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: - 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: , 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:
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!