Monday, December 19, 2011

X-mas studio sale

This past Saturday D Gallery hosted a Christmas studio sale/ open house for Mindans designs ( and DuKo designs ( We pushed back the walls and opened up the entire space to accommodate for the potential of a crazed holiday rush. There was a steady flow of people through out the day, with many people picking up last second holiday gifts. Others were just stopping by to say hello and some people indulged in various little treasures for themselves. Mindan was kind enough to provide some free jewellery gifts to a few pleasantly surprised guests. Snacks consisted of mini quiches and awesome cookies from our favorite neighbors the Kranky cafe ( Steam whistle generously provided us with delicious ice cold beers and of coarse there was red and white wine, and other various refreshments. As well as fine hand crafted jewellery pieces we also had gorgeous hand made cards for sale, provided by both Aaron Grain and Kelsey Pangborn. There were Christmas tree decorations, made by local artist Jennifer Ettinger, with all proceeds going to Vancouver little league baseball. The room looked great with all the various displays set up and the day ran very smoothly. I'd like to thank everyone who helped us set up and run the show and everyone who stopped by, and of coarse my lovely studio mate Mindan. I had a fantastic day and look forward to the next time D gallery hosts an event. I hope that everyone has a very safe and happy holiday season surrounded by many friends and family, and thank you for reading the DuKo designs blog, until next year.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Same same but different

It's common for people to have jewellery sitting in a box that they no longer wear. This occurs for a variety of reasons, it may be that the jewellery piece has fallen out of style or that the owner has just become uninterested or bored with it. Maybe all that is needed is a little modification...? Such was the case with this 18k yellow gold and Platinum ring that I recently took a file and sand paper to. While the ring on the left is unique and interesting, it is also somewhat dated and needed a little tlc to become what my client really wanted. The end result, shown at right is cleaner and simpler, and will stand the test of time with it's much more classic lines and lighter feel.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Custom Canadian Ring

This past summer I had the opportunity to design and make a truly unique one of a kind ring. My client brought me a gorgeous Ruby and a vision, the rest was up to me. He wanted a large chunky man's ring in both white and yellow gold with hand engraved details throughout. The project evolved as we went and I was pleased at my clients patients as I required shoulder surgery part way through the job. He opted to wait and have me see the project through to completion rather than have me take it elsewhere to have it finished. Thanks Martin. I carved the main body of the ring out of wax and had it cast in 14k white gold. I added 14k yellow gold details, including a removable stone bezel that I set from behind. By doing this the center stone can be removed for re-sizing or any other work or repairs that may be required in the future. It turns out that this ring is going to be my clients gift to himself for becoming a Canadian citizen, so his choice of what to get hand engraved was only fitting.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

slow and steady

In March of 2009 I posted a blog entitled, "dead things" where I asked for people to donate to me any small skulls that I could cast. I also asked for advice on removing flesh and cleaning skulls. This project has since turned specifically to the collection, cleaning, molding, and casting of birds. I've done some research and learned how to better deal with all the lovely dead birds that everyone has so nicely saved for me. I've been doing this project little by little, and bit by bit, I still have lots of work to do but I've got a pretty good little collection of interesting bird skulls, wings, and talons. I urge you to keep them coming. They can be nicely preserved in a zip lock bag in your freezer ( I like to double bag). Again please, I'm only interested in found birds, I don't want anyone actually killing anything. Please handle these finds with care as birds, especially dead ones, can have disease. I will be turning what I can into pendants and rings and earrings and other such treasures so there may be a reward for those who have donated to this project....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cuneiform ring

I was recently contacted by a client who wanted to commission a custom designed ring for a family friend as a high school grad present. I always find it very inspiring when someone comes to me with a project that has a great deal of thought and or meaning
behind it. This particular job contained both. I was informed that the recipient was deeply interested in ancient history, language, and art and that she had completed a school project involving cuneiform symbols. Essentially these were originally pressed into clay tablets as pictograms. Then they were refined to represent the pictograms and became one of the world's first written forms of language. Above are the cuneiform symbols, sounded out phonetically, for the word, "Hope" and this is the message my client wanted on the outside of a custom made sterling silver ring. As you can see, essentially this is a combination of triangles and lines. The cuneiform symbols were originally very uniform as a result of being pressed from the same object, often a reed. I wanted to have a similar result on the ring I made. My client also asked that it have hammer marks to resemble an ancient artifact. I began by carving the general ring size into a block of wax and used my reamer to shave the inside to the exact inside ring diameter. I then measured and marked out the desired
ring thickness and proceeded to remove the excess material. I then went about creating a template for the cuneiform text, I made a small triangle of wax and using an ink stamp pad I proceeded to stamp out the word for hope to the exact scale I needed it on a piece of paper. I wrapped
this paper on my finished wax ring and scribed through the paper and into the wax. Using dental tools I cleaned it all up and prepared my wax for casting. Once cast into sterling silver I filed and sanded the metal before adding the hammer marks that would aid in giving me an ancient look. I patina-ed the ring to add depth to the recessed symbols, and then polished it to a high shine. A personalized message was hand engraved on the inside in Latin and this inspiring piece was ready to be presented to it's new owner.
Happy Graduation Mariel.

Friday, April 29, 2011


D Gallery is proud to welcome local designer Mindan and her very popular Mindan's designs into the studio and Gallery. For years DuKo Designs has specialized in custom engagement rings and wedding bands and with the addition of Mindan's designs D Gallery is now your one stop jewellery shopping experience for all things bridal. Mindan's sleek and elegant designs are a stunning compliment to that special dress on your big day. Her designs are also very popular as gifts for bridesmaids. Local, handmade, and priced to give exceptional value, all her work can be seen by appointment at D Gallery or on her website

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

D Gallery Opening photos

I really wasn't sure what to expect, as I've never opened a gallery before. I did my part, the gallery was all set up , my sister's paintings looked amazing. The showcases sparkled with all the shiny pieces I had been laboring over. My new counter-top/ display unit, courtesy of my good friend at Wood Roots Furniture, looked absolutely stunning. I had balloons and a hand made sign out front, all I needed was guests. I didn't have to wait long as a steady flow of people started to stream in and before I knew it we were full and overflowing outside. Everything went very smoothly, I had exceptional help from exceptional people. The Kranky Cafe catered some delicious mini quiches for me. I had wine, and Red Truck delivered me a keg of their finest lager. The time seemed to fly by and before I knew it, it was time to start taking the show down. Thanks everyone that came out to support me. I only wish that I had had more time to visit with everyone. I look forward to doing it again, please let me know if you are an artist interested in doing a show....

Monday, February 14, 2011

The D Gallery grand opening was a huge success!! I had an amazing afternoon with all the friends and family and clients and well wishers that braved the Vancouver weather to come lend their support. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did. There are some great pictures of the event that I will post here soon....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Opening soon...

I've been dry-walling and painting, building walls, making signs and applying graphics... Oh ya, and making jewelery! I'm in the last week of what has been a very busy last few months but I'm just about ready. On Saturday February 12th at 1:00 I will be opening the doors of 'D' Gallery!!! Please come for a delicious Red Truck lager or a glass of wine and to view my jewelery as well as the paintings of Lindsey Kyoko Adams.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I can feel the love....

Please keep sending me photos of your jewelery pieces. Receiving a photo of a ring I've made in my in-box, all set up and cared for, really shows me how special these projects are to my clients... I usually only see a ring like this in a half finished state. As soon as I finish a piece, I photograph it and just like that it is gone. I like remembering it surrounded by sky and ocean much better than how I saw it, surrounded by wax shavings and metal dust....