Monday, 20 March 2023

Spring IS Coming

Out here on Digby Neck, the sun is getting stronger, snow is pretty much all gone and winter is, grudgingly, giving up its hold on our amazing slice of Nova Scotia. Sure, we'll probably get a late blizzard but that snow will soon melt. The earth is warming up and I have it on good authority that pussy willows are emerging.

Here at the shop, we are doing a lot of fabrication in studio to produce pieces for the retail shop. We have experimented with new materials such as this leather "barbed wire"- truly unique.

More beautiful copper and silver Viking Knit Chains have been completed and paired with beautiful agates.

New techniques have been perfected- including this show stopping pendant using a really cool cold connection method.

We even have an amazing sterling silver vintage ring from Russia which features an awesome sillimanite cat's eye.

When we got it it was totally black and in need of repair but it has been professionally cleaned and repaired. It is very small (size 4/5) but it is a beautiful example of Russian craftsmanship- complete with Russian hallmarks.

We plan on opening next month if the weather cooperates and even if you have been before, come again as our store is like a box of chocolates- you never know what treasures you will find.

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Old Friend- Amazing Talent!

 I am a very fortunate fella!

Through a series of expertly negotiated one year contracts, I have managed to stay married to "She Who MUST Be Obeyed" or as she's commonly known- The Real Artist- for more than 52 years.

In addition, I have been able to stay in contact with several friends I have known for over 60 years! And while we live far apart, we communicate regularly- sometimes via video conferencing so we can confirm the others are actually still alive (heh,heh). I cherish those friendships.

One such friend, Cheryl, is an amazing photographer and dog lover. Recently, she revived her interest in pastel portraits- mostly of animals. Her work is stunning!

Use of high quality pastels and other materials along with her unique technique, enables Cheryl to capture the subtle variations in fur and hair that all animals have. Her skill in capturing the expressive eyes makes her portraits seem to come alive.

Years of photography and attention to detail enable her to capture not only a pet's likeness but also its personality.

Recently I decided to put Cheryl to the test. Our daughter Lisa loves all animals but especially cats. She volunteers with the animal shelter in Freeport, Grand Bahama and has proven to be a complete failure as a foster mom- failure in the sense that she rarely gives them back (she blames her husband)! Lisa has a passion for Maine Coons which led her to become mom to Duke. To say that Duke (named after a famous Hawaiian surfer) was a large cat would not be doing him justice.

Duke was massive and eventually tipped the scales at over 30 pounds! When he died, Lisa and her husband Jarrod were devastated and since their anniversary was coming up, we decided to commission Cheryl to do a portrait. We sent her a photo...and got this back:

Lisa was both ecstatic and deeply touched because Cheryl had captured the essence of her dear pet- right down to his damaged ear!

So if you have a cherished pet or know of someone who does, why not check out Cheryl's web site at There you will find testimonials and pricing (very reasonable) along with tips on how to photograph your pet(s) and all the info needed to commission what will no doubt become a treasured family heirloom.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

It's Earring Time!

One of the downsides of living in a house built in 1849 is a leaky stone wall basement. But in between mopping it up, I've had the time to work on earrings.

The first order of business was to make a second display. I used the same format as for the guitar string earring display

 Then I started to fill it. The first creations were a set of three using sterling silver sea themed pieces in beautiful abalone frames the real artist had kicking around. I used non-tarnish silver wire but sterling ear wires. The first features a whale tail.

Next came the anchor.

And finally, the shell. (sorry for the bad pic)

Now I am starting on the local agate and jasper I finished and drilled last summer. I plan on dressing them up a bit with some of the beautiful copper beads in my inventory and I'm pretty happy with the first pair.

So much for my day job. Normally, I make Viking Knit Chain in the evenings using 24 gauge copper wire but I am currently experimenting with a slightly thicker 22 gauge and really liking the result.

The real artist, not to be outdone, has finished her first sketch book using her home made dyes This beauty is totally hand fashioned, including the binding and we might have a few in the store by next season.

Stay healthy and sane!

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Latest Viking Voyage

As some who read this blog know, the "Real Artist", who lets me share her studio as long as I keep my mouth shut, is also a "Real Viking". Wencke, (her Norwegian name, we call her Vickie) is not one of those fake Vikings who wear the horned hats and watch Minnesota play football. She is a pure blood. And as such she is always off on new voyages of discovery. This time, it's all about dying (the colour not the event).

So now I'm back to the point in time when our daughters were young and I was always afraid to open a door in fear of the science experiment that lay behind it. This morning I found this sitting in the kitchen.

What is it, you say? My guess was an old tin can wrapped in fabric but according to Vickie, I was sadly mistaken. This was a can that she had carefully prepared to be covered with rust- not just rust but premium rust- so that when she folded some material around it, it got dyed by the rust. This, apparently elevates it from junk and rags to...ART!

Here is another cloth that has been dyed lavender by a liquid derived by soaking black turtle beans which, apparently we will now eat. Oh joy.

And this is only part of the voyage which, according to the Viking, will take two years. It didn't take that long for them to discover America! Another aspect will be to use the dyes and hand fashioned objects to make marks and thus transform a mess into an "object d'art".

Trust me, those hands will never be clean again. 

Apparently we are having the beans tonight.

Pray for me.

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

The Phoenix Collection Gets Larger

Last year I decided to try working with a new material- used guitar wire. And since I have a son-in-law, grandsons and neighbours who play guitar, I had plenty of strings to experiment with. The wires have as much "memory" as any wire I've worked with so it's not the easiest job but it does open up some amazing unique opportunities.

Since the strings were being "reborn", I called it the Phoenix Collection with new jewelry pieces rising from the ashes. Guitar strings that once made beautiful music now make beautiful, unique jewelry. They sold well in the shop and on line so I have decided to expand the selection. Since I started fabricating I've made several pairs of earrings with many more to come. By spring, this display will be full.

 I also want to do about a dozen single strand and multi strand necklaces incorporating Vickie's amazing polymer clay beads. Here are some of the latest.

The first features a "faux" amber trade bead with amazing detail and the second incorporates "faux" jade and a small trade bead. But by far the most ambitious undertaking to date has been the 9 string braided piece with a beautiful local stone and carnelian beads.

Regrettably, the wire doesn't photograph so well so these are even better in person so if you are coming this way, let me know and you can take a look.

Of course, I'm making other items as well, such as this large shark tooth wrapped in silver and hanging on a sterling silver chain- gorgeous.

Stay sane and healthy my friends.

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

What's New at The Artist's Mark

 I haven't posted for some time because we have been so busy. Lots of work to do to get ready for winter plus we celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary few days ago. But we have had time to do some new pieces.

This is the time of year I make my Viking Chain. Here's how it looks when I weave it on the dowel (about 8 inches long)

And here's how it looks after I have drawn it through successively smaller holes in my draw plate. Now about 17 inches long. This one was done in 24 gauge copper but my next attempt will be with a thicker, 22 gauge wire.

I have also been collaborating with Vickie on some pieces. Vickie is a master of polymer clay and has developed several of her own techniques while perfecting museum quality jewelry. This time we used one of her beads, featuring a technique she calls her "Burlesque Blend" and hung it on an upcycled guitar string. Vickie also fashioned the wire work and bead work while I did the connectors at the back

I was able to use the original "eye" and attach another to make a really unique clasp.

I have also been making a lot of earrings and while I won't show them in this post, I will show you the display we made using some cool driftwood and plastic mesh. I even added some hooks at the bottom to hold three necklaces and eventually everything on it will be from the "Phoenix" collection featuring upcycled guitar wires.


Next time I'll feature more individual pieces.


Sunday, 13 November 2022

Winter Hours

 Now that the clocks have changed, we change our hours to reflect it. Unless we are away, we are open every day until 5 unless the weather is really bad. We will close for the winter December 15th but will open the shop for those who call ahead- especially you local knitters. If you want to make sure we are open, call at 902 482-2188 or email me at

Also, since our winter winds can get really bad (and since we have already fished one store sign out of the marsh) we will be taking down the large store sign by the road. However, we will still be hanging our "Open" sign so if it is up, come on in!