December 30, 2008

So this is the New Year...

So my first Christmas season has come and gone. Well my first season selling online at least. I was thrilled with all the attention my work received during that one quick month. With a boatload of sales and a full time job, I really saw where I needed to improve my work method.

Shipping was the first big one, it takes me far too long to package things, sometimes longer than it takes to build them! I will be switching to domestic priority shipping, and first class international shortly after the new year, this will save on materials and time. On top of that it'll be very easy to know when a package will get somewhere.

Having 3-8 orders to build and ship at a given time also helped me realize how inefficient my system was. I'll go into detail at a later date about this, because I think I've learned some critical lessons that will likely help others. I'll try and put together some tutorials this year on productivity.

Expect to see a whole bunch of new designs and pieces flooding through my shop in the next few months. Thursdays will be the official new release days, but not starting this week though. I'll have all new packaging and cards as well!

December 11, 2008

New Release Thursday

New Release Thursday is a new Etsymetal series, where everyone puts out their new work on Thursdays. It's meant to be a Group effort to get everyone noticed together, the real success of it will be in the consistency of doing it every week. Check out the Etsymetal blog for more details.

In other news I received a ton of new tools today and some much needed tools to finish some pending orders. If you're reading this and you have an order that hasn't shipped yet, know that it will be on it's way very soon!

Below is my new piece for today.

December 2, 2008


So I chose to go with different photos after all, you can see them in my shop as of now. The clean white background seems to do everything more justice. On top of that it's easier to get them all to look the same.

Lot's of people are having ultra-mega sales right now, online and in stores, although I don't have sales myself, I am upgrading all my domestic shipping to priority for the holidays for free, just so people can have a better piece of mind. Around this time of year 1st class mail is more like 3rd class mail, and might make it to where it needs to be by next Christmas!

November 17, 2008


I'm still working on a good format to change my pictures too. I've yet to find anything I'm totally satisfied with, but so far these are the closest.

November 16, 2008

Books galore!

I've been a trying to get all the dragonfly books finished in one batch, they have proven to be more time consuming then I had anticipated, but it feels good getting them finished up finally. I had been just making them a few at a time, but as time goes on I'm learning the value of consolidating time and getting things done in large batches.

October 31, 2008

Innovation, Part 1

I'm a huge fan of innovation in any form, and always appreciate people who rethink their medium in a whole new way. This is never any easy thing to do, and many good intentions fall short of their expectations, but that's the nature of trying to reinvent the wheel. Although every now and then some people cut through the odds and end up on the other side with something exceptional. One individual I stumbled upon is luthier Rick Toone.

I've been a guitarist for a long time and have a pretty big obsession with the instrument itself. Having probably searched the internet for every guitar image one could imagine, Rick's strike me as completely unique, I definitely recommend taking a look at his work. These are a few of his own photos from his website.

October 28, 2008

Drawings and Sketches

Here are some pages of designs I'm working out. I usually like to have a solid visual of some variety before i start working in metal or wax. This will give anyone curious a little taste of designs to come.

October 17, 2008


I'm in the process of building a real website... among building real physical things as well. Honestly I have no idea how to build a website, but I'll download some programs and buy some programs and swear a the computer until I figure it all out. If you haven't been yet, go to the Art Jewelry Magazine website and check out some full shots of the dragonfly in motion.

October 6, 2008

Dolichovespula arenaria

Dolichovespula arenaria, aka what has invaded my shop area, aka giant yellow jackets, aka LOTS of giant yellow jackets, aka the reason I haven't gotten anything done this week...

So we have a massive nest of them that has worked it's way into the basement, and until today I couldn't get into my shop to work cause there were just soooo many of them. The good news is they are finally gone, the bad news is I swear I hear them anywhere and everywhere I go. they have destroyed my sanity!!

In all truth though the are pretty docile, I can practically pick them up in my hand (I prefer not too though and use a container instead.) We did get stung though trying to take care of them on our own. But thanks to some professional help I can get back into my shop and crank out some new waxes.

October 3, 2008

Saving the planet, one piece of jewelry at a time.

It's been about 9 months since I put up my first piece of jewelry of Etsy, and I'm thrilled to say that I've raised $52 so far to donate to Earthworks. The way I have planned to donate is on a yearly basis, as it doesn't make too much sense to do it $1 at a time. In the grand scale of things $52 may not seem like a lot, but every little bit helps and it's a step in the right direction. If every jewelry artist gave to the cause just that little bit, it would make a huge impact on the lives of the families that supply the raw materials we depend on.

September 24, 2008

Custom Road Ring

I just finished the custom road ring I had posted last week, and I must say, it looks much cooler in silver then in wax! It's one beast of a ring too, size 12 and 2/3 of an oz of silver, it was way too big for even my thumb! Here is the map it is stylized after, along with the finished ring.

I made a brick gold and silver ring a few years ago that I really liked, which reminded me of this road ring project. I'm thinking of continuing this theme into my next batch of designs. This way I'll have all the nature/bug/plant pieces and then a urban/industrial look as well, which fits with my overall goal of mixing machinery and nature.

September 16, 2008

Tools at last!

Well the tools are here and the very first thing I made with them was a Kitty Fortress! (with a little help from Kaitlin!) The pictures pretty much explain themselves.


Well they were supposed to be here Saturday, but I'm actually home today working on things so I'll forgive FedEx.  But I'll have a pretty solid little machine shop to set up...and shelves; I need more shelving big-time.  It usually takes time and experience with it to really understand how your space functions.  Here are some tool pictures and, yes, the handpiece is sold separately...

September 14, 2008


Just a couple of projects in the works. The first is a batch of jewelry straight out of the oven! The type of silver I use can be heat treated to make it stronger. I like to make batches and cook them altogether, it saves the amount of times I have to heat up and turn on the oven. It usually takes 485 degrees for about 1:45 hours.

This next project is a custom men's ring, using a road map image. I'm very excited to see how it comes out, the wax images never do it justice, but this is for people who enjoy seeing how things start off. I'll make sure to put up images of all the finishing stages.

And speaking of finishing things and waxes, I just ordered a ton of new tools! I'm super excited as I have had to use other peoples shops lately to do certain tasks. There is something to be said for having your own creative workspace. Pictures will most definitely follow, they were suppose to be here yesterday, but as long as they get here I'm thrilled!

August 14, 2008

Office Space

Most of this month has consisted of renovating a few room in our house. We're redoing a room that use to be a little den and making it into Kaitlin's office/library area. This space was previously used as my office and place to draw and package shipment. The downfall was it's on the 2nd floor and my shop is in the basement... This translated into a lot of running up and down the stairs. So now I have a office/music room that's right next door to my shop, and I'm already feeling the benefits of not having to run to every corner of the house. Everything in the name of productivity!

It's a very yellow space, but your eyes adjust to it quickly. We were going to repaint it, but it's more work then we have time for right now. A lot of music equipment doubles as photography stands and furniture as well.

See if you can find the dragonfly in the pictures!

August 1, 2008

It's a new month, and time to start fresh again.  So I have some exciting things coming up, a new wholesale order headed to Alaska soon and keep an eye out this month for a feature of the dragonfly in Craft magazine.  On top of that I have been working on new designs again, the process from drawing to wax to metal can be slow sometimes, but I'm aiming to have another collection of pieces finished in the coming months.

July 26, 2008


So I kinda let this blog slip a little since I returned from vacation... but I will in fact have some news and things to post in the next few days, so check back for sure.  For now I'm off to work!

July 14, 2008

Home Again

Well we've made it back from our much need vacation to Prince Edward Island.  It was truly a fantastic trip, and we had perhaps the best weather we could have asked for.  15 hours car rides are pretty painful though, that's the farthest I've ever driven in one shot.  So now it's back to pumping tons of energy in to my work and my online shop!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our trip.

June 26, 2008


On a side note today, I know a lot of jewelers, and ones who have been at it for many years, who don't wear face masks.  I find that if I don't use one, even for simple sanding and filing tasks, I can feel the little particles getting into my lungs.  So I highly recommend to use a face mask if you are making anything that requires filing or sanding.  Any simple one from the hardware store will help, as long as it's rated for sanding.  

June 23, 2008


Right now I'm working on making a large batch of wings. I'm finding it best to do these sorts of projects in batches, it saves a lot of time down the road. plus they all need to be heat treated before they are finished so doing them all at once cuts down the amount of times I have to heat the oven. Here's a picture of all the wings ready to be made into jewelry (no dragonflies were harmed in making all these wings!).

June 19, 2008

Etsy Metal

Buy Handmade

I'm very excited to say that I have been accepted into the Etsymetal, a juried guild of Etsy metalsmiths. The links above are just a handful of the amazing artist that are part of it. All of the members are very talented and some are huge sellers on Etsy, it's nice to know that we are all together in this revolutionary new way to sell jewelry directly to the person who will be wearing it.

Go to the website and take time to checkout all the cool metalwork on Etsy.

June 15, 2008

New photos

My latest project has been redoing all my photos, it's been a challenge to get them to a state I'm happy with. There are some sellers on Etsy, particularly jewelry sellers, whose shops I really admire. They are very inspiring, but at the same time heavily copied, and the last thing I want to do is mimic someone else's shop.

So my challenge is to create a unique but not overly complicated photo setup for my designs... and to figure out why the white balance is so far off on my camera as well!

Today I took a couple of paper sample booklets that were going to be thrown out at work and made them into little cards to include with my packages. I was able to make about 4 dozen out of the cover pages alone! These were paper samples for recycled stationary and card stock, it seemed like such a waste to throw these out.

June 10, 2008

Custom Ring, Finished

So I have a few steps missing from this tutorial. The nature of hopping between two shops and doing small bits at a time did not translate well for photographs to use here. But the great news is the are finished and look stunning! I had to practically pry them away from a few people though and send them to their rightful owner, hehe.

To blacken the silver I use liver of sulphur, available at most tool suppliers, including and First I mix the dry chunks, just a few, in very very hot water, and then submerge to piece until it coats in an even black. This will not color the 14k for the most part, but will oxidize all the mokume. Once the piece dries, I sand down the mokume again to remove all the black. The next step is to lightly rub some Baldwin's Patina with a Q-tip over the mokume sections. This patina is formulated based on ancient Japanese Rokusho patinas. The fantastic part about this patina is it will darken the shakudo in the mokume but not the silver, creating a deep coppery contrast.

Enough with the technical babble! Here are the rings!

June 6, 2008

Outside Adventure

So these are a few pictures from a little hike we took about a week ago. We live close to Lake Champlain and in a nearby town there is an old old railroad causeway that has been turned into a bike path. It's about 3.5 miles long and use to connect to some of the island in the lake, but now there is a small bike ferry that takes you across where the rotating bridge use to be. Here's more info for you. we managed to go on an amazingly beautiful week day, it was gorgeous and we had the place to ourselves!

June 2, 2008

Custom Ring, part 8

There weren't too many process shots this time around as I was very focused on soldering the pieces and forgot to grab the camera! But I have a great shot of both the pieces constructed and ready to have the stones set. Soldering the top parts on was pretty tricky business but everything worked out perfect in the end.

Once the stones are set I will move on to the final polish and sanding to give each of them their finished shape. The very last step will be coloring the silver and the mokume--I can't wait!

Wings and Things!!

The Dragonfly wing as finally here and ready! I made some funky little pieces from mokume as well, this material is pretty cool stuff!