Breaking Tiki


Oh man, where to begin.  In the skull ring biz, this is a busy time of year.  Bike week, etc.  I’ve had my custom orders just about double, which is awesome and really a lot of fun.  I’ve also been working with a designer on a new look for the website, which should be going live with a few new products this Spring.

New products?



Yeah, you got it.  I’ve made a Tiki ring for the line.  This isn’t the exact same one that I’ve made in the past.  It has different proportions.  Bigger teeth, lips, etc.  And you animals are going to love it.  It’s comfortable and actually sits fairly flush to the hand despite being a big ring.

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These are now available for order (not on the site yet, but email me and I’ll start carving one for you) and are running at $495.  Just had to do it.  It was too popular and I’ve had so many requests for a Tiki ring.

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There’s one with brushed metal.  All of ’em are solid-backed.  Custom finishes are free with this one.  It’s big, right?  34mm tall.  But I’m telling you, you can wear this sucker every day.  I’ve balanced it like a freakin’ airplane.

Have you guys seen Wake in Fright?  Kick ass fuckin’ movie.

Anyway, I’ve also finished up a new pendant-type product that I’ll be calling the Doc Voodoo.

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The Doc is totally flexible.  He can be a pendant, he can be linked into a thick chain, he can be a ring.  He can be a freakin’ Zippo lighter:

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They don’t all come with the bolt on the forehead, but I’m really offering these as a great template for some custom carving.  I’ll probably work that into the asking price.  Cool addition to the Voodoo line for the non-ring crowd.

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I’ve also finished up a pretty cool sugar’d up Big Voodoo that I can’t help but post photos of.  Listen, when you latch onto something good, you gotta do it.  I’ll never get tired of carving sugar skulls like this.  It’s what the Big Voodoo was made for and I hope the orders for these keep coming in.  I’m sorry I can’t post photos of all of ’em.  Sometimes you have to either get shit done or take pictures of shit that got done and I’ve been struggling to keep up with the season’s orders.

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That’s not a snowflake.

More soon, but for now I’m taking a break from the skull world and working on these class rings.



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That isn’t even all of them…

But I’ll balance my scholarly carving with some work on a nearly complete master wax for the War Pigs.  It’s not my first Motorcycle Club Ring, but it’s one of the largest and most badass.  We have a way to go on this one.  That pig’s head was hell to get done.  I did the base for that in the computer and then fused it by hand to the hand-carved shank.  It’s going to be a monster.

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Alright, enough.  Back to work.  Stay tuned!



Devil Cat

Ahhh, it’s October.  My favorite month.  My favorite time of year.  Summer and Spring blow.  Fall and Winter rule.  Leaves are changing, horror movies are getting carted out from my dusty closet, and the mosquitos are dying slow, painful deaths.  Me?  I’m carving wax and silver like a maniac.

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The work is getting increasingly diverse and customized, which is great because I’ve been contemplating whether or not to continue to accept orders for non-custom pieces.   More custom work means more time in the studio, though, which means less time blogging.

So let’s get to it.

I’ve just finished carving up a customized Mystery Cave for a special cat-whispering Animal Planet television host.  A very cool project and a lot of fun to work on.

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I’ve done a number of these sugar-cat skull rings for people and they’ve been catching on.  I used big, bulbous citrine gemstone eyes on this one and that’s a recessed ying-yang in the forehead.

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I hadn’t done anything with citrine and I freakin’ love the stone.  It’s hard as hell and has some amazing light play.  It might be seen on the new season, might not be.  Either way, like all my other stuff, it’s a one of a kind.  If you like this kind of thing, I’ll do a custom sugar cat for YOU with your own imagery, gemstones, etc.  No two are exactly alike.


Got another order for a Big Voodoo with the jaw also.

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If you want this variation, I’ll do it up for you.  You need to know, however, that it’s going to add a LOT of volume.  I like the way it looks.  Not angry, not evil…almost a smile, but in a very cynical way.

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Compare it to this massive brushed-finish Jupiter I’ve just completed.  Very different looks, but both bring a lot of size to the table.  Bottom line: bottom jaws make big rings.

Smaller rings?  I’ve made a few of those recently as well.  In fact, I’ve just done one of the cooler Heidi rings I’ve ever worked on.  It’s for Catherine, who funny enough doesn’t really seem that thrilled with it at the moment.  Me, I think it’s freakin’ great.

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We put these small little flowers and vines all over the shank and with the brushed metal finish it looks absolutely badass.  She has a Days of the Dead bracelet to match.

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She hasn’t said “hey, this sucks” but she also hasn’t quite flipped out as much as I have.   Maybe the photos don’t do it justice?  Or maybe it actually DOES suck and I’ve lost my mind.  Either way, if she doesn’t flip out when she gets it, I either try again or I buy it back from her.  I want my clients to be happy and I stand by my work.

Watching the Puppet Master series right now.  1 through 3 are so F’in great.  4 through 9 are total crap.





Been so long, so long, so loooooong…

..since I’ve done a blog post.

Been busy.  Skull rings.  Class rings.  Guru beads.  Etc.

A book about skull rings.

Another book about Hong Kong.

A short film.

And besides, I actually haven’t had a lot of custom work recently.  Sold a lot of classic models.  A few Jupiters, a few Kings, a mess of Voodoo.  Don’t get me wrong, I dig making classic models too, but how many pics of a classic skull ring can I put on the blog?  I was waiting for something different and man did I get it.

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This is my faceless Big Voodoo for artist Marx Myth.  I think I mentioned it before, but Marx is a goddamned genius and he needed something special.  He gave me absolute creative freedom on this so I was able to just GO and do something I really, really dig.

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The front faceplate has a brushed metal finish, but the nose, teeth, and carved sides are still high-polish.  Marx has been in the loop during the entire process and highly approves.

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In fact, he approves so much he got one for his wife.  A cool dimensional Little Voodoo with a sun motif and AWESOME turquoise eyes.

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Quite a pair.  I’m delivering these in person (gives me an excuse to visit Lilly’s Pizza in Raleigh for that fuckin’ goat cheese and sausage pizza of theirs.)

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I also got to make a full-custom skull ring for Desmond.  Some of the coolest stones I’ve ever been able to work with.  Desmond picked them out himself and I worked them into the design, which we also collaborated on.

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I didn’t blacken this one either.  Desmond wanted it in bright high polish, so that’s what he got.  The stones catch the light and glow at ya like a cat’s eye.

Speaking of cat’s eyes, I’m also still chipping away at my special client’s sugar cat ring.  I’m using citrine stones for the eyes and I’m in the process right now of setting them.  Still a few days away from finishing this one.  That’s a Mystery Cave frame, if you don’t recognize it.

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Not done.  I’ve also just finished a full-custom pendant for Benny.  This is a gift for his lady, so I put my back into it and ended up carving one of the better realistic skulls I’ve done.

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I’ve talked about this before, but I really, really like this slider pendant style.  If you hang a pendant like this BELOW, the chain, you look like freakin’ Frankie Valli.  If you put the chain THROUGH the pendant like the image above, it’s a very modern look.  Looks sleek on a dude and sexy on a chick.

Oh yeah, and I also finished a big order of guru skull beads for my pal over at the Custom Mala Shop.  I’d feel great about this, but he just ordered 5 more.  Hey, I can’t complain.  Jason’s work is amazing.

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Check him out at  The work is superb.  He’s on Facebook too.  You can see some of his work below using my skulls.

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I don’t do beads and one of the reasons is that guys like Jason do them freakin’ PERFECTLY.

He’s on Facebook, like me.  Speaking of which…

With all the visits I get on this blog every day, how in the hell do I have so few FACEBOOK likes at

I guess skull-ring clients aren’t social media people….. Still, I have a ton of custom images up there and it’s a great way to get informed on specials and sales, so check it out if you’re into….facebooking and stuff.

I’m still working on some waxes as well.  Below is a floral design I’m working over on a Heidi frame.

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Also you can see that I’ve got a zillion little silver skulls ready to be made into a Days of the Dead bracelet.

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Same client.  Knows how to treat herself, right?  Hell yeah.

Not done.  Also working on a great new Chinese style Little Voodoo for Kat.  With Jade eyes.

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More on this one later as it comes together.

For now, I’m having an old-fashioned and watching Beyond the Black Rainbow again.  More work soon(ish).  Stay tuned.

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What’s in a Sugar Skull?

No NEW work here, but finishing up John’s Purple Gaze ring got me thinking about all the sugar skulls I’ve done recently.  Figured they’d need a post all to themselves.  

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Yeah, we all get that this comes from that Day of the Dead aesthetic, but it goes way beyond that for me.  A good chunk of my sugars don’t even use that particular style.  “Sugar Skull” has come to classify really ANY ornamentation to the surface of the skull, in ANY style.

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Sometimes we go detail-heavy, sometimes we keep it simple.  Sometimes the style is Latin, sometimes it’s Japanese, sometimes it looks like a microphone or a mess of thorns……

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The only thing these suckers have in common is that the ornamentation is kind of riffing on the sculptural planes of the skull itself.  In other words, the trick isn’t to ignore what the surface is doing, but rather respond to it.  I’d say “kinda like jazz” if I knew anything about jazz.

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Keep in mind that ANY of my rings can get this sugar treatment.  

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Done all kinds of line work and central imagery.  Thick, thin, wobbly, sharp, clean, cragged…..

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But these rings work best with some kind of central imagery as an anchor.  A cross, a star, whatever.  It keeps the surface from looking too busy.  When I work with a client on a sugar skull, they tend to have specific ideas about what that central image should be.  The rest of the treatment is built around that and frames it up nicely. 



Okay, enough for now.  This could go on and on and my intent here was to create a post where I could send people who had questions about how the sugar treatment looked.  Remember, this is not to be confused with the Boss Voodoo which is carved from scratch from a block of wax for each client. The result is equally ornamental, but the process (and price range) is totally different…..

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Those are examples.  HUGE ring.  Heavy too.  Just like the sugar, they’re very detailed and work best with gemstone eyes. 

We’re a few weeks away from the new Jupiter Skull, so stay tuned.