Tuesday, June 26, 2007

PARDON ME! - a little on this blog

I just did the New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair this last weekend, (more on that later), and I had a realization about this blog. Some of my fellow artists have "graduated" from doing fairs, and now sell their work only in galleries or on their own ... but there is something about doing a fair that gives you an interaction with your customers you just can't get any other way. There have been times when I envied those that have moved along in their marketing efforts - they get more studio time, time doing what they love doing.

And doing art fairs is HARD WORK. When you see an artist sitting in his booth in a festive atmosphere, among all these pieces of his work that project the joy of creation, it's easy to miss the EFFORT that it took him to be there! I'll get into that in a seperate discussion later on ... the point I wanted to make here was that despite the effort, they are worth doing if only for the chance to INTERACT with the wonderful people that collect my work. They honor me with their purchases!

Art is a channel for communication. It's communication on a very high level - a high quality that can't be achieved any other way - but it's communication nonetheless, and that requires having someone to communicate TO! Getting direct feedback from the people that I do the work for (you?) is paramount in importance to me. Sitting in my studio and creating work is only HALF the fun. So here's the realization that I had: I started this blog to show you what I was producing ... it didn't occur to me to share other things about the "artist's life" that you might find interesting! I have almost made this thing into a catalog, rather than a venue to interact with you as I do at Art Fairs. I'll tell you a few stories of things I've observed "on the road", share a little philosophy, point to a few observations and ask a few questions from here on out. I hope you will find it interesting. If you do, please feel free to leave me a comment, either at the end of the post, or a general comment in my Guestbook. I welcome the feedback!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jewelry Art: Adjustable Ring

As you can probably see, this ring is an adjustable ring, meaning that it's an open, wrap-around design. It's probably best to get me to adjust the size for you if you want to change it - it's not meant to be constantly adjusted to fit one finger, then another. It's too heavy and sturdy for that!

click to enlarge image
I designed it at the request of one of my good customers, who bought the heavy silver bracelet I made in the same design (not yet posted - it will be when I make another one!)

The price of silver has been fluctuating quite a bit over the last many months, but currently, this ring goes for $175. Click the link below to go to the catalog page on my website, where you can add it to your shopping cart.
...Or, if you prefer, just drop me an email here, or call me direct at the studio - (505) 296-1400, and we can talk about making one for you. Delivery usually takes no more than 4-6 weeks, and sometimes is just a few days if I already have one in stock that just needs sizing for you!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Jewelry Art: Fetish Bracelet

I knew from its inception that this bracelet design was not going to be one of the most wearable designs I ever came up with. None of the compromises I conceived really made it any more practical - so I decided to procede with it anyway, and just build it so well, it would never come apart in use. The imagery was worth a little inconvenience - in short, it was just a neat damn bracelet. The fossil walrus teeth jutting out either side, one dark and one light, formed a really different line when mounted as a tangent to the curve of the bracelet - one I had never seen before.

Photo by George Post -click image to enlarge

The mounting structure that juts up from the center of the bracelet is inlaid with green fire agate and Faustite on the top, flanked by pieces of purple African Sugilite ... and then lower, by pieces of spiderweb chalcosiderite from Lander County, Nevada and more sugilite. The 18K gold bezels that seem to hold the walrus teeth belie the fact that there are heavy silver rods running inside the center of each tooth to ensure their stability. The transparent green stone on the lighter tooth is an emerald mounted in a gold bezel and inset into the surface of the ivory. The polished round "pebbles" of metal underneath the Fetish shape are made of bronze, copper, brass, silver and gold. The outer surface of bracelet between the polished rails is textured with stamps I made myself, evoking the feel of a fossil bed that might contain this artifact from another world.

There will never be another one just like this, but if you like the concept, let me design one specifically for you that's a variation on this theme. Call me at the studio to discuss the particulars at (505) 296-1400, or Email me at David@StewartArt.com, and play a part in its creation.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Jewelry Art: Etched Long Dome

This long-dome style ring is a classic shape for my style - I love what a longer ring does to a lady's hand. This one I treated a little differently: first, I covered the surface with designs and glyphs, tediously etched into the surface with dental burrs and stipple tools... and secondly, instead of flush-inlaying the sugilite stone into the surface, I thought it would be more dramatic if the stone rose out of the top surface in a polished bezel. And I went one step further: I made the bezel just slightly smaller than the opening in the dome, leaving a black space between the bezel & dome that forms a dramatic accent.

The stone is sugilite from Africa - a gorgeous purple stone with bluish-white & dark matrix. This ring just sold, but I am currently working on a variation on the theme, which will be offered here when complete. It will be signed on the back with my hallmark stamp, just as this one was. Price will be $345 plus $5 shipping and handling (priority mail). If you want me to send one to you, just email me at David@StewartArt.com or phone me at the studio: (505) 296-1400.,
or click this button to add it to your shopping cart:
PLEASE NOTE that the stone in your ring will be different than the one pictured - every stone is different! In fact, if you have a specific preference, including different colored stones used together, please let me know in your email - I will do everything I can to accomodate your wishes. Some stones may be more expensive, and add to the price above.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sculpture: Eskimo Dream

For the life of me, I just can't remember the title I gave this piece - Eskimo Dream will have to do for now. The body is carved from a mineshaft timber that my father-in-law, Allen, picked up somewhere in the Wyoming back country. He intended it to be firewood, but gave it to me to carve.

PHOTO BY AZAD - click to enlarge

The cavities in the body and head were flame-carved, the way canoes used to be hollowed out. I carved the face and mittens out of a slab of Mammoth ivory. I carved the fish out of Basswood (no, really!), and painted it with acrylic artists' colors - some of the "interference" and metallic and pearlescent colors are perfect for 3-dimensional shapes, and especially a fish! People kept asking me what kind of fish it was, so I invented the species - it was an "Everyfish". The base was carved from a chunk of snowy-white marble.

This piece sold many years ago - call me at the studio to ask about a variation on this theme.
(505) 296-1400 .... or email me at David@StewartArt.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Jewelry Art: Scorpion

W-a-a-a-a-a-y back at the beginning of my career, one of my new collectors commissioned me to do a large gold scorpion pin/ pendant. The colored-pencil drawing below is what I came up with:

The black areas would have been carved ebony, inlaid with Australian opal in the center and the left claw, as well as the little stones in the tail segments. It would have had fire agate eyes, as well as turquoise, diamond and coral accents.

Well, as it turned out, the customer had in mind something more "realistic", and wanted me to use some really cheap, dull opal triplets someone had given her. I drew a new design, got approval and did all the goldsmithing by hand, but when it came time to set the stones, I just didn't have the heart to put those ugly stones in my design. I refused - hey, a fella has to draw the line somewhere to maintain his integrity! So this was a piece I had to "eat"! Luckily, I had some really stunning Mexican Opals and Fire Agates to use - the colors of the desert. The final piece was about 4 inches long - really dramatic.

The price on this piece was originally $8,000, but that was a l-o-o-o-o-ng time ago, and it has since found a home with some good friends & collectors. I've had a lot of requests over the years for one in a smaller size, but I haven't made one yet. Call me at the studio if you want me to quote you a price on the first one : (505) 296-1400, or Email me: David@StewartArt.com

Jewelry Art: My Favorite Ring

Despite its simplicity, there's a reason this ring is my favorite - and that is that it's YOUR favorite! I've been making this ring design for over 18 years, and it's always been a best-seller at the fairs I've done coast-to-coast. Variations on this bubbly theme were some of the very first designs I handmade in jewelry 30 years ago.

I also make a plain version of this ring (with no pearl), but this one with a plump, pinkish freshwater pearl is actually the first version I came up with. I guarantee the pearl will remain intact: First, I drill each pearl and set it on a silver post that is cast into the ring, and secondly, I use EPOXY to hold it on. More tedious to use, but it's much tougher than traditional pearl cement. So ... if you ever lose the pearl, just send it back to me, and I'll put a new one on at no charge!

I can make this ring in virtually any size - it looks GREAT on any finger. Just specify your size, and I'll make one just for you for $58. plus $10 shipping & handling. Just Email me at: David@StewartArt.com , or call me personally at the studio: (505) 296-1400.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jewelry Art: Bird in Flight necklace

Some pieces of jewelry are actually miniature sculptures, and can even stand alone. In the past, these were often called "cabinet jewelry", and while it was meant to be a somewhat derogatory term that implied it was hard to wear, I have enjoyed making a few pieces like that in the past. But then once in a while, on the other hand, a truly successful artwork in the medium of jewelry surfaces - one that forms a symbiosis with its wearer. Such a piece is actually not complete until it is WORN. Seen by itself, it just sits there - but once it is put on, it literally comes to life. This necklace, titled "Bird in Flight" is just such a piece!

It is called a "torque" necklace, because it relies on the torque or springiness of the silver neckwire to hold its shape. The silver is hand-hammered on a polished anvil with polished hammers, not only to shape it, but to impart the "memory" of its graceful shape that clings to the nape of the neck. The position that it naturally comes to rest is actually on the SHOULDERS, not the back of the neck! Thus, its wearer is allowed total freedom of movement without feeling any sort of binding on the neck.

This position results in something remarkable happening that makes it an incredibly flattering piece to wear: First, it exposes the beautiful curve at the base of the neck, where the neck swoops into the shoulders (one of the most beautiful lines on a woman's body).... and, secondly, because the necklace is open on the front, there are no horizontal lines across the front of her throat, so the full sweep of the neck is visible in the front! Perhaps my most flattering piece when worn. The neat thing, though, is that the neckwire is wide enough so that it can be worn on a turtleneck, too.
The "wing" surface is cast from a torch-textured silver piece (in a process called "reticulation"), that emphasizes a rich, furrowed texture that contrasts nicely with the polished silver framework. This textured surface is meticulously hand-finished by a process that involves heating it to red-hot heat and quenching it in acid. This process is repeated over & over, until the silver is a pure crystalline-white color that reflects light in a unique way that can't be achieved any other way.

This piece currently goes for $450 in the silver version shown here, and I also make it as a fancier version (posted here) with Amethyst and Freshwater pearls, as well as Gold versions (gold vermeil or solid 14K). Check out the earrings I designed to go with it (to be posted soon!)
...Just call me personally at the studio to order one:
(505) 296-1400,
or Email me at: David@StewartArt.com - I'll be in touch!

JewelryArt: Raven Ring

Raven Ring-click image to enlarge view
I'd like to get back into the swing of things by posting this job I just finished - hot off the bench! I'll definitely be posting some of my best-sellers soon, but to keep it fresh, I want to put my current projects up, too.

This ring posed a small problem: Ravens are Dark ...Silver is bright. To keep the beak from becoming too glaring, I carved it as a series of polished ridges, keeping the main surface lower so it would hold the chemical oxidation - the dark patina that I usually use to bring out detail. Then I meticulously carved lots of detail into the feathers, so they would hold oxidation, too. When the dark areas contrast with the polished rims of the design, it forms a more dramatic image.

The ring stands up a bit on the hand - it's not a quiet, demure little accessory! It's what I call "bodacious". The eyes are black onyx inlaid into the carved head. Didn't have a model around, but take my word for it - it looks cool on the hand!

Price on this piece is currently $255, and I can make it for you in any size you want.
Just call me personally at the studio - (505) 296-1400 - to place your order, or Email me at: David@StewartArt.com , and I'll be in touch!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Raven's Stone

I designed this piece with outstretched arms, so that the new owner can contribute to the look of the piece by hanging their own necklaces & pendants on them. Ravens & crows, of course, are known for their fascination with bright, shiny things - so I gave this one a large brilliant-cut cubic zirconia stone glittering in his beak.

The piece is constructed of ebonized oak, with carved composite gold-leaf accents. The Raven scene is carved in deep relief in basswood, and painted with acrylic. The base contains a layer of polished black beach pebbles.

Here's a close-up of the face I carved for the sculpture below. I carved it in a smooth-grained wood (basswood), and then painted it with a rusty-red undercoat, followed by a splotchy covering of composite gold leaf. I wanted the red to show through the little gaps in the metallic covering, just as it did on the "spikes" on the lower body. Note that it's not carved fully "in the round", but almost as a bass-relief piece in keeping with the almost monolithic shape I'm so fond of right now. These pieces are almost tablet-like in shape - something I find fascinating.

This piece is still available at $6800 - Email me for details: David@StewartArt.com
or call me direct at: (505) 296-1400

Jewelry Art: Jonah

"Jonah": 14K gold pendant (click to enlarge)

"Jonah", a whimsical pendant in handwrought 14K gold, is inlaid with carved OLD ivory. The stomach is ebony, and Jonah is carved turquoise with an opal face. The whale's spout forms the bail, shown on old ivory beads, but would display well on a strand of pearls, too. The ocean waves are flush-inlaid royal blue Lapis Lazuli.
This one was SOLD some time ago, but I can make you a variation for about $2,800. (Note: Because ivory is restricted nowadays, I would probably use Fossil Walrus ivory instead)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Jewelry Art: Eye of Ra

"Eye of Ra" -(pendant: Click to enlarge)
"Eye of Ra" is another handwrought gold pendant with sugilite inlay, and a triangular amethyst; but this one is accented with 2 diamonds and a freshwater pearl. It hangs from a sugilite necklace with gold bead accents. The really different thing about the inlay on this pendant - though it doesn't really show up well in the photo - is that the sugilite pieces on the bottom are cut in little tablet shapes that overlay one another, almost like scales or shingles in three "courses", or layers. This was a totally original thought, and not one I had seen before. This one is SOLD, but a variation on this theme could be made for you, for about $5,500)

Jewelry Art: Mystic

This is a pin/ pendant I crafted in Sterling silver, with accents in 14K + 24K gold. The body pattern was made by fusing 24K & 14K gold onto a sterling silver sheet, then rolling the assembly in a mill to create a flush, smooth surface, which I then treated with acid to create a rich patina on the metal. The inlay across the bottom of the body is African Sugilite, and the heart is a faceted amethyst, set in a gold bezel. I carved the face out of a piece bamboo coral (so named because of it's shape & color), and the "crystal ball" is actually a rainbow moonstone. It stands about 4" tall. It features an enhancer bail, that allows it to be hung on a variety of necklaces, like pearls, liquid silver, etc. This one is SOLD, but a comparable piece would run about $2,200.

Credenza: Evermore, Nevermore

"Evermore, Nevermore" (credenza) (click image to enlarge)

This piece is a decorative Credenza (sideboard) custom-made for a client in Scottsdale. Titled "Evermore, Nevermore", it is about 5 feet long by 1 foot wide. I used solid oak for the structure of the piece, textured to emphasize the grain, and ebonized black. The panels were carved in deep relief in basswood, and polychromed in acrylic with composite gold-leaf accents.

The knobs were created by first carving the faces in river-rock, and then cutting & fitting turquoise stones, piece by piece, to cover the surface.... the assemblies were then ground, carved & polished as a single large stone, and then mounted in a handmade siver bezel and suspended slightly above the surface of the panel. A turquoise cabochon set in silver accents the center post.
A comparable piece would run in the neighborhood of $20,000.

Sculpture: MUSE

The Muse is the traditional Spirit that inspires Artists, Poets and other creative people. The imagery I've carved in deep relief in the body section is representative of the things that inspire me: Light, space, geometry and organic/ natural shapes, rhythm, high contrasts in color and value, and the creative works of artists through the ages.

In the execution of the carving itself, as well as on the back of the piece, I have carefully preserved the chisel and tool marks, as well as the natural cracks in the wood, to create a rich, rustic flavor, and to remind the viewer that it is only by the labor of the hand that such creative works come into being.
The body of the piece is hand-carved from a solid heavy plank of Poplar, and the carving is polychromed with acrylic artists' colors accented with composite gold-leaf. The arms and legs are carved from warm-toned Oak, while the hair, which ends in a ponytail on the back of the piece, is Ebonized Oak. The face was created by overlaying hand-cut turquoise mosaic, piece-by-piece, over a carved wood base... then the assembly was ground and polished as a single large stone. The sculpture sits atop an 85-pound slab of Arizona Moss-rock. Resting in a depression carved in the Muse's left hand is a polished Brazilian rutilated Quartz crystal ball, symbolizing the "prophetic" nature of the artists' work: the dreams of artists today inevitably become the realities of tomorrow.

The piece stands 67” tall on a stone base that is 23” wide X 21” front-to-back. I envision this work of art as a greeting in a foyer or entryway, or as an accent in a great room to the side of a fireplace (but not too close!). It is for display indoors only, not to be exposed to the elements (as would be the case for any fine painting). The bottom of the stone has heavy felt pads attached, to protect your tile or wood floors.

Documentation sent with the piece is a Certificate of Authenticity, which includes the artist resume, artist statement, and a list of awards. Also included is the Appraisal of Replacement value, certified & signed by the artist. The piece will be crated & shipped in two pieces: the sculpture itself, and the stone base. The Quartz crystal ball will be packaged separately & sent via first-class mail as a third package.

UPDATE: THIS PIECE IS NOW PART OF A PRIVATE COLLECTION. UPON ITS RELEASE, IT WAS PRICED at US $17,500. Given standard appreciation rates, a similar piece could be done for you, and would be approximately US $26,000 today (2008) Email me for details:
Or call me personally at (505) 296-1400

Jewelry Art: Sylvanspell

"Sylvanspell" (click to enlarge)

Possibly the largest necklace I've ever made, titled "Sylvan Spell". This was a combination of one-of-a-kind casting & handwrought components in Sterling Silver & 14K gold, inlaid with a variety of stones. Each leaf is actually 2 stones cut together in aesthetic combinations of color: turquoise & tigereye, faustite & malachite, etc. The large stone at the bottom is a huge green turquoise nugget, overlaid with smaller turqoise stones forming a path leading up to the door, which is made of cocobolo wood set in gold. It opens up to reveal a tiny painting on a miniature linen canvas of the interior - including a little cat sitting on a rocking chair by the wee fireplace (inset). Each sprig of 3 or 4 leaves is a seperate link in the "chain" that supports the tree. Rather than hang such a heavy necklace on a chain, I designed a silver yoke to bear the weight comfortably. This piece SOLD for $13,500, but a similar necklace would be considerably more today.

Objet d'Art: Spirit Egg

"Spirit Egg" (click image below to enlarge)

......was a custom piece done for the famous actor & artist, Anthony Quinn. He collected Eggs, so I designed this one in my own style. I first created a large egg in sterling silver, with a hidden hinge that allowed it open & close with no evidence of the fact on the outside. I then cut individual turquoise pieces to fit together perfectly and covered the entire surface, and then ground & polished the outside smooth. One piece of turquoise was carved in a spirit face and inlaid amongst the other stones. The inside of the egg was encrusted with silver "teardrops", which were polished to contrast with the patinated background, like stars in the night sky. Hidden inside the egg are loose individual carvings of more spirit faces, done in mammoth ivory, stream pebbles, and turquoise. A similar piece today would run about $7500.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jewelry Art: Pharaoh's Phyre

"Pharoah's Phyre"
(click image to enlarge)
This piece is a necklace titled "Pharaoh's Phyre". It's handwrought in 14K gold, and inlaid with purple African sugilite. The pendant is set with an amethyst as the main stone, with a Rhodolite garnet, another small amethyst, and a couple of diamonds accenting the textured goldwork. It hangs on a necklace of hand-ground sugilite beads, accented with gold beads and a single yellow pearl. ( This piece is SOLD, but a similar one could be made for about $6,500 )

Painting: Great Spirit

"Great spirit creating himself and all that is"

This painting is acrylic on canvas, 22 X 28"
SOLD- Sorry, this one found a happy home in Tijeras, NM!
More coming soon!

How to Contact Me....

TELEPHONE.... (505) 296-1400

Snail Mail:
110-C Altez, SE, AlbuQuerQue, NM 87123
(please note: My PO Box was closed!)

Studio Street Address:
110-C Altez, SE, AlbuQuerQue, NM 87123

Email me:
(This is the one I use the most)
(This one is forwarded to the address above)


(This is currently under construction, and will lead you right back to here!)


Ahhhh, the BLOG - part website, part portfolio .... part newsletter, and a WEB LOG about the process of making my art! What a GREAT way for an artist to share with his friends and collectors, something of what makes him tick. This is a DYNAMIC tool, unlike a website that just statically sits there. It's a way for me to maintain a dialog with you, and tell you much more about the things I create and the reasons I create them than would ever be possible on a simple website. That was one of the things I really enjoyed about doing juried Art Fairs all over the country - it gave me the opportunity to meet you face-to-face, and see the effects my work was creating, in person. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy telling you about it and showing it to you. If so, please leave me a comment. Your viewpoints are valuable to me!