Platinum ring with rough diamond macle and love-knot shank. This project represents a solid “voice”. You can see this and many other custom projects on my portfolio page.
Many, if not most artists are encouraged to “find their voice” early in their career, especially if they begin their career in an academic venue. Finding a voice in that context usually means discovering, or adopting a recognizable style and then working exclusively within that style. This, they are told, is the road to commercial success.
A rare few manage to establish themselves to the point that they can then stretch that style, or even successfully adopt another style and not lose their following or their “voice”. Picasso is a classic example of an artist that was able to transition through several styles or “periods” from his very early academic realism to what may have become his most commonly recognized style, cubism.
Specializing in custom design jewelry has presented an interesting challenge with regard to finding a voice. As a custom designer my “style” has always been necessarily eclectic. One client wants something floral and busy, another wants something clean, simple and bold. Yet another wants a “futuristic” design while the next one desires something that looks antique. Finding a voice within the cacophony of client desires can be challenging indeed! And yet, I felt I had achieved a voice of sorts many years ago when clients began telling me that they could recognize one of my rings when they saw it. I like to think that within many “styles” I had achieved an elegance of execution that made my work distinctive. The feedback and success with which I was rewarded seemed to confirm that premise.
Enter CAD… (Computer Aided Design)
I had been fascinated by the prospect of computer design for a number of years before I actually embraced it. Finding a voice, a new voice perhaps, with a whole new approach to the design process was intimidating in many of the same ways that learning a new language can be. It is difficult for someone that is very fluid in their native language to accept the fact that for some time during the process of adapting a new language that they will communicate like a 3 yr. old…at best! And I took a road that was, in its implementation, perhaps more difficult. There are many jewelry-specific design applications that make the design process easier but may ultimately make it harder to find a voice in that they compel one to use the same pre-forms in creating a design, the same algorithms that everyone else using that application is using. For the same reason that I refused to look in jewelry store windows when I began my design career, I chose a bare-bones design application, Rhinoceros, which allowed me to find my way without necessarily walking down a well-worn jewelry path!
I was lucky in that once I embrace the CAD process, I was able to integrate it into my design schedule a little at a time, using it first to make the simplest objects, ones that did not necessarily require much of a “voice”. A simple band, for example, with a phrase.
A signet ring, with an established design on one surface…
As time has progressed, with many more hours invested into the CAD experience I am extremely delighted to find that I am finding my voice within this new language of CAD!
I dreamed this design recently and executed the design immediately after waking. It is now available on my site and is called the “Inter-dimensional Portal Key”
There may be more than one might expect in design generation of even the most simple of designs. This ring design project for my local clients Sam and Maureen starts in the CAD application “Rhinoceros” with what are called “formers” comprised of mostly open and closed curves around which the ring will be formed. This first process image depicts the most basic initial former, a circle that is the diameter of a specific ring size. In this case, a size 5~US. Also visible are the formers used to create the bezel which holds the gemstone.
Next I form the shank by splitting the sizing curve in half and making closed curves which will become the cross-section of the new ring shank.
Next, the shank is formed by “sweeping” the rail (the semi-circle) using the cross-section curves as guides. This form is still only a surface at this point with open ends.
I will mirror that shank surface to form the complete ring and close the ends to make it a solid. Then I move the bezel into place for a finished ring. Again, this seem simple enough but it often takes a lot of manipulation of the rail and the cross sections before the resultant surface meets my expectation of aesthetic and function! The same is true for each element of design generation.
I can then in most cases add nearly anything a client wants on the inside of the ring, or on the outside as additional decoration. This design as is will be very clean-lined.
This basic design can be modified to accommodate any size gem or finger size, the bezel can be taller or shorter and the shank can be wider or narrower. Or we can use this as a starting point and add decoration per client request. Once we have the design nailed down, we print the design on our B9Creator® and cast in the precious metal you choose.
At Gary Dawson Jewelry Design we take a lot of pride in the fact that we can claim sole authorship in nearly everything we make for our clients! From design generation to gem setting and final polish, it is all done in our small studio in Eugene, OR. With over 40 years of design and manufacturing experience, we are prepared to make you smile when you see your ideas combined with our expertise come together in heirloom quality jewelry. Or select one of our growing number of existing designs and we will produce it for you with the love and care you would expect from a master craftsperson!
And thank you very much to Sam and Maureen for allowing me to use this example and their names to personalize the project even further!
I have to admit that sometimes it’s hard to stay in the office or workshop when the weather is so nice! We’ve been experiencing a pretty fantastic spring here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. A concern however is that with very little snow-pack in our Cascade Mountains, our ongoing drought could mean a bad fire-season later.
The work deluge of really fine jobs that are rolling in through Gary Dawson Jewelry Design is both encouraging and satisfying!
This depicts a recent job of setting client-owned pale aquamarine in simple white gold settings for a pendant and earring set.
Note the branding detail…
I’m really looking forward to making an engagement ring of a 1.16ct diamond macle as an upcoming project
and have some gorgeous princess rubies coming for another project. Keep ‘em coming my friends!
A custom jewelry designer probably makes more commitment jewelry than any other single category. At least that seems to be the case with my work. But people choose to memorialize other events, occasions and ideas with custom jewelry and these projects provide a fun opportunity to explore interesting geometries and make things besides rings.
I posted this beginning 3D draft of an interesting group of projects on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. The clown project evolved very nicely into a 14K gold, magic clown holding a bunch of balloons with a rainbow of gems in the background!
The finished piece incorporated both a bail and a pin finding so it could be worn as a pin or pendant. And although it was fairly flat to lay nicely as a pendant, I used perspective to create the effect of a clown reaching and stepping forward, as though to hand the balloons to someone. He appears to be turned slightly to his left, and reaching forward with his right hand while stepping forward with his right leg, bringing the right side of his body, the left side as you face the pendant, a little closer to the viewer.
The balloons are made of cabochon cut gemstones in emerald, ruby, garnet, sapphire and amethyst. Tiny rubies, emeralds and tsavorite garnets make up the rainbow.
It was nice to hear that the recipient of the gift, to celebrate a 30th anniversary…loved it! I welcome any interesting design challenges at Gary Dawson Jewelry Design.
This post was originally scheduled to be written and posted a week ago. Life intervenes. The contents of a post from my personal Facebook page tells the story…
“That moment that you realize you can look up lyrics and live the rest of your life not stewing about what Beck says before the line, “I’m a loser baby, why don’t you kill me.” Because when you have a head cold, you think about pretty weird stuff…”
But I’m no perdedor amigos so here’s a post about making one of my most popular pearl earring designs. Interestingly, as this post goes out on Tuesday, May 19th, I will be attending the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology. The world’s premier repository of information regarding jewelry manufacturing. I’m a regular attendee there and have been published by the symposium 5 times so far. I’m sure I’ll contribute again!
For Mother’s day this year Alysia wanted to give her mom a pair of my “Pearl Cup” earrings. They were a big hit and A’s sis, Elizabeth was curious about how I make them. After I explained the process, she said, “Wow, that’s really neat, you should make a blog post about that.” So I’m dedicating this post to Elizabeth, my really cool sister-in-law.
I typically make my own alloys by combining gold with various other metals to form either 14K or 18K gold in several colors, yellow, white and rose.
After melting the metals together I pour the molten alloy into a tall stainless steel container of water to make what we call “shot”. This alloyed shot is then used to cast or form sheet or wire for fabrication.
Sometimes this process produces pretty neat cup shapes, which I will set aside until I get another one that sort of matches in size.
With a post and back, this becomes a “Pearl Cup” earring! You can order your very own pair by visiting Gary Dawson Jewelry Design.
These naturally produced shapes are never the same, even within an earring pair which makes them unique and personal!
Coming over Santiam Pass, from Bend to Eugene and following the course of the McKenzie River back home was a thoughtful ride…it was indeed full of joy and melancholy. I had ridden over to Bend the day before to spend time with an old (not that he’s old) friend. Nick worked with me, first as an apprentice through the University of Oregon apprenticeship program that I had going at the time, and then as an employee. That era, his era, was unquestionably part of the heyday of my former business in downtown Eugene, OR. Rafael, Nick, Donovan, me…we were a crew. We shared pastries from the bakery around the corner, fish and chips from down the street, competed to buy the pack-up beers (I usually won!), and we shared details of our lives that only guys that work daily side-by-side can even begin to guess.
When I accepted Nick’s invitation to meet him in Bend I didn’t realize it was to be his “farewell to the PacNW tour”, as he stated it. In another 7 days, he would officially be a D.O. and would now be moving to W Virginia to complete his internship. It had been maybe 10 years since I’d seen him, now it will likely be another substantial period of time before our paths cross again. I have this dream of the 4 of us hooking up sometime, it would/will be fun!
After some initial beers…
and meeting Pat, Nick’s medical school mate at Bend Brewing Company, we settled in to our weekend…good food goes with good friends and good times. First stop…
From the “about” page of their website…
“Spork started in 2009 as a globally-inspired green-conscious mobile streetfood kitchen housed in a 1962 Airstream Tradewind that sailed the streets and events of Central Oregon serving creative delicious global cuisine and was voted Best Chow Cart in Bend every year in the Source Reader Poll.”
I can see why they won! We had Spicy Fried Chicken (me), Green Curry, (Pat) and Tacos (Nick) and in the tradition of food aficionados everywhere, shared bites. (I’m beginning to eschew the word “foodie”, as it has grown way too hipster.) Of course, being from Eugene, I really don’t have the Bend resident perspective, but I bet Spork provides one of the best overall food values in Bend. We all ate and two of us had some very tasty mixed drinks for under US$45.00…really great value.
From there we segued to some action-packed barroom pool at “The Summit”. We had their solitary old Brunswick (which is free to play) all to ourselves as the rest of Bend was engaged in the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, something we opted-out on with a $25 cover down the street.
Cigars and whisky followed at McMenamins, Old Francis School O’Kanes fire pit venue with talk of old times and future hopes.
Sleeping in was easy but Nick and I were up at a reasonable hour and off to…
…Revisiting Chow, Bend, OR.
I posted a detailed review of Chow as part of this blog on July 3rd, 2012…
… and I’m happy to say that, other than the crowd that now pretty much always dictates a wait for all but the earliest arrivals, the quality of both food and experience at this admirable purveyor of delectable comestibles has been preserved. About the wait, I usually don’t do them. But it appears that Chow regulates seating by kitchen capacity, not seating capacity, I appreciate that, and the coffee is free out front!
I was all set to repeat the chicken-fried steak experience mentioned in that prior blog post when I noticed the oyster po’boy on the daily special menu. I have a policy of not typically eating seafood anywhere over 100 miles from a coastline but for this one time I made another exception and I’m really glad that I did.
A balance of flavor between the spicy tartar, homemade pickle and lightly fried oyster on this sandwich was really, really nice. It was as though without any one of those ingredients, it may have failed, which makes the medley of flavors, in my mind, perfect. Nick had a pulled-pork Benedict and seemed equally satisfied with his meal. It is fantastic to see this small restaurant thrive while apparently sticking to its original goal of local and sustainable in its offerings as much as possible!
After Chow, Nick and I rode our bikes out to Smith Rock State Park
to meet Pat, who had eaten at our hotel and arrived earlier to Smith. After hiking down to the river with Nick, I had to part company to begin my journey home, a thoughtful journey of memories and forward thinking.
On the ride home, my vision clouded momentarily as my emotions mixed with the wind in my ears. Feelings of real joy and happiness for the reunion, goodwill for Nick and Pat as they pursue their medical careers, and the realization that an era had passed, rose, faded, and rose again as shadows flickered on my helmet visor. And so it goes…new eras arise as eras end. Yet more juxtapositions… For some reason it made me think of something I made some time prior to that bygone heyday,
Black Rock Ruby: Beach-worn Oregon Granite with Ruby, set in 22K, 24K gold and Platinum. This piece embodies optimistic melancholy.
a piece that for me, embodies both melancholy derived from its symmetry with sublime, forward-looking optimism in its use of rarely combined materials. This is one of my favorite pieces from long ago. For a look at contemporary cool stuff check out Gary Dawson Jewelry Design we are having yet another heyday right now!
Happy Trails Amigo!
I will be attending the Santa Fe Symposium of Jewelry Manufacturing Technology this month to keep up with emerging technologies and insights in jewelry manufacturing! This year marks 40 years of my own experience in jewelry design and manufacturing and this conference keeps me current on emerging industry technologies.
Here is a look at a couple of pieces from my custom jewelry making past. I am particularly proud to have participated in the creation of a belt of Conchas presented to Eddie Bell, founder of the Santa Fe Symposium. A Concha is a typically a round decorative piece of metal seen on a western saddle and other horse equipment descended from the Spanish tradition.
I have presented research topics there 5 times so far and will contribute again. Making this Concha for Eddie’s belt remains a highlight.
Gary Dawson Jewelry Design~Quality & Integrity…Always
First posted on August 7th, 2011 in this blog, the ongoing Janus project has developed a life of its own as one of the most popular designs I offer. The Janus charm featured in the movie The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie was the original inspiration for this project. I haven’t kept the best records going back that far so I don’t have exacting info but my version of the Janus design has shipped to many far-flung locations in Europe, Asia and Australia over the past few years!
Since I elaborate on the development of the design in that 2011 post, I won’t do it again here. If you haven’t seen that post and are interested, you can use the blog’s search feature using “coupla” as a search term and get right to it.
Earlier this month I got a call from Cathryn Feely (name used with her permission) in Southern California asking about the possibility of a two-toned version of the Janus pendant/charm. This is something I had thought about before but had not yet implemented. This is the story about that implementation and it is a perfect example of the juxtaposition of old and new technologies…the idea of “appropriate technology” being one of my current focus points.
In working with Cathryn, the first step was to do a concept rendering. For this I imported an existing photo of the pendant in Sterling Silver into Rhinoceros, my 3D design application and simply superimposed a circle of yellow beads around the perimeter.
We agreed that it looked pretty cool so far! We then proceeded to discuss the idea of also making the connection jump-ring and bail gold. Using a fantastic little (and free) application called Zsurf I was able to create a hightfield-difference surface of the Janus image and use that instead of the photo to create the rendering above.
Then, by trimming an injection-wax version of my original Janus
carving, and printing the bead ring with bail connector on my trusty B9Creator®, I was able to show Cathryn a live version of our progress.
Upon receiving Cathryn’s enthusiastic go-ahead, I cast the two components separately, the trimmed Janus faces in Platinaire® (a Sterling Silver alloy containing 5% Platinum) and bead ring and bail in a warm-toned 14K yellow gold. Mating the two with a laser tack-weld to insure perfect alignment and then soldering with silver solder resulted in this finished piece!
Jewelry Design Inspiration = Designspiration!
The ideas of multiverse, teleportation and inter-dimensionality seem to co-mingle frequently in popular culture, perhaps reflecting recent insights into the building blocks of our perceived universe. (e.g. Higgs boson, et al.) Two movies released in 2014 are good examples. “Predestination” a Michael and Peter Spierig take on Heinlein’s short story, “All you Zombies” is one contemporary-classic mind-fuck that I can highly recommend. I thought it was very well done as the plot unfolds slowly, layer by layer to the twisted end. “Interstellar”, is a Christopher Nolan epic that didn’t fully captivate me but did hold my interest. In fairness, the theme of inter-dimensionality is a tough row to hoe, (pun if you’ve seen the movie) so I think a little slack here is appropriate especially as it offers up the sublimely profound statement, “Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends time and space”. Think about that for a moment and you may have an epiphany. I found the statement by TARS, the robot, “I have a cue light I can use to show you when I’m joking, if you like.” less profound but amusing. I wonder if I can get one installed on my forehead for those that just don’t seem to get my humor?
So after a recent late evening in my studio, I flipped through entertainment options as I indulged myself a cocktail and began to prepare my dinner of various leftovers. Alysia was somewhere else and I was, for that moment, completely in my own space. I’ve always been a sci-fi fan so without any real fantastic options I landed on a 2008 Doug Liman movie, “Jumper”. This movie apparently had a great opening weekend but pretty much got ravaged by the majority of critics. The fact that I didn’t even finish it may attest to its banality but I suspect it was the second, or maybe third drink that eventually put me to bed prior to the end. I’m usually good through any movie that I start.
The following morning, I woke up with this exact design in my head…
…and at that point had no idea where the heck it came from. I had a Jewelry Design Inspiration or “designspiration” and I was intrigued enough to sit with “Design Station”, (my trusty built-for-me desktop) while I had morning coffee and create this fairly simple geometry. Still a little baffled about from where the inspiration for this design came, I posted it on both my personal and business Facebook pages with the query of, “Does this mean anything to anybody?” An acquaintance of mine, another well-known jewelry designer said that it was an inter-dimensional portal. I had to like that comment because…
About then I remembered Jumper and the entire fascinating concept of the Multiverse, something I actually think about a lot. It dawned on me that this design probably wasn’t a portal, but could
be a key to a portal! Layers of meaning began falling into place as I took this design through the printing process on my trusty B9Creator© and then cast one in 14K Rose Gold and one in Sterling Silver.
Toying with the cast design, I note interesting visual effects when I peer through one grid pattern onto the opposing one.
The most fascinating thing for me remains that empirical science seems to be circling back around to include metaphysics. I found this button sometime around 40 years ago and it has since decorated my workspace environment along with an amulet given me by my best friend of that time.
Maybe we all, mostly unknowingly, make our own world after all!
Check out Gary Dawson Jewelry Design to make your jewelry dreams come to life!
And speaking of portals, stay tuned next week as we revisit the Janus project, with the introduction of a new twist! Janus, of course, being the Roman god of portals and new beginnings. Thanks so much for reading this and sharing it with your friends!
Once the gems are shaped and polished they can be set into the ring.
Ring with one gem set
Using a graver to clean up the bezels holding the gems securely in place.
With both gems set, the bezel is cleaned up with a sharp tool called a graver.
This demonstrates a very primitive, but effective gem cutting process. To see the work of one of my favorite cutters check out the award winning page of John Dyer!
Cutting edge 3D jewelry printing augmented by old-fashioned rock cutting…appropriate technology at every step of the way.
I went from this…
In several steps.
I had taken an order for this ring design, created with CAD and 3D jewelry printing, with an unusual gem placement request from my client. Instead of putting the two gems he wanted on the top of the ring, he wanted them place at the 3 and 9 o’clock position on the shank. For this purpose they had to be not only a certain diameter, but fairly shallow so as not to impose on the sides of adjoining fingers to the point of being uncomfortable. Not only did I not have the perfect gems in my inventory, I couldn’t find them as I called around my normal supply chain. I did have, however, a few nice rough, river tumbled Montana Sapphire crystals. So I cut them myself…
Next week: The Steps.
Stay tuned as Gary Dawson Jewelry Design walks through the steps of cutting rough Montana Sapphire into gems to integrate into a CAD design. Custom Jewelry at its finest!
After watching and enjoying Anthony Bourdain’s various shows over the years I decided to finally check out his writing. I was interested to see how his quick wit and wryly critical observations came off in the written word. Turns out I’m not real crazy about his literary style. (thus far anyway, still reading) His frequent overuse of adjectives is a repetitive detour on my road to a fluid read. But hey, he’s having fun while making a decent living and I respect that in any man or woman. And then there are the bits of real wisdom…I’ll cite one example in the “Dishwasher Syndrome” he describes in his book “The Nasty Bits”!
As Bourdain describes it, the dishwasher syndrome reflects the moments many high-profile chefs take “…between spooning foamy sauces over pan-seared scallops and foie gras, or bulling waiters, they sneak over to the dish station and spend a few happy, carefree moments washing dishes.” And he elaborates, “…I have seen owners of multiunit restaurant empires blissfully sweeping the kitchen floor, temporarily enjoying a Zen-like state of calm, of focused, quantifiable toil far from the multitasking and responsibility of management hell.”
I can relate!
If you know me at all you know that my first love is working closely with people on custom projects. I love the challenge of communication, and the challenge of creatively turning what I hear from my clients into something tangible in gold, platinum, silver and precious gems of all sort. And there is a certain pressure in doing that. You might imagine…every job involves a new “boss”, no two jobs are the same and there is usually a deadline! So my “dishwasher syndrome” includes things like doing a few repairs once in a while or just designing something simple and fun!
And speaking of food-related metaphors, I have a few newer designs with the “foodie” or serious cook in mind.
Watch my website for more!
I sat listening to the breakers of the Pacific from the Fireside Motel in Yachats Oregon, a quart size Mason jar of Couch Select Lager (pronounced Cooch, like the street in Portland) from Burnside Brewing Co. resting, half-consumed by my tablet. Reflecting, I began to think of the whirlwind activity of the last two years. I first noted the Kickstarter project, B9Creator, sometime in late 2012 as a friend of mine who knew of my recently renewed interest in CAD-CAM mentioned it to me in passing. By the second B9Creator Kickstarter of August, 2013, I was fully engaged with the inventor of this technology, Mike Joyce, and soon after became the sole worldwide distributor of his paradigm-busting technology.
I’m proud to say that together, we were able to elevate his fledgling project to the point that there are now options for B9Creations and the company is leaping forward with innovative technology and a new corporate structure. Not wanting to leave my home in Eugene, OR I decided to turn down the position of VP of Sales and Marketing with B9Creations. I remain connected to the B9Creator project and will continue to sell these incredible machines while I return more fully to my first love, designing and manufacturing meaningful jewelry for the most wonderful clients in the world.
Gary Dawson Designs never went completely to sleep but was low-key for a while as I focused on helping Mike J. build his project. Now, with a completely updated website, featuring both “fine” and “fun” jewelry, Gary Dawson Designs is coming out of its peaceful slumber.
We invite you to pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage, peruse the new website, offer comments and please think of us for your custom jewelry projects.
Almost 36 hours of time off! Well, not completely off of course, when you work for yourself you’re always working in some manner or another. But to put this in context, on one day last week I fielded 42 support and inquiry calls before I took a lunch break around 2pm…didn’t count the after-lunch crowd! Gary Dawson Designs is rockin’ on!! But on Saturday, after tending the garden…
Alysia and I decided to get on bike and go!
First stop was River’s Edge Winery located on the West side of Elkton on the Umpqua Hwy (Oregon Hwy. 38). Keith and Marcie
were delightful hosts for our tasting of River’s Edge offerings and we selected a 2008 Elkton Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2010 Pinot Gris wishing we had more room in our sparse luggage. We ended up hanging around for a while chatting with this couple and these guys know their wines, have very nice wines to offer AND know food so can make valuable recommendations based on your taste in both food and wine. Recommend the stop!
Next stop Winchester Bay (also known as Salmon Harbor) on Hwy 101 just south of Reedsport. I had previously enjoyed several meals at a deep-fried fish place on the north end of the boat basin called Griff’s so that was our lunch destination. I had a disappointingly luke-warm Cioppino. This stew had obviously been frozen and microwaved back to serviceability. Alysia had scallops that were, in fact, cooked to perfection but were served with soggy fries and a mediocre tartar sauce. This place has remarkably high marks on Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon and Yelp so maybe this was the occasional bad day that every place has, but after that meal I’m a little sorry that I had recommended it to Marcie and Keith at River’s Edge.
In Bandon we stayed at a reasonably nice place but can’t say a lot great about it so we’ll let that part go…on to food, ya!
Alloro Wine Bar is likely the nicest place to eat in Bandon and I think they work hard to serve quality food in a nice atmosphere. When we arrived for our 9pm reservation however, we were pretty happy to sit in a hallway booth out of the main dining area that was occupied by two inebriated and unnecessarily loud groups of Golfers. I suppose Bandon Dunes, a world-class golf resort is a boon to this small beachside community but, well, I hate shouting over dinner to have a conversation! If our server is correct about the frequency of this type of atmosphere, I may recommend getting there earlier in the evening, before wine kicks these types into overdrive.
Our server was gracious enough but went pretty blank when we asked for a wine recommendation based on our food choices. “Something middle of the road” was not the specific advice we were seeking. Our eventual choice of a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was a bit pale but did service our food reasonably well.
We shared a nice appetizer of Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Oregon shrimp, prawn and basil, deep fried with saffron-lemon aioli and then Abby’s Greens, a salad of Local organic greens, beet vinaigrette, blueberries, goat cheese, and balsamic onions. Of the two the salad was much better balanced though we wished that we could have had more than one tiny balsamic onion on the plate.
Our choices of Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, cranberry-cherry salsa, wild rice, farro and hazelnut pilaf, and green beans and Ravioli of Herb-roasted pork, beet greens, hand-dipped ricotta, local lobster mushrooms, in a butter sauce were both very finely prepared and savory. But our ravioli shared a common trait with the squash-blossom appetizer which was an awkward balance that tended to heaviness. Fortunately for us, we had asked for lemon slices to be served with our water and we discovered that by simply adding a small squeeze of lemon juice to both dishes, we improved the balance to elevate these dishes from ok to really great!
Our desserts of Cannoli with fruit and a chocolate gelato with coconut and macadamia nuts were both excellent!
Overall the prices were reasonable for the quality of food served and we were happy to have sampled the fare of this small boutique eatery. But for the style of service and what they seem to be trying to do there, it seemed a bit out-of-place to have to doctor our plates at the table to really bring out the flavors of this otherwise well-prepared food!
The next day began with great coffee at Bandon Coffee Cafe. with biscuits and gravy, apple pie, and a cranberry cookie!
The way home was fun with a stop on a sunny beach to share a bottle of wine al-fresco!
No caption needed!!
And look what we found in the roof of the announcement shelter at the beach stop!!
It has been too long since I’ve contributed to this blog and I’ve missed sharing with you all some of the fun things that we’ve been doing here at Gary Dawson Designs. Early in April, Alysia and I had the great fortune to visit Uruguay, a part of the world that has intrigued us both for some time…what a lovely trip and more about it later, I promise! Carnivore paradise!
Prior to that trip I had finished writing a research paper for the Santa Fe Symposium of Manufacturing Technology and soon after returning I traveled to southern California to meet other SFS speakers. After three days of networking (and playing) in SoCal, we all went to Albuquerque to attend the symposium and present our research.
My paper was very well received.
Then, in late May, I helped Mike Joyce, the inventor of the B9Creator 3D Rapid Prototyping machine roll out his invention to the jewelry industry at one of the industry’s most important yearly events, JCK-Las Vegas!
This show, sponsored by Jeweler’s Circular Keystone Magazine is not only a showcase for manufacturers of all types of jewelry and jewelry manufacturing tools, but also an educational event. I was tapped to present a program on Custom jewelry with two Custom Jewelry Design rock stars, Jim Tuttle of Greenlake Jewelry Works in Seattle, WA and Lisa Krikawa of Krikawa in Tucson, AZ. It was nice to present before an attentative, full-house audience!
Design work here is ever interesting and my learning curve with Rhinoceros and Rhino Gold is proceeding rapidly, thanks to my ability to print my designs and get that immediate feedback. Here are two versions a bracelet component in 14K rose gold that I’m currently working on.
The ability to develop concepts using CAD has already revolutionized the jewelry industry and my recent participation is just in time. The technology has matured to become a huge asset to me in my design and manufacturing! That’s it for now but expect more frequent posts in the near future!!
I have been spending the past few days on the ‘Speakers Trip’ where those of us who are speaking at the Santa Fe Symposium are spending time in a community building setting.
This group of speakers includes people from many interesting places from around the globe! We have been bonding over dinners, breakfasts on the beach, a yacht tour, and even a tour of the world headquarters of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) located in Carlsbad, CA.
Off to Santa Fe on Saturday for the big event where I will be speaking about Direct Casting Photopolymer Resin Models.
No, not fence post, silly! This is a short follow-up to the last blog post. I think the pictures say it all! Gary Dawson Designs is proud to work with such fine materials and wonderful people!!!
Here’s a couple of quick shots of a ring currently in progress. I de-sprued after casting and assembled the Pt top with its 18K Y shank. Virtually no cleanup other than that necessary to stick these together (with 18K solder) and you can still see solder gooped a bit around the seam. This ring was developed in Rhino and printed in two seperate components on the B9.
People often ask about the photography on the Gary Dawson Designs website.
I do it.
And it hasn’t always been this good. In the beginning stages of my business, I took archive photos of my stuff but hired a variety of excellent photographers to shoot my jewelry for promotional materials. What I found was that a photographer may capture excellent landscapes, or portraiture, or action, but the successful creation of an image of jewelry was a different animal altogether. Back when we used film, and my learning curve toward making my own images involved documenting the precise exposure settings on every image I took, it was ‘normal’ to shooting a 5 image “bracket” of exposure around a single item. I felt like it was a good day when I could get one great image on an entire roll of 36 exposure slide film. Fujichrome Provia was the ticket with beautiful saturation and fine grain. The best images usually resulted from slight underexposure. Digital, of course, has changed a lot but not the basics of image creation.
The thing with shooting jewelry is that what makes shiny metal look good works as a disadvantage on gemstones, and vice-versa. My stage and lighting is complex but not rocket science. I’ve taught the technique at jewelry industry shows and conventions and don’t mind answering some specific questions if you have them….happy shooting!
…but the “common” name is Fawn Lilly (Erythronium). This is the very first one of the season on my place outside of Eugene, OR. When I was a child, we (my sibs and I) would compete to see who could bring the first bouquet home to Mom. I’m delighted to have a natural flower garden right outside my front door that just lights up in the spring with Lamb’s Tongues, Trillion, Shooting Star (we used to call those Birdbills) and many other Oregon Natives. Now, it just needs to warm up a bit!!
Can you hear that? The sound of me madly burning up my keyboard as I work with my co-author, the awesome Joseph T. Strauss to create my paper for the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology®, 2013.
Direct Casting Photopolymer Resin Models
Photopolymers are not new and have been in some form of prototyping service for at least a couple of decades. And historically, photopolymers have not enjoyed a reputation of acceptable direct casting. With a proliferation of rapid prototyping systems evolving into the jewelry industry at prices much more accessible to smaller shops, direct casting of cured photopolymer resins has become an issue of high importance. This paper will explore the process of developing a technique for direct casting of a specific photopolymer. In consultation with the developer of this resin and the director of the University of Oregon’s CAMCOR Polymer Characterization Facility, and using practical casting tests with photomacrographic documentation, the goal of this project is to achieve optimized direct casting results from this polymer.
Mr. Dawson is the founder and former owner of Goldworks Jewelry Art Studio and current owner of Gary Dawson Designs, an internet-only business that was recently named among the “Best of the Best” by Instore Magazine. Well known for his ability to showcase gemstones creatively in custom pieces, he has also explored new jewelry-making techniques and trends through his articles for MJSA Journal and his papers for the Santa Fe Symposium®. He is a recipient of the Santa Fe Symposium Ambassador Award. This is Mr. Dawson’s fifth presentation at the Symposium.
That’s right, no Spring Chicken…at least in terms of working closely with my clients! I’ve been designing and manufacturing jewelry for nearly 40 years now. Gary Dawson Designs is a relatively new entity, and we’re on the cutting edge with our new CAD design software, Rhinoceros and our 3D printer. But the only Spring Chickens around here are in our new batch of laying hens, just picked up today.
In a few months, these babies will be producing little orbs of golden goodness…
I’ve put Motorcycles and food together before. And shortly after Allan Karl left the comfort of his home in California to journey most of the way around the world, solo, on his motorcycle, I met him in a Starbucks near the store I had at the time in Eugene, OR. Allan’s “Nom de Moto” is Worldrider, and his story has become immense. We’ve stayed in touch intermittently, mostly through his blog posts and my occasional reply or comment. But Allan is now preparing a cookbook highlighting some of his culinary adventures along the way and posted for recipe testers…enter my passion for culinary adventure! I’ve recently tested five of his recipes, with a couple more to go. Enjoy the photos and I’d highly suggest acquiring the book, due out in the fall of this year.
I’m not a huge fan of venison, but this recipe not only made it palatable, it made it really nice! I used a Malbec for the marinade.
And this dish takes its name from the Potjie, in which it is traditionally cooked…a savory beef and pork stew…
Finally, Allan knows I’m a big fan of Chimichurri, an Argentine condiment that I always have in my fridge (good on most any meat, eggs, or just on a cracker for a snack!) so he let me sample his version…
Thanks Allan, for the opportunity to ride along with you for a bit!
And just to remind you, Gary Dawson Designs is up for any design adventures that you may have to share! We love our work!
Good day, Good day! We love all the new custom jewelry work we’ve been getting, and using the combination of traditional hand carving combined with 3D rapid prototyping, we’ve been popping out projects like crazy. This is an example of the fun we’re having these days creating meaningful family heirlooms in the form of jewelry.
Ring commemorating a father/daughter relationship through the sport of basketball.
This ring utilizes the gemstone from a father’s older Masonic ring and the design symbolizes the strong connection of a father (a basketball coach) had with his daughter (a collegiate basketball star). Each part of the ring is symbolic, from the arc a ball makes in a long shot swoosh to the way a player moves down the court. From the ball itself to the coaches whistle, (on the far side of the ring in this view). Executed in 14K white gold, designed in Rinoceros, a 3D modeling application with hand engraving accents around the gem, this ring has already become a family treasure.
Gary Dawson Designs is in Tucson!
Have to take off in a few minutes to set up for the wax carving seminar I’m giving this morning…but had a few minutes to indulge some outside time yesterday.
“A” Mountain looms about a half mile from my sorta dumpy but very serviceable hotel here in Tucson and one way I break up my time here is to run/walk to it and climb it.
There’s some fun 4th class scrambling near the base and while the rock isn’t as bad as most of the Cascades, it is a bit unpredictable, being an amorphous blend of a lot of sedimentary whatnot. Got in a little bind yesterday on my way up a channel and ran into this barrel cactus right in my way.
Don’t find those in the Cascades much. In that I was without protection in the form of rope…and was climbing in running shoes, I found another route.