Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review Time: Trudie Davies Designs Sterling Circle Pendent

A few weeks ago I won this lovely pendent during the design a pendent contest held by Trudie Davies Designs. The pendent is crafted from sterling silver and features designs that are stamped by hand into the metal. This pendent was personalized with the statement “Dare to Dream” surrounded by cute flower designs on the front and back of the pendent. 

Video Review: 

About the Artist:
Based in Melbourne, Australia jewelry artist Trudie Davies enjoys creating new innovative designs. Her work has been chosen for an exhibition as part of the Ring a Day/SNAG conference which will be held in Seattle during May of this year. Ms. Davies has 20 years of jewelry making experience. She uses her extensive knowledge to create quality art jewelry that speaks to the wearer. As someone with a deep passion for personalized jewelry she strives to provide unique pieces of art jewelry that tells the story of the wearer. 

My personal Opinion:
Trudie's pendent has become one of my favorites. This pendent looks well with both casual and formal outfits, and the inspirational message on the pendent is of personal significance. “Dare to Dream” is a statement that has many meanings for me. It inspires me to think outside of the box, to dream of who I truly want to be, and to become that person. It also encourages me to dream of a better world, one in which my dreams are a reality. And finally this simple statement reminds me of my Daddy's last piece of advise- don't be afraid to live outside the box, be eccentric, and live life to its fullest. He was truly a master of this, one of the qualities which made him so much fun to be around. Where others would find reasons to be discouraged in life, he would find reasons to enjoy life. There are always rays of light amongst the darkness. He saw the opportunity to uplift others, while at the same time working to change things for the better. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review Time: The Illusionist Locket

The Illusionist Locket is an original design created by woodworking artist Jim Anderson. He found his inspiration for this design in the transforming locket featured in the film “The Illusionist”. Although the scene depicting the locket in the film is brief, it has inspired many to try their hand at creating a working replica. However the scene is somewhat misleading, as two separate lockets were used in the film to achieve the locket’s transformation. This did not discourage Jim Anderson, who after watching the film set out to create a functional illusionist locket for his wife. Several prototypes later, he did what Hollywood could not- create a functional illusionist locket that held not one but two photos. His line of Illusionist Lockets feature many improvements that Hollywood could not dream of, showing the originality and genus of his design. 
The Locket's Components:
Each Illusionist Locket is hand-crafted from high quality materials and is built to withstand the tests of time. The components are custom made to ensure quality. Due to the time and skill involved in the making of the Illusionist Locket a brake down of its components is in order.

Transforming Butterfly:
The butterfly design on this locket transforms into a tulip when the locket is twisted from an oval shape into a heart (just like the locket featured in the film). These symbols were chosen not only for their beauty, but for their meaning as well. The butterfly is symbolic of true beauty, faithfulness, resurrection and transition. In Christianity it is also viewed as a symbol of rebirth. Tulips are symbolic of perfect love. And white tulips symbolize heaven, newness and purity. The inlays that form the designs are set into the wood of the locket, creating a design that will not wear off over time. Each inlay is custom made and is available in white acrylic, sterling silver, and solid 14k gold.

Lets Talk About Wood:
The locket featured in this review is crafted from cocobolo, an exotic wood that is imported from South America. Cocobolo is a heavy, dense wood that is very durable. It features rich tones and a lovely grain. As a woodworking artist Jim Anderson has a deep passion for the beauty and versatility that this wood offers. Each piece of wood chosen to create an Illusionist Locket is hand selected to ensure beauty and quality. His experience in woodworking leads him on the hunt for the most beautiful woods available. To ensure that the beauty of the wood will be preserved for many years wooden lockets are injected with a plastic polymer to stabilize the wood. The polymer gives the wood a smooth polished finish, that is very similar to glass and it makes the wood water resistant (personally I find these aspects very impressive). Illusionist Lockets are available in a variety of woods, and colorful acrylics. Lockets are available in three different sizes oval, slim and thin. The locket featured in this review is the thin style, Height :1.4" 35.5 mm Width: 0.7" 17.8 mm Thickness: 0.45" 11.4 mm Picture Diameter: 0.36" 9.1 mm

The bail of this locket (the loop which allows the locket to hang from a necklace) is very sturdy and durable. Bails used in illusionist lockets are high quality with a thickness that will allow the pendent to last for many years without needing to be repaired. Each bail is custom made from sterling silver, 14kt yellow gold, or 14kt white gold. The price largely depends on the components from which the locket it is made. The locket featured in this review sells for $220 USD featuring a sterling silver bail and is the most popular choice. Lockets that feature all gold components are around $360 USD. Given the quality and uniqueness of illusionist lockets they are well worth the price.
Bail Hole Diameter: 0.16 inches (4 mm)

On his website Jim Anderson also offers a variety of leather necklaces to wear your locket on. The necklace featured in this review is crafted from smooth brown leather and features a sterling silver lobster claw clasp. Necklaces range in price depending on the type clasp you choose starting at $10 USD for sterling silver and $25 for solid 14k gold.

What's Included?
Each locket includes a beautiful gift box, picture punch, double sided tape, instructions, and a Certificate of Authenticity. Everything needed to add your photos to the locket is included.

Gift Box:
The locket featured in this review arrived in a beautiful gift box. This box is very useful for storing the locket when you are not wearing it. Usually I do not review the box included with a piece jewelry, but this box is not your ordinary gift box.

Picture Punch:
The picture punch included with the locket is heavy and durable. It allows you to easily cut pictures to the exact size to fit perfectly into the locket.

Step by step instructions are presented in an easy to follow and understand format. Making adding pictures to your locket a simple task.

Certificate of Authenticity:
Each locket is a hand-crafted work of art and is numbered with a Certificate of Authenticity.

How It Works:
Opening the illusionist locket is almost a magical experience, as the components flip themselves into the desired locations with ease. You maybe asking yourself “how is this possible?”. Although the locket's transformation seems mysterious, its functioning is due to a very complex and well constructed design. Ten tiny, yet power magnets work to repel or attract each other allowing the locket's components to flip into the desired locations. The locket also contains five locating balls which precisely align the pieces of the locket into place. When the locket is twisted the parts move into the various configurations smoothly and without catching (regardless of how many times the locket is opened). The internal picture frames within the locket are surrounded by decorative hand-crafted brass. Aside from the decorative purpose of the frames they also provide a rotation housing which privets the locket making its transformation possible.

The Locket in Action - Video Review: 

As shown in the above video, the lock's transformation from an oval to a heart shape is truly amazing. No other locket on the market has this unique feature. Now that you have seen the illusionist locket in action check out the video below of the locket in the film “the illusionist”.

Hands down Jim Anderson's design wins out over Hollywood. 

About the Designer:
For over 27 years Jim Anderson has worked as a Mechanical Engineer in Boise, Idaho. He is also an inventor and entrepreneur with over 19 patents relating to disc and tape drive technology. In addition to his love for designing complex mechanical parts he also enjoys woodworking in his home studio where he and his family create illusionist lockets. Mr. Anderson has combined his love of wood working and his skill as an engineer to create Illusionist Lockets LLC a family owned and operated business, devoted to his amazing lockets. 

Illusionist Lockets LLC http://www.illusionistlocket.com/

My Personal Opinion:
Personally I feel that Illusionist Lockets are truly unique, as I have never seen any locket that draws my attention the way this locket has (I can't stop holding and twisting the locket, it is very additive!). The precession, craftsmanship and heirloom quality of the locket are superb. Every aspect of the locket down to the smallest detail is well designed, allowing the locket to function with ease.  Illusionist Lockets are a wonderful way to keep your loved ones close, and preserve their memory for generations. They are also wonderful pieces of wearable art, as each one is unique.

Check out Illusionist Lockets LLC at http://www.illusionistlocket.com/ for more beautiful lockets.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Risen Phoenix Designs: Original Artworks

Risen Phoenix Designs is an Etsy shop I created for my artwork. For a limited time Review Time's readership will get 10% off all purchases in my shop by using the following code at check out  Code: REVIEWTIME10     

Follow Risen Phoenix Designs Facebook or Twitter:
If you enjoy my artwork please follow Risen Phoenix Designs for updates on the latest paintings, coupons, and giveaways.

Art Preview:
Below are a few of my painting listed on Etsy. Each painting is an original artwork created with quality watercolor pencils, acid free ink and a variety of watercolor paper. All paintings are shipped in envelops with cardboard backing to prevent damage during shipment.