Engagement and wedding rings created by three strong designers for a couple about to be merged this weekend Wednesday, Apr 28 2010 

I’ve just opened the job bag to read up on this most memorable commission, initiation dated 15-10-2009 and the rings with engraved bands were collected yesterday by Matthew – in readiness for their nuptials this coming weekend. A few exciting concepts done and left to simmer over the summer vacation, designs finalised and then review meetings through the makes, Julie writes in her last email containing the engraving brief: “I don’t want this lovely jewellery journey to end. We will have to think of other projects together!!”.

This internet commission for a lovely May baby led to the development of a new chain especially for a wonderful client’s use Tuesday, Apr 27 2010 

Update – 14 May 2010, I can upload these two details now as it was delivered to Canberra today.

The first email from Canberra is dated November 4 2009 – a couple of things, a repair and a set of earrings for now and “a special piece for Lila” sometime in the future. We communicated madly about chains, chain designs as we completed the other requests asap. Now it’s the end of April 2010 and we have locked away the design & we have a May deadline to produce to. Such as private set of emails exchanged between Ness and Barbara as these two ladies worked patiently to evolve “something suitable to celebrate, mark and signify her birth” – and the last thing that Ness writes; “Something that she will wear herself, one day”.

The make is on the bench today awaiting the final nod, I’ll post the piece once it has been successfully dispatched and thankfully received – in fact I’m going to press for a mum & daughter pic!

New shapes incorporated into © Bh signature bracelets, finished today Tuesday, Apr 27 2010 

I’ve marked the newer symbols with an asterisk, some symbols remain from the earliest version of the six symbol bracelet with the bar & ring clasp. This bar is a newer version also . . . Made and finished in 925 Silver with 18ct Yellow Gold detail, some symbols are also in Bronze and again, depending on what the client wants – Barbara does like to do one gem component. LEFT & CENTRE is Queensland Marble and RIGHT is a high cabochon Smoky Quartz. Here’s the last one BELOW at a higher resolution again, the stone insert is Dalmation Jasper from USA – enjoy!

Tasmanian tintrail starts in Sandy Bay Saturday, Apr 17 2010 

A couple of years ago we saw this curious object at Warwick Oakman Antiques.
Given the context, we assume the object under dome is perhaps some surrealist’s handiwork.
In fact it is tin, a frozen molten spill of the lustrous grey metal here strangely unfamiliar in its natural form.
Its a metal we’ve mined and put to use for thousands of years, it all began when we first alloyed it with copper and created bronze.
The 49th most abundant element, we coat other metals with it to prevent corrosion and line containers with it to safely store food.
In our search for new sources of it we have traversed, mined and colonised the furthest reaches of the globe.
Indeed, tin deposits of historical importance put Tasmania clearly on the map in the mid 1800s.
All of which is reason enough you’d think, to place it under a glass dome and display it as a worthy object.


Post office directories lead to a friend’s relatives, further history revealed for Tinsmith’s research Saturday, Apr 17 2010 

A tinsmith, or tinner or tinker, is a person who makes and repairs tinware. Early tinsmiths used tinplate, wire, solder, and a few simple tools to produce utilitarian wares that ranged from downspouts to kettles, bath tubs to weather vanes. Interestingly the term ‘tinker’ refers to an itinerant traveler or peddler and indeed early tinsmiths did hawk their wares, on foot to rural farms and villages. In Australia tinsmiths numbered amongst the trades of the first convicts and free settlers and they quickly adapted their skills to meet the needs of the farmers, miners and builders of the new colony. As the prospectors and pioneers pushed further into remote areas in the hope of gaining a living, we can picture the tinsmith following behind to make the items they would have surely soon needed.

pic above: Tin mining at Stanthorpe. As with gold, prospecting for tin became one of the incentives for exploration and development In Queensland, tin mines were established in Stanthorpe and Herberton but without a milling industry here to turn the resource into product the raw material was shipped back to England to be processed into tin plate. Even as late as 1889 the process of tinplating sheet steel, indeed the tinplate itself had changed little since its beginnings in fourteenth-century Bohemia.

A description of the manufacturing process reveals many stages and much labour as the metal is repeatedly passed through rolling mills, furnace, acid baths then further rinsed and scoured and dipped in palm oil before at last, the tinman places the sheets in a large iron pot of molten tin. Then follows more palm oil and rolling, degreasing in a tub of bran and then rubbing with a skin ‘duster’. Inspected then sorted into ‘perfects’ and ‘wasters’ the plates are counted and boxed up into elm wood boxes, marked by branding irons  and finally placed into the freight car, ready to be forwarded to their various destinations. The labour intense process which includes young girls and boys as well as adults, keenly evokes the harsh, noisy and soot blackened conditions of late nineteenth century industrial life. Even so, tinplate can be understood as a crafted product not without its own mystique, produced by many hands, its method of creation reveals a layered history of empirical knowledge.

Post Office directories found to be most illuminating Saturday, Apr 17 2010 

A response to a demand for less expensive price point; hand made chain by the Jeweller to the Lost studio Saturday, Apr 17 2010 

Long necklet (50cm) with bar & ring clasp © Bh – hand made silver chain in two link patterns 1) paper die finish 2) textured roller finish with 18ct Yellow Gold detail:

Shorter Bracelet (20cm) with bar & ring clasp © Bh – hand made silver chain in two link patterns 1) paper die finish 2) textured roller finish with 18ct Yellow Gold detail:

Footnotes: A)  A super selection of Bracelets, Necklaces & Rings are being prepared for the two prestige Brisbane High School Fairs later on in the year . . .  at St Margaret’s (The MAYO Festival) and Brisbane Grammar School’s Art Fair. The first client in the studio to view these remarked that she wanted two, maybe three. ” I could link the three clasps and wear as a wrap-around, or maybe two separately – how much for a Gold one?” was the next request. We like the idea of two or three in the one transaction, our price point for these hand made items is very competitive – first in best dressed! B) Katherine Kalaf in Perth had the earlier version of these chains enhanced with those playful 16th century-ish 18ct Yellow Gold © Bh charms. Every one sold. We have worked to create a newer version of gem fold-up, the gem set in a basket like setting where the healing gem material is in touch with the body. New Brazilian included quartz pendants are in the pipeline to augment these necklaces.

Visit to Highfields, north of Toowoomba Easter Saturday 2010 Saturday, Apr 3 2010 

The colonial tinsmiths research continues; Barbara has managed to track down the remnant of several tinsmith businesses from South East Queensland, all at one repository at Highfields Pioneer Village. The collection of Ron Douglas of Toowoomba, elements from Smith & Robertson at Woolloongabba in Brisbane, the Williamson Brothers in Toowoomba and other local plumbers & drainers; M. & E.A. Garvey, F. J. Charles and Douglas United.

Ian Williamson was demonstrating lead nail making on the day and took time out to discuss the collection. Ian also demonstrated numerous rolling machines, explained the processes used in his trade and also alluded to other skills and trades, especially the tinsmiths working at the Ipswich Railway Engineering Works. He explained the specific tinware needs of the engineers and showed us the patterns and rollers used to make the various oil cans required.

No fooling these web stats either . . . the viewersite blog is really trucking Friday, Apr 2 2010 

The B) shows a dive because we are only 8 days into the month of April 2010.

The A) indicated the two months we are away in Tasmania.

The best day was 2 March 2010 with 392 views, the two best months were July 2009 with 2,416 views and March 2010 with 2,379 views.

The monthly stats for year 2007, the first year of the viewersite blog – here.

Happy Easter – April Fools Day – remember, The Bunny Rules Thursday, Apr 1 2010 

As you know we only publish our own material, the objects we own/we design/we produce . . . but sometimes it’s the objects we fancy. Ben Ziegler in LA – USA sells quirky/macabre material on eBay that we fancy every day, in fact I’ve been buying things from him since early 2006. A recent offering above shows the lengths that some people will go to have a kiddie on their knee. Ben’s material can be viewed here. His site comes with this positioning/warning: – “for the discriminating collector of the bizarre and unusual”. Specializing in antique photography, curios, and oddities.

So Ben also collects the bizarre himself, here is a recent pic he sent me of three shrunken heads in his museum display. He had just finished new stands (you see the hair is still growing!). He keeps things pretty private but I’m free to tell you he has a long association with the Robert Ripley collection – remember Ripleys © ‘Believe it or not’?

Another good friend in Australia collects these (pre-modernism) artworks, exaggeration photographic postcards . . . in fact I swapped the best one of my Brisbane ones from early c1900 after I saw the depth of his collection. We both sweep Ben’s offerings for these beauties . . .