Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Non Jewellery Work of 2012.

OK, so I originally started this blog some 560 posts ago as a diary for myself,  so bear with me , I need this stuff posted so when I get older, I can sit in my rocking chair and refresh my dementia.

Dragon Crossbow Finished (3)

The Dragon bow was the largest project I did in 2012.

Dragon Crossbow Finished (6)

It was all very labor intensive.

Dragon Crossbow Finished (11)

Definitely suffered from project fatigue but eventually it was done.

I like my projects to be in the 300 hour range, so when this one was creeping over 500 hours, I started taking a bit of vasbyt strain indeed.

Shooting Range 1 (2)

Shooting a bolt. The smoke is actually a bit of baby powder I added just for effect.

Shooting Range 1 (1)

The shooting range.

Needless to say, my other half was not impressed with all the arrows flying around the workshop.


Smacking the bottle kaput.  Everybody who sees this art piece is fascinated by the visual of the spikes and wings and ferocious look the Dragon has.

Then, as soon as they understand the nasty and mean part of the crossbow, there is an instant disconnect.

I think it is because this piece of art can actually seriously hurt you and most pieces of art aren’t actually made to harm people.

Mission accomplished.


The Crossbow Cannon.

Anne took these pictures and you can see they better than mine.


I set many stones in this on. Garnets, diamonds, peridots, amethysts, the whole menagerie.

Here it is loaded with a bolt and four bolts in the quivers below.


It has a loading mechanism, because it is too strong to load by hand.

There is no disconnect with this piece.

I think that is because it looks like what it is, unlike the Dragon Bow, which has hidden nastiness.


This year was also the year of making steam machines.

This somewhat crude one was soldered onto a Euro coin.


One that was finished off better.

Typical jeweller, I started to make them smaller and smaller.


Until this one, the smallest I actually got running.

Made out of 6mm round brass rod.


Then I made a larger one and here is a picture of it running and powering a LED from a little generator I also built.


All the brass ones were built to get the feel of steam engines.

Once I had that skill, I built a few out of glass.

Those were made to see if it was actually possible to build a non metallic steam engine.

Then the real difficult work started.

Making one out of stone alone.


And it worked, much to my surprise.

Made of nephrite jade, lapis lazuli, chrysoprase, onyx, smoky quartz, rock crystal, red jasper, and zugalite.

The only metal is the base and the inlet and outlet pipes.


Dragons Breath.

My most symbolical piece and also by far the most difficult piece of the year.

And typically, no one actually gives it a second glance in my display case.—sigh.

Most components were made 3 or 4 times over, before they succeeded and the crankshaft I did 6 times before it worked. Problem with stone is you got no second chance if things go wrong.



Anyway, I used a bucket load of techniques, from gem/cutting/carving to reposse to fabricating to lamination. Pretty much my entire skill set excluding wax carving and casting and drinking beer.

Oh, forget the last one..

It is also my most favorite piece of the year.

Year of the Dragon and all that.


The faceted Cubic Zirconia Steam machine.

My second most favorite piece.


The metals are silver and gold, and she runs like the clappers.


What I like the most of this piece is the millions of sparkles under strong light.


And the tiny size.


This year was probably the toughest we had ever. We were ready to go belly up come end of October, and close the shop and go back to NL.

And then as a last attempt, we just went to any jewellery shop to beg  ask for work and we got lucky.

Now we have three shops in our basket that we do work for.

Then better private work came in and some locals started actually coming in and give us jobs to do.

So I am seriously chuffed.

We not out the shit, bucks wise, but at least we have the rent for a few months and from the nightmare beginning of this year to now, there has been a vast improvement.

We also radically increased our skill levels in the various disciplines we have, which is also a good thing.

Next  post is about the 2012 jewellery.

I think we moved forward strongly this year and I am happy how the year ended.

But it was close dude, it was frikkin’ close.

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