Superior Hiking Trail in ring form, part of my routes and rivers series.
Another ring design from my routes and rivers series of the Colorado River.
A custom pendant of Great Lake Michigan.
A copper anniversary treat! This custom order is simple yet beautiful with hand tapered ear wires and a hammered finish.
A routes and rivers original of the Appalachian Trail, an extensive thru-hike in the eastern USA.
The Charcoal Black finish
A pendant of Magnetic Lake from the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota.
This little pendant was a custom anniversary gift. The silhouette is based on the hills around Bisbee, AZ and their wedding date is along the bottom edge in roman numerals. It was a great little token and a really fun project!
Clam Lake pendant from Siren, Wisconsin.
I made this pendant for one of my oldest friends. She has a cabin on this lake where we spent many summer weekends as we were growing up. We still make an effort to get out there at least once a year with a cluster of close friends.
While the cabin has always been a great little oasis for us, out in the near wilderness (as close as it can be to wilderness in Wisconsin), it has also been a place where her family has spent countless hours. Cabins are a special place for us here in the Midwest; they allow us to get out of the city for a while and breathe the fresh air.
If you have a cabin that you love visiting every summer, or have fond childhood memories of, get in touch with me. Making pieces of your fond memories is what I do.
This is a pendant of White Bear Lake, a well known spot in the Twin Cities metro area. It is one of the larger lakes near the cities, a great spot for all kinds of recreation. White Bear Lake and the city of White Bear also have a very long history, both for Americans that settled in the area, and for the Dakota and Ojibwe that used to inhabit the region. The legend of White Bear Lake tells the story of two lovers, one Chippewa, the other Sioux. The Chippewa Brave saved the Sioux woman he loved from a white bear on Manitou island where they usually met, but was himself killed by the bear. According to “Indian Legends of Minnesota” by Mrs. Carl T. Thayer, as the Sioux people came to his rescue “they saw the brave sink his knife into the bear. But too late, they both fell to the ground dead. Slowly, as they watched, the spirits of the brave and the bear rose from their prone bodies. It is said that even today, as night falls, the spirits of the bear and the brave wander the Island eternally in search of each other.”
The contours of this lake are so appealing to me on many levels, I’m so happy with how it turned out and hope that it helps to embody all the history and beauty surrounding this unique lake.
If you’ve never seen mokume gane before it might look like magic to you. It sort of is magic. I love the wood grain look of mokume and making it is one of my greatest creative joys. It is a very old technique that originated in Japan, alongside some of their intense sword making techniques. Have you ever heard of damascus, or pattern welded steel? Damascus and mokume are very similar in some ways, the distinction is that mokume gane is made with non ferrous, and sometimes precious, metals while damascus is made with ferrous metals (metal containing iron).
The technique I use to create Mokume starts with many sheets of at least two different metals. The idea is to create a loose or tight pattern based on the number of layers and how far they are compressed. The sheets (in this case silver and white gold) are stacked together and fused with a torch in a forge/ kiln sort of thing. The process can be very simple but also very very picky. One small bit of dirt left on even one sheet can cause catastrophic cracking later on. Also if you get it slightly too hot the whole pile can melt, forcing you to start over with new metal. A good bond is the goal here so the metals can be seamlessly formed into a final product.
When the metal has fused and is forged out some, the bonds have become stronger and the piece can be patterned. The words mokume gane refer to the wood grain like pattern that emerges from the bonded metals when some of the material is removed. Once carved the lower layers become visible and are pushed up to the surface during the forging to create a flush, detailed pattern.
At this stage I love its resemblance to some ancient artifact of a lost culture. This blackened little slab will now be turned into a pair of wedding bands carved from the same source, a wonderful little metaphor for a marriage itself.