Archive for May, 2011

General Update

This will weekend will see another wax workshop happen at the home studio. For the next two Saturday’s participants will be creating wax models of rings and learning how to set stones into them. It should be a fairly exciting project for them all.

We will only be putting in about 3 stones each so the time will be just enough!

The students at the BIA are all about to start their own projects and finish up on the pieces that I have been getting them to make for learning the techniques. There should be a goo array of work on offer in the Semester Exhibition.

A steady flow of small commissions are coming into the studio which is nice. Nothing too taxing.

The jewellery events has a slower start than I would have liked but the ironic side of that is that is probably best that it is this way as there is so much teaching happening at the moment.

My proposal for the First Instyle trade fair in Melbourne has been accepted and I will be going to Melbourne to present new products to retailers in August.

My Finder’s Keeper’s application did not make it, but that then allows me more preparation time for Melbourne – and more product!

New stock is underway for the retailers with stock coming back from Retrospect Galleries to be cleaned and re-jigged. They will be getting some of the new stock also to keep the DAN COX JEWELLERY image fresh in Byron Bay.

One thing I am looking forward to is going to Victoria with my sister for her research into rabbits. A week in the country shooting rabbits! There will be hiking and goods times to be had. I will then spend a bit of time with her in Orange and get to see Smudge – the cat. Apparently she has had a personality bi-pass and is now a friendly cat! Only video image will tell!

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One hell of a THANK YOU!!!

I just logged onto my email where there was a note to say that I had a comment to approve.

I then logged into wordpress and found one of the best compliments I think I have ever received – it sent shivers down my back!

Hi Dan, I just want to thank you for the awesome job you did on the beautiful gold and star sapphire ring you made for my birthday present from Janka. I smiled quietly to myself as you described the challenges of working with the old gold. As a blacksmith for over thirty years, I have been faced with these technical dilemmas many times and understand that there’s a certain alchemy in being a fine craftsman and metalsmith. Having made Damascus steel and Mokume Gane, myself, I have been deeply immersed in this process of “loving” things into “harmony”. I salute your skill, dedicated heart and “eye for truth”. Many thanks for this ring that sits as part of my finger and feels as if it has always been there. This is the most beautiful and comfortable ring I have ever owned and I will cherish it, thanks to you and Janka. I have also enjoyed viewing your other works that all reflect the same love and commitment. Great website too. Well done. Highest regards, Steve Weis.

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Acrylic and Silver Workshop

On Saturday and Sunday I offered up an acrylic and silver workshop at the Brisbane Institute of Art.

Anyone who may or may not have experience in silversmithing techniques could have done the course, but I was lucky to have a group of people who all had experience to a certain point, 3 of which were current students in both Introductory and Advanced.

These are the results of the workshop:

This is the piece that I made as a demonstration for the students. I decided to make small silver cups that would give the look of a “pop-rivet’ – although this is not what we were doing by any means.

This is Deborah’s piece. Every time I have run this course, each person comes up with a completely different way to expose the acrylic. Combining two different shapes that join to become one shank was explored in depth by Deborah and Melanie in this workshop.

Melanie works with a lot of resin currently and sets Japanese kimono fabrics in resin to create her jewellery. She also lived in Japan for a period and travels to Japan regularly. An influence which certainly demonstrated itself in this piece.

Sylvia has come to us from Peru. She was doing silversmithing in Peru approximately 3 years ago and has an extensive back ground in creating traditional pieces. This was a challenge for her as she had not picked up a tool in 3 years and has never really done contemporary pieces before. Acrylic was a whole new material! Once she got going though there was no stopping her and although she did not finish them, she started making a pair of matching earrings to this beautiful ring.

Kelly just started an Introductory 8 week course with me on a Thursday night and signed up to do the Acrylic and Silver course also. Advantageous as she now knows how to do rivets and should fly through this weeks lesson!

Sabine is one of my Advanced students who has been waiting to do this course for the last year! She missed out last time due to prior commitments, so when the opportunity came up to do this course she jumped at it although she had to check that it would be ok to miss part of Mother’s Day.

All in all, there were some fantastic results by the end of the workshop and a few surprised participants. There were times, as there always are moments where the pieces you are working on look like they will never turn out, but by the end everyone had a finished piece that they could show off to their friends and family. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment!

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Henke Commission

Recently I was approached by a good family friend, Janka Henke who owns the German Australian Travel Agency in the city, to create a ring for her man.

He used to have a ring that he wore all the time but it is no longer in his possession. She wanted me to create something that would be made up of all the elements of her existing rings which she wanted melted down and used in this piece. Janka also had the stone that she thought would be best to use. A lovely Blue Star Sapphire.

Ironically, I was hoping that the stone would be a cabochon of some description and already had a sense of what I would be doing just in having a conversation with her.

When we met and she mentioned that she was wanting something that would be strong, yet comfortable to wear, I mentioned my ideas to her and we were pleasantly surprised that we were already on the same wave length!

I informed Janka that I would do a drawing of what I was thinking and I will send it through.

Janka – Drawings

Set with the approval of the drawings and the material to get underway, I set off into my journey of creating a masterpiece!

I cut up the rings into pieces and removed any of the stones that were in them in preparation for melting them into an ingot.

One of the problems I encountered with the creating of this piece is that the materials that Janka gave me were of european origin. This mean that I did not know what they were exactly. They had 333 on them?? I think that this lead to a few problems when it came to forming the metal in the form of cracking and splitting. A problem that frustrated me and meant that the little bit of fresh metal that was added would hopefully ease my pain.

I tried this and it worked to a certain extent. It did mean that I had to continually heat the metal to ensure that it was always malleable and minimised the cracking as much as I possibly could. When a crack would appear I fused that metal together again to maximise the strength in the piece.

Once the band was put in it’s place with a little bit of hammering and sometimes the occasional profanity, I managed to get the bezel on and started the clean up process. This allowed me to make sure that the cracks had disappeared and ensure that the ring would be comfortable and smooth.

The final step of course was putting in the stone and ensuring that the band was nice and shiny.

The final result was a success. Janka handed the ring over on the 30th of April as a birthday present. There was only a slight size adjustment required to the band but all in all the ring was a success:

Thank you for the beautiful ring, Steve loves him.

Whilst this was all happening, Janka’s Friend Bergita contacted me to find out if I had one of the Frangipani rings available for Janka:

“I am one of Janka’s friends and she showed me today on the train the design for Steve’s ring as well as the ring you made for your partner. I love both of them, but especially the one you made for your partner is stunning. We went onto your website and Janka really loved the silver ring with Frangipanis. I would love to buy this ring for her as a special thank you for all she is doing for me and a sign of my love for her.”

I dropped the Frangipani ring off to Janka the same day I did the delivery of Steve’s ring.

Janka then asked if I could do a Frangipani ring for Bergita and make it slightly larger. This I then dropped off to Janka to hand to Bergita when I had adjusted Steve’s ring.

A busy time but it was all worth it! Everyone is happy with their presents and the word is spreading.

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