Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Step by step: Custom Pendant Video

My previous blog post outlined the basics of our custom design process.  This time I have documented a majority of the steps involved in creating a custom piece from the initial design phase through to the finished piece.  


Early this summer I was commissioned to design a significant pendant using our client's fantasy-cut amethyst by gem cutter Barry Bridgestock.  What makes a significant piece?  Well besides the scale of the pendant, I incorporated a number of more involved construction techniques.  The pendant incorporates not only 22kt gold granules but platinum granules into the design.  The body of the pendant is comprised of several separate elements and I have accent stones set into some of the granules as well.  


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Evolution of a Custom Design

Do you ever look in your jewelry box and think "I really love that stone, but the setting is so <fill in decade or name of person the piece was inherited from here> !"  In other words, do you hold on to a particular piece of jewelry for a variety of reasons, but it languishes unworn in a dark drawer because it isn't really you?  


One of the most common requests we get here at Zaffiro is to re-imagine and re-invent Great Aunt Millie's brooch to fit with your personal style today.  How does it work?  What is the process?  It all starts with a brainstorming meeting.  


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In Memoriam: John Paul Miller 1918-2013


I was profoundly saddened to read yesterday morning that one of the revered masters of goldsmithing and my personal hero, John Paul Miller died over the weekend.  He was single-handedly responsible for revitalizing the ancient art of granulation in the 20th Century.  Not only has he left behind an astounding body of work, he passed on his knowledge by teaching for over 40 years at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  His contributions and innovations to this lost (at the time) art form are incalculable to the generations of goldsmiths that have come after him.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zaffiro is a finalist for the 2013 Saul Bell award

 The caller i.d. read Rio Grande when the phone rang last Thursday and I immediately felt a little flutter of anticipation.  I didn't have anything on order with the company, but I knew that it was about time for the finalists for the 2013 Saul Bell award to be announced.  I hadn't created anything in the past couple of years that I felt was worthy of submission until this summer when I had the opportunity to design my most complex piece to date.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Fern Curl as Inspiration & Ingredient

  The elegant fern curl - every spring here in my garden the graceful unfurling of the new ferns begin.  They start as a tight spiral close to the ground and slowly uncurl before spreading into a leafy frond.  I only have a small collection (so far) as my shade garden is limited: I have two varieties of Japanese painted fern, a maidenhair fern and a hardy common variety that you see everywhere here along shady roadsides.  


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zaffiro takes the torch outside

Contrary to what you might think, Jack and I do not spend all our creative time huddled over jewelry projects, myopically focused on items that measure less than 10 millimeters in length. Occasionally we gotta work big.  Really big.  And that means taking the torch outside.


This project was one of the final extensions of a copper trellis system that we began back in 2004.  The first part was a horizontal support system underneath the eaves that ran across the entire south and east sides of the porch and two decorative vertical sculptural trellises on two of the pillars for a wistaria vine.  As the wistaria grew (and grew and grew and grew) we realized we needed to extend the supports around to the west side of the house where we could then add a climbing rose bush trellis designed to fit into the space between the eaves and the top of porch railing.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Metalsmith's 2012 Exhibition in Print

We've been invited to show in this year's Exhibition in Print, Metalsmith magazine's annual issue that features the work of both national and international artists in a special format, different from the publication's regular columns and articles.  We've never submitted anything for consideration before (mostly because the EIP is known for selecting very high concept pieces, which is not our domain), but when I saw that this year's theme is "Gothic" and read the prospectus, it resonated with me:


"Gothic" is an epithet with a strange history -- evoking images of death, destruction and decay. From its origins in the 18th-century literature of terror to its contemporary manifestations in art, cinema and design, the gothic is associated with the powers of horror and the erotic macabre.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jurying: Judging my fellow artists- a view from the other side

This spring I had the opportunity to be a judge for an upcoming fine art and craft show.  For those of you who don't know about the craft show process, let me explain a few things first.


Approximately six to eight months prior to a show, an application period opens.  There is a prospectus usually containing information about the show and the application process (this is all done online of course).  Usually, a show requires four to five images, a booth image and an artist statement all for a small fee.  Sounds simple, huh?  Welcome to the byzantine and mysterious world of juried craft shows...


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Preview the new Showcase 500 Rings book

The first book in Lark's redesigned 500 series, Showcase 500 Rings by Marthe Le Van, curated by Bruce Metcalf, releases officially in May, and Amazon has posted an extensive 'Look Inside' preview.  


Zaffiro is pleased to be included in this comprehensive look at the ring- everything from high concept pieces to our interpretation of a very ancient form of the craft.  Amazon's 'Look Inside' covers approximately the first quarter of the book. We're included much later on (page 332, to be exact), but you can certainly get a feel for the wide range of works presented.