So Jillian’s ring is almost done. I’ve finished the ring, in fact. Just a few detail points I want to go over with her.
First of all, to keep the weight own I actually put a scalloped effect in the top of the shank. You can see what I mean here:
This is just to keep the ring from weighing too much. Jillian has teeny-tiny fingers and to make the entire top of the ring solid would result in some serious mass. So this scalloped effect, while it looks cool, was really a comfort thing. But now that it’s done, I’m getting some ideas. Stupid or brilliant: I can’t tell. Like what if I actually set the dog’s hair into that area?
Like I said…..stupid or clever?
Next is the blue lace agate stones. These are some extremely pale blue stones that we selected because they match the color of her dog’s eyes. Against the silver, they appear very white. I think the color matches the eyes just fine, but they sure are WHITE. I want to make sure Jillian is cool with something this pale or if she’d rather go for a deeper blue like turquoise or something.
If the eyes look bugged-out here it’s because I haven’t set them yet.
Anyway, shoot me an email, Jillian and let me know. We’re literally an hour or two away from finishing.
Yeah, I’m still here. I have so many projects right now I haven’t had a lot of time to talk about them. I thought it was time for an update on Jillian’s sugar skull. Just put the black patina on it this morning and it’s looking great.
This bad boy is just about finished. I have some gemstones to set into the sockets and the final polish to put on it.
Just spent a big marathon session working the wax for Jillian’s sugar skull. I haven’t rounded out the eyes yet, but I’ve finished the rose and sugar floral work on either side of the head, the script on the shank, as well as the feature piece at the top of the forehead. The eyes and the treatment on the lower forehead and jaw are next.
It’s hard to take good shots of wax like this. But I’ve done my best.
This kind of project is a lot of fun to work on. We’re closing in on a completion date for this fellow. I have to say, this is one of my favorite sugar skulls thus far.
Working on the wax for Jillian’s ring. She’s a size 6. I don’t have a Big Voodoo Frame that small, so I’m actually carving a smaller wax sleeve to fit INSIDE the shank of the Big Voodoo frame so it will fit right.
Luckily Jillian’s vision for the ring is really great so this will get much more engaging, interesting, and fun once I get to the actual details. This is the kind of work, though, that too often is overlooked by the shittier skullsmiths out there. This is an issue of comfort. Sure, I could have pinched a wax down to a size six or even cast a larger size, cut the shank and re-solder it to a size six. But that’s crap silversmithing. Nothing is more comfortable than a ring that is CAST as one piece. That’s what we’re doing with this puppy. This slows down the process, but the dividends are fantastic. Plus, considering this ring actually has a lifespan of about 500,000 years, an extra week taken to make it more comfortable for the first owner is a small thing.
Jillian’s also sent me some fur from her dog that I’m going to set behind the gemstones in the eyes. More on that later.
I’m getting close to finishing the wax for Jason’s Mohawk Big Voodoo. Jason’s approved some early sketches and now’s the tricky part: making sure all ‘dem purty drawin’s translate to 3d planes. See, sometimes a great 2d illustration just doesn’t work when you actually try to wrap it around something with 3 dimensions.
Luckily I’m familiar with the Big Voodoo frame so it’s rare that I screw this one up. I was using a very simplified image and was feeling pleased with myself when I realized I was looking at designs from the wrong tribe.
I was fitting Cree images into this Mohawk template on the forehead. So I called it quits for the evening, worked on a few other things, towned on a Perdamo Habano cigar and a tumbler of my new favorite black rum to drown my idiocy, and took an angry nap.
Second try went a lot smoother. I was able to incorporate some feedback from Jason into the design. I’m using a small flint arrowhead (very relevant to the Mohawk people) and some tribal imagery from Mohawk tattoos.
So let me know how we’re doing here, Jason.
Also had a request for what should be an AMAZING custom piece from Jillian. Jillian does a ton of rescue work with dogs and we’re collaborating on a theme for a very special ring based on her own rescued pit. She’s requested the full sugar treatment on this bad boy right along with blue agate (protection stone) eyes based on her special fella’s actual eye color. I’m going to incorporate some of his fur into the piece as well. This is the kind of piece I love to work on because Jillian’s pulling out all the stops. We’re just going to make the absolute best ring possible.
First round of sketches:
..REJECTED! As most first ideas are. This one was a little too geometric for Jillian’s tastes and she didn’t quite dig my idea for a stylized dog head as a feature piece. Yes, it was an epic fail. I soothed myself with gin martinis and….yeah, another cigar. In all seriousness, I love client feedback and I honestly think I don’t get enough of it from my more timid clients. It’s YOUR ring, right? I want to make it absolutely perfect.
We’re keeping the “Mercy” script on the shank and we’re simply replacing the flower on the side with a rose. Here’s the new sketch:
Jillian provided a great idea for a forehead featurepiece. We’re doing a thorny rose on the side and giving it an overall more organic, scripty look. We’ll keep the Mercy thing on the back for now. I’m also trying out a much more narrow upper jaw/teeth idea in these sketches. Might be interesting….not sure yet.
Jillian, let me know if we’re getting the hang of this.