New silver finn ring available on Etsy

crafts

Follow this link to my etsy shop for details or contact me via my ‘for sale’ page for enquiries on custom sizes. 
I’m currently working on making my wedding ring which has given me the opportunity to buy some small scale metal casting equipment.   Casting is not something I have ever tried before so lots of practice is required to get it right. To practice I made a ring for Valentine’s day to give to my fiancé.  I already sell plastic Adventure time rings I make using laser cutting but have always wanted to make one from silver. 

It took quite a few attemps to get my first successful casting but once I manage it is was able to replicate the success more consistently with each attempt.  After I had produced a few rings I decided to list them for sale.  I have been asked a few times in the past about making metal rings as wedding or anniversary bands and I am happy that I am now able to offer some for sale. Follow this link to my etsy shop for details or contact me via my ‘for sale’ page for enquiries on custom sizes.  

Chidori Netsuke

netsuke

SONY DSCEarlier this year I started a small netsuke based on the traditional Japanese Chidori motif. Chidori are a small plover bird and simple designs of them can be seen on modern and antique Japanese goods. I had a small piece of baltic amber I wanted to use for a bird related design and decided to make a chidori as a short project. It was also an excuse to have a play and combine different materials I have collected.

The main body is sculpted from baltic amber, the beak and feet are made from red coral, the aye is made from mother of pearl and Whitby jet, and the himotoshi collar is made from red dear antler. The detail on the tail was completed using Japanese urushi.

This netsuke is the smallest i have made to date and only measures 25mm nose to tail and is around 8mm thick. I signed it discreetly on the back as it is too small to take a bold signature.

Reishi netsuke.  

netsuke

Since returning from my travels in Japan in October 2015 my work on netsuke has not been as prolific I would would haveliked. I have yet to produce a new fox priest after the last one escaped and only now do I feel like I am starting to get back into carving after that setback.

This is one of the netsuke which I have made to keep myself busy since last year.

It id a group of reishi fungi depicted in mountain mahogany which was inspired by the many different fungi and I saw in Japan last autumn (there are pictures of them on my instagram).  This has a light staining to finish using yashadama.  Spurs on the underside of the fungi heads have been depicted using ukibori technique.

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Let me tell you about my new boat…

model making
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The Belafonte from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

So.  I have been promising a new Belafonte model for some time now since my first attempt 4 or 5 years ago.  My love of the movie The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou has not abated during this time and I had always planned on making another Belafonte.  I had always thought I would make a bigger model but the opportunity arrived as a commission for a small (very small) 1:220 waterline model.

At this scale the whole model is around 22cm long (just over 10 inch) so doing any fine detail is a challenge but i was excited to give it a go.  I made the base and blocks for the upper deck from solid boxwood.  The detailed decking and windows ect. were laser cut from 0.4mm plywood.  The rails are all brass etchings and I used brass rod for the cranes, flag poles and antennae array.  I used plasic rod for various other bits-and-bobs.

The water slide decals were expertly and professionally made by Robert at Wessex Transfers in Australia.  They were made quickly and very reasonably priced and arrived from half way around the world in a very short time.  I really can’t recommend him enough, they were done to my exact specifications.

Painting was a nightmare and isn’t my strong point but it came out looking pretty good.

Anyway enjoy some progress photos and then finished photos.  There are more on my instagram.

And finished shots….

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The Belafonte from above

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The Belafonte, The Bridge

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Deep Search and the Chopper. Tiny decal on Deep Search just visable

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The Belafonte the rear, and another tiny Decal

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The  Belafonte. Professional decals really make a difference

Last of all I happy to announce I am making a second 1:220 scale model Belafonte which will have a full Hull.  I will be advertising it for sale on this blog when finished.  Keep an eye out for it.

Smokey Fox

netsuke

I just completed my fifth netsuke, this time representing a fox which hopefully appears calm and tranquil.  It is made from the root section of an old scrap of walrus tooth so the shape, and to some extent to composition of the netsuke was dictated by the material.  20150725_162525This netsuke also gave me the opportunity to experiment with ibushi or fumigation staining using incense smoke to enhance the materials depth and finish (though eradicating the smoky odour after is proving difficult).  Overall this has been a project I quite enjoyed working on and I will definitely be returning the fox as subject matter in future netsuke.

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Carving: bits and bobs

crafts

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Although I mainly concentrate my carving efforts on the Japanese art of netsuke practice and doodle with scraps of material all the time to improve my skills.  Occasionally this leads to a commission of small items which spark my imagination.

My two most recent commissions comprise of a fox eared ring made of box wood and two troll beads to fit on a Pandora necklace.

Here are some photos of the pieces.  The ring was the most enjoyable to make.  The beads were quite stressful without the aid of a lathe.10835441_10153203526981070_9130146975899042148_o 11083781_10153203526976070_7838797487906785420_o 11083815_10153203527051070_1484919753308701539_o 11121517_10153203527181070_7633907743962156298_o

New Netsuke completed, Usugi moon

netsuke

It has been a long time in the making but I feel I am at a point where I can call this piece finished.  A 37mm by 37mm manjū style netsuke made from polished ebony with mother of pearl, abalone, horn, hippo tooth and gold inlay. It represents a dashing hare at night under a clouded moon.  On the back can be seen a cut piece of equisetum arvense (horsetail).

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When I started this I had a vague idea that a hare and moon were a rather Japanese looking subject matter but it all became a bit more than that.  The further along the netsuke got, the more I discovered and the more I added to the design.  At first it was just going to have a plain back but I found out from volume one of the Trumpf collection that Hares represent the 2nd month and the hours between 5am and 7am.  A happy coincident for my black netsuke but then further reading revealed that in Japanese legend the hare is responsible for keeping the moon clean and shining.  A second coincident! I’m on a roll.  Not only is my hare running around in the dark at 6am in February but it’s running to clean the moon which is being covered by clouds.  The third element helps to tie it all together.  The hare cleans the moon with horsetail (equisetum arvense) Which is apparently used as a metal polish because it contains silicic acid.  This gave me the concept for the design on the back. So after a lot more work then I originally envisioned, and after cutting and re-cutting each piece inlay 3 times each It is done.

It is by no means perfect.  The inlay on the moon is rather ill fitting.  Following the original one breaking when it was set in place I had to re cut and each time more wood material was taken out.  I didn’t want to attempt to get the inlay any tighter in fear of it getting slightly worse each time.  For my first real go at inlay though I’m happy with the results and see this as a good foundation on which to build.  It has also bee a learning curve in relation to polish and finishing which has taken many hours.

I have a few ideas for my next piece already and I may get around to taking some better pictures of this one.

Christmas Toto-nut

crafts

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Now I have a walnut. Ho – Ho – Ho

Getting into the festive spirit I though it would be nice to share a few pictures of a bauble I carved this year. It started life as a walnut netsuke based on studio Ghibli’s classic character Totoro but I abandoned it after I noticed a hairline crack.

After erecting our Christmas tree the inspiration hit me to salvage the failed netsuke as it would look rather festive on the tree.  After drilling a few extra holes and threading some ribbon through them my Toto-nut bauble is complete and looks rather grand on my tree.

I think I may make some more festive nut baubles for next year.

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