The Road

Remember this?

 

Well, I had to start over and finish it right.  But it was worth it.  It’s a Gentleman ring I dubbed “the Road Agent”  for a client with a custom-shaped gold obsidian stone.  It turned out great and has this amazing subsurface gold highlight when the light hits it.

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This whole thing brings up the point of mastery, which is something I am constantly talking to my artist friends about.  What is it and are we (or is anyone) that thing?  The skullsmithing industry is a small community.  We all pretty much know each other and most of my instagram is occupied by makers that I follow.  Everyone seems to be a true master of the craft.  But the truth is that I know for a fact that we all regularly and frequently screw up multiple aspects of projects.  Problem with social media is that you don’t see that stuff, usually.  And I get it.  You don’t want clients thinking you’re incompetent.

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But the more I think about ‘mastery’ the more the prospect of imperfection comes to light.  Because the more I learn, the LESS CONFIDENT I become in the craft.  I’ll knock out what I think is a series of absolutely awesome pieces and then screw up something as simple as a stone setting or a comfort fit.   Take that along with discussions I’ve had with other artisans that have what I’d call “mastery” and I’d say that mastery and humility come hand in hand.  In other words, if you’re walking around thinking that you’ve GOT THIS then you’re probably a journeyman at best.  If you’re walking around thinking “holy shit there is so much to learn and all of my contemporaries are so inspiring” then you might be approaching legitimate mastery.

I think this is why most artists I know walk around thinking that at some point they’re going to be ‘found out’ and everyone’s going to realize they don’t know they’re shit and it’s all going to come crashing down.  What’s actually happening is that they’re reaching that peak.  Mastery.  And to call it a ‘peak’ is actually yet another fuck up of mine because I don’t think “mastery” is a place.  I think it’s a path.

So, I’ll leave you with a custom skull ring (full jaw) I finished for a client a few weeks ago that might be one of the finest sculpts I’ve ever made.  Path to mastery, right?

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…and then…..

I completely screwed up a wax for a totally similar piece that I should have been able to do perfectly.  This is for a client who is getting multiple pieces from me.

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Luckily, I’ve been able to send him finished pieces while we begin remaking this one.  In the meantime, yeah, whooops.

So yes, I’m a master skullsmith.  Yes, I screw up all the time.  Yes, I will end up putting a perfect piece in your hands at the end of it.   Here’s to all the other skullsmiths out there and the next time your silver throws too cold and totally destroys your wax tree, remember that we’re all in the same boat.  I’ll leave you with this shot of a skull I put together in Zbrush.  I’ll be casting this soon to begin working on a new Deaths Head line that will be uber-realistic skulls set in slightly smaller rings:

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

2 Comments

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.

The Gotham Necklace

I had a client put in an order for an amazing project many weeks ago and I’m happy/relieved/and a little self-impressed to report that she came out beautifully.

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This is a claspless full-custom silver necklace using my Gotham links, a special toggle I came up with in a dream after eating a bunch of Chinese food, and a custom hand-carved cross based on the client’s designs.

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She’s heavy and might be the all-time crowned champion of “pieces I’d rather not send to the client because it looks mighty good on me instead.”   But no, she’s off to a happy home.

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Making a Gotham is hard work when it’s only a bracelet.  A necklace like this is a real ball-buster.  Each link is individually cast.  The chain takes a while to build and solder closed.

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Getting the thing cast and built takes time and a lot of elbow grease.  But to me, this is what is so f’king cool about wearing a custom chain.  It represents a lot of time and labor and there’s really no comparison.  All those shitty machine-assembled pieces just don’t feel the same.

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The necklace before final polish.

I have a few more rings coming up soon, so stay tuned, but I’m also done taking orders for the Summer.  Yours truly is skipping town for a bit to get some R&R and I won’t be taking any new projects until August.   I’ll do one more big post before then of a couple of AMAZING custom skull rings I’ve been working on.

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