think I’d be able to take a straight-on photograph.

What does the ring look like now?  A big block of wax.  No reason to rush a piece like this.  We’re going to do it just right.

Ensos and Chains

Finished a semi-super-secret project.  No, not another skull ring.   That’s an enso pendant.

For those of you not familiar with it, it’s essentially a single brush-stroke image from Zen Buddhism.  I carved these guys by hand to look like the brush-stroke – trying to keep it very organic and fluid.

I’d seen other pendants like this online and if you ask me, they all suck.  And they’re expensive as hell.  I wanted to do one in sterling that really captured the brush style without looking overly rigid or machine-cut.

Want one?  Stay tuned and I’ll be letting you know how to get ’em.

Along with that, I had another late night in the studio working on waxes and a chain for my man Sid.  I’ve got a Days of the Dead coming together.   Before and after:

That isn’t done.  Still have to solder shut all of the rings, do a bit more sanding, tumble polish, blacken, and then re-polish by hand.  Sid doesn’t want any special finish or anything, so we’re just doing it up classic.