Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hermit Crab Necklace


Is it too creepy?

I know...I'm adorable.

This is what happens when your husband shows you an
adorable Hermit Crab with personality...

...I mean, look at this face, who could not resist
sculpting a cute little fella like this?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tree Frog Cuff

 This is going to be one cool cuff.

The back legs and feet are actually what goes around the arm holding the cuff in place plus the upper left arm and hand just add extra support. The right hand props his head up and although his back is facing you now, when wearing him he is looking at you. So whether he is on your left arm or right, he is always looking at you. As pictured now, he is on your right arm scooting down...on your left arm, he is scooting up your arm. No profile shots yet...still fine tuning his handsome features.

The first casting will be all Sterling Silver with antiquing to bring out the detail and depth in the philodendrons.

My Little Tree Frog Cutie Pie Cuff with little heart
Philodendrons trailing down his back.

 Say Hello!  

Can you guess what's coming soon?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Katie's Bouquet

She said YES!!!

I recently saw some of your work at the Apple Festival up in North Carolina.  I am interested in having an engagement ring custom created.  I love your floral renderings and as such, the inspiration for my ring is the winter flower called the Snowdrop.  I'm not exactly sure how I want this executed (not being artistic and such).  Please let me know what I needs to happen for this to move forward, thanks so much for your time...

...well, first I needed to see what a Snowdrop Flower looked like and to my suprize...I loved this flower and immediately saw the flower draping over her finger. I pulled several pictures off the web and asked if these were what she had in mind and it was. Here are the inspirational pictures Katie & I agreed upon.


Once I started working on the ring I realized that either the ring was going to have to be shortened or she had to have long fingers, well Katie was blessed with very long fingers, so my Snowdrop Bouquet draping over her fingers could continue. 

This is what I sculpted...
My idea is for the open Snowdrop bud on top will hold
a diamond in a 6 prong setting.  I've added a blue wax ball
to visually show the placement of the setting.
Not your typical band but once together it all works together.
I love the additional draped buds on each side. Each semi-open buds
are three dimensional showing the detail inside the petals.
I have about one more day of fine tuning.

Katie's Update!

Next...Casting in White Gold plus adding the diamond!

A Wedding Gift for Kathy & Wynne - Completed!

Both matching pendants came out beautifully!

I love these kind of e-mails...

...We saw some of your work at the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach. It's very impressive and beautiful. We are interested in getting custom wedding rings. Since your work is so true to nature, we're hoping you can come up with a design for us.

Their ideas...

We want a design based on two trees with their branches growing together. It's based on a story in mythology about Baucis and Philemon. We can't quite picture how this can be turned into a ring, but maybe you can. If we can't get a design we like for rings, we would consider pendants.

Here was my suggestion...

...One side of the tree is 14k Yellow Gold and the other tree,
opposite side of the ring is another sculpted tree in White Gold.
Both tree's limbs come together at the top.
Yellow Gold and White Gold limbs intertwine.
Due to my design being so wide, it would work for Wynne but not for Kathy, so we are heading back to the drawing board, which I love and start sketching on a new his & her pendant design based on the two trees.

Here is one of two Ideas...


I have another totally different idea...I'll sketch this one tomorrow.

"TreeHeart 2"
Now don't judge this piece on my sketch...sculpted in 3-D, this piece as well as the double pendants above
will look as if I carved the tree and dipped it in gold & silver.

...and this is what I Sculpt.

One tree will be cast in 14k yellow gold and the other side
cast in 14k white gold. The oval would look good in
either Yellow or White Gold.

...and this is my inspiration tree outside my dad's studio in Cornelius, NC

Yep, that's Lake Nornam
waters down about 4'

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Kudzu Cuff Bracelet - One Special Cuff for Becky

Whew! And She Loves It!!!

It's almost finished, a bit of last minute fine tuning
before we cast this piece. The first one will be cast in
Sterling Silver and antiqued (patina) to give it depth.
Becky's will be specials, we'll be adding a bit
of gold to hers plus a little something she asked for. 
If possible, I always like trying the piece on my
I already know this cuff is going to be
number one rule is that if the wax looks good, then
the finished piece will look awesome.
Still in the rough but I thought you might like to see
another view or two...
And now my third set of leaves. I've spent about
30 minutes just getting them proportioned correctly.
I sculpted a smaller set of three leaves and attached them
next to the larger set.
Once I've layed out my vines...Kudzu have awesome
vines, I start adding my leaves once sculpted and textured.

The piece of wood in the background, that's an instant reminder of how
I want my groves to go in my vines.
Here I am gearing up to start sculpting the Kudzu leaves. 

The leaves are very unique so I want to make sure
I have them right. Drawing out the design a couple of times makes it easy to start sculpting the leaves.
You're working out the design in your head as well.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ocean Fusion

Fusion Starfish Cuff
Fusion will be available
November 1, 2011

Fusion Starfish Ring
                In 1968, noted trumpeter and composer Miles Davis produced an album entitled “Miles in the Sky” incorporating electric instruments in a combination of jazz and rock elements to form a slick, smooth, and elegant jazz sound with a rock rhythm. They called it Jazz Fusion, and the name stuck! Since then many noted music artist have been noted for their contribution to Jazz Fusion.  Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Santana, Cream, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Steely Dan, Frank Zappa to name a few.
                In 1983, Wolfgang Puck, said to be a Pioneer of Fusion Cuisine, opened Chinois of Santa Monica. Known for creating Asian dishes using California’s fresh and accessible produce, combined with French Culinary Techniques, where you can find such savory dishes at “Whole Sizzling Catfish with Ponzu Dipping Sauce” or “Mongolian Lamb with Cilantro-Mint Vinaigrette.
                In 2011, Dawn Vertrees Jewelry Designer melded the design of Fan Coral with that of a Starfish, or form a bracelet like none other you’ve ever seen! Yes, she’s taken the Fusion idea to a new level.  Cast in Sterling Silver, this striking bracelet exhibits mirror polished fan coral seemingly cloaking a smooth tectured starfish that’s slipping out from under it. The bracelet fits on the wearer’s arm as if it found it’s way there while scuba diving in the Caymans.  Or is it off a ledge near Punta Bunda, Mexico. It means something different to each viewer, but one thing’s for sure, its awesome fusion!
Don Vertrees

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Citrine and Gold Ring Design

 Well, Third time's a Charm...
...I will start sculpting this ring for Bree starting tomorrow morning and of course, I'll be showing it's progress on my blog. I'm so glad we jumped over to the tulips...I can just envision this ring finished.

Finished making the base, now on to
the tulips, buds & leaves.

Bree's Design #1
White and Yellow Gold surrounds
this impressive teardrop shaped faceted Citrine.

There will be several designs going back in forth to get the perfect design and in the end...It may look nothing like this piece I've drawn but sometimes you just have to work out the details.

The dome like base of the ring would be white gold, high polished.  I would sculpt the leaves and vines separately and then solder them to the white gold creating a look as if they were actually growing up and around the stone. The yellow gold leaves will pop on the white gold.

Being that the leaves and vines are sculpted separately and not carved, this is going to give a lot of dimension plus making it very realistic.

I didn't add all of the leaves to the design, I wanted you to see the white gold under the yellow gold leaves. Once I sculpt the base, sculpting the leaves is the creative part.

The stone will set up and light will get up under the stone. The citrine is actually a good depth for this ring.

Bree's Design #2
White and Yellow Gold surrounds
this impressive teardrop shaped faceted Citrine.
...same concept but the stone sets up using prongs, I made the stone about 3mm shorter to be able to show the leaf detail. In real life, even with the larger stone, you'll see the detail below the stone. Also, I reversed the gold. Leaves and Stems...white gold, base and setting...yellow gold.
Bree's Design #3
I never make both sides exactly alike so I wanted to give you a quick hint for the other side of the ring. Personally...this is my favorite design so far. The leaves and tulips will be individually sculpted and cast then soldered to the ring base giving it a raised authentic look.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ocean Artist Society


Using ocean art to inspire people around the world to a greater awareness of our
need to preserve our natural world.

To my Blogger fans, I wanted to let you know that I have been inducted unanimously by Wyland, Guy Harvey and Bob Talbot into Wyland's

Ocean Artists Society

- a group of distinguished painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, and writers coming together to use ocean art to inspire people around the world to a greater awareness of our need to protect and preserve our natural world.

A big thank you to all OAS founding members, and to Jennifer Small - Wyland Foundation.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Last night I was blown away when I was sent this's my Kudzu Band.

The bands now adorn these beautiful
hands on her wedding day.  We worked together casting my leafy bands in white and yellow gold and they were just I thought, until I saw this photo, I know now what "beautiful" really means, it when my bands are part of this wonderful day, her wedding.

In her words,

Dear Don & Dawn,

Just wanted to thank you again for the beautiful ring. I love it!
I thought you might like to see it in action;)

I hope you are all well.