Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jewelry Art: "Mokume Necklace"

"Mokume Pendant"
click image to enlarge
Here's another one from my archives. The term Mokume-Gane is Japanese for wood grain, and it refers to the pattern in the metal "wings" on this piece, which sort of look like the swirls in burled wood. It's a meticulous process that involves layering different metals like copper, brass, silver & gold in many alternating layers. When the back is hammered, and then the rough spots filed off on the front, the pattern is revealed.

Mokume detail
The central part of the pendant is carved ebony, inlaid with a piece of old ivory. The main stone on top of the ivory is a Fire Agate, set in a bezel encrusted with gold chunks. The smaller stone is a piece of sugilite, accented with a gold drop. The little green stone on the one wing is Faustite. The wings on the side are set on forged silver wire, connected to a woven black leather cord with silver sleeves accenting it.

This was a one-of-a-kind piece that went to one of my collectors in San Diego. Something with a similar "feel" could be done for you - call me at the studio, (505) 296-1400, to discuss the details and price (somewhere around $3600).


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jewelry Art: "Wind Spirit" pendant

This Sterling Silver pendant is titled, "Wind Spirit". The inspiration, of course, is a feather which presents unlimited opportunity for drama in design, but I personified the theme by adding a little face to the piece in carved bamboo coral inlaid with 18K gold eyes. What better to represent the spirit of the wind than a feather?
click image to enlarge
The stones I used in the body are: (starting at the top right and going clockwise),
-gold-lipped clam shell, inlaid with a faceted amethyst set in a gold bezel
-simulated lab-grown opal
-black onyx
-gold-lipped clam shell
-blue simulated opal
-Wyoming black jade
-black onyx
-chatoyant obsidian
-Russian charoite
-simulated opal
-black-lipped clam shell
-pink mussel shell
-spiderweb chalcosiderite

I handmade the bail in back of the piece as a hinged "enhancer" bail that opens and snaps closed (see my bursting pearls pendant for an example). This enables you to wear the pendant on pearls or beads, as well as a chain or neckwire. (The Byzantine chain shown is available for an additional charge). The pendant measures 4 3/4 inches tall from top to bottom, and makes quite a statement when worn. UPDATE: Wind Spirit has been SOLD... A similar piece can be made just for you, with a slightly different stone arrangement (Each one in inlaid by hand, as a separate composition, so the colors will vary considerably). Currently priced at $2800, but in today's volatile market, I might have to adjust it slightly when I make yours!
Call me at the studio (505) 296-1400 to arrange that, or email me at David @ StewartArt. com to order one custom-made for yourself or someone you love.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Artist's Choice Award

A kudos I forgot to mention last year - I was lucky enough to get the Artist's Choice Award at the New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair in June last year. Winning awards is always fun - nice to get validation for your work from the powers-that-be, but Artist's Choice awards are especially meaningful. That's validation from my fellow artists!

The entry date for the 2008 NMACF is fast approaching (Jan 26): most people don't realize that the fair is juried so far in advance. Some fairs are juried 9 - 11 months ahead of the actual event! When I was doing 20+ fairs a year, the jury fees alone were a serious outlay of cash ... let alone the booth fees, usually several hundred dollars each, paid well in advance of the fairs. When you add travel expenses, motel, meals, etc., you can probably see why I don't travel as far & wide as I used to!

Another honor: I also discovered that they used a photo of one of my pieces on the fair's homepage .... check it out!


Jewelry Art: Bursting Pearls Pin/ Pendant

This combination pin/ pendant is titled Bursting Pearls, because I made it so that the pearls appear to be bursting out of the background, as if emerging from volcanic fields. I generally use baroque freshwater pearls with a sort of pinkish hue, to contrast nicely with the frosty silver textured background.
click image to enlarge
The texture was achieved in the original handwrought master by a process called reticulation - a meticulous process using the torch to wrinkle the surface by bringing it close to the melting point. This cast silver piece was then treated by heating it red-hot and quenching it in acid over & over again - this dissolves the copper out of the sterling alloy, leaving pristine pure silver on the surface. The effect achieved is unlike any other process I know of, and forms a pearlescent beautiful white silver color that contrasts wonderfully with the polished "rails" that run along the sides.

If you look at the back of the piece, you can see the secret to its versatility: it's not just a pin, but it also has a hand-crafted "enhancer" bail that opens & snaps closed. It's pictured on a snake chain here (not included), but that bail enables you to wear it on liquid silver necklaces, pearl strands, beads, or neckwires as well! Really versatile. The current price on this pin/ pendant is $355, but with the price of precious metals being so volatile, check with me to see if any price adjustments have to be made. Shipping generally runs about $10, unless you have a special request like overnight or out-of-country.
Call me at the studio at (505) 296-1400 to place your order.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jewelry Art: "Lavender Equinox"

"Lavender Equinox"
click to enlarge
This ring, titled "Lavender Equinox", is one from my archives done many years ago. It's one of my "Layback" rings, in that it lays back over the hand when worn. In doing so, it creates the optical illusion of elongating the fingers - it puts the design further back on the hand than the eye is used to seeing it. This one is handcrafted in sterling silver as a hollow structure, with a 14K gold Spoon shape underneath the amethyst, reflecting light in a really different way. Surrounding the concave area are gold chunks radiating outwards like a sunburst. Across the top of the ring, I inlaid coral pieces as an interesting color combination.

The "Layback" theme is one I have played with for many years, and I can certainly make a variation on this design custom for you - just call me at the studio (505) 296-1400 to discuss the particulars, like stone colors, size, delivery time, etc.

American Style Magazine cover

Last year, I received a nice kudo I forgot to mention: One of my pieces was featured on the cover of the February 2007 issue of American Style Magazine! The cover story was about the art collection of the late great actor, artist & collector Anthony Quinn, and how Katherine Quinn, his wife, intends to share that collection with the world. I made several pieces for the Quinns before Anthony passed away, and they chose this one for the cover of the magazine - very flattering. click image to enlarge
While I wasn't mentioned in the article itself, (not surprising - it was mostly about Rodins and Picassos!) , I was mentioned inside, on page 6 about the cover:
The piece featured on the cover was commissioned by Katherine, after Anthony admired a similar piece in my booth when he was our very first featured celebrity artist at Weems Artfest. This was in November, and I finished it just before Christmas, and shipped it to them in Hawaii, where they were staying with dear friends for the Holiday season. Katherine later told me that he liked the piece so well, that he insisted on taking it with them when they traveled, so he could set it up wherever they were staying and view it there! He was such a monumental talent, that I was very flattered by his validation. I wish we had had more time to develop a friendship.

One of the other pieces I made for his birthday at Katherine's direction was the Spirit Egg featured here on this blog. It was his central piece in the cabinet where he displayed his egg collection.