Left: ebony | Center upright: paldao | Center flat: read oak | Right: zebrawood
So I’ve found myself another fun and interesting distraction. Bent wood rings. But first, allow me the courtesy of providing a little bit of backstory. See, when my wife and I got married, we didn’t want to have conventional gold or silver wedding bands. We wanted something a little bit more interesting. Ultimately, we opted for some that were made out of tungsten. They were dark, sturdy, inexpensive, and looked pretty badass.
That doesn’t mean that they were perfect, though. Tungsten is an interesting metal. It’s hard without being brittle. It’s so hard, in fact, that if the ring was stuck, but it was critical that it be removed (like a medical emergency), it couldn’t be cut through without harming the finger it’s on. Likely, the finger would need to be removed. I used to joke about it by saying, “That’s commitment.”
The other difficulty with tungsten as a ring is that it’s heavy. Much heavier than your typical wedding band. I used to joke about that, too. I’d say that the weight was there to remind me that I’m married. I didn’t really need the reminder, but I always got at least a courtesy laugh when I said that.
But after six years of wearing it, the weight is really what caused a problem for Heather. She actually had to stop wearing her ring regularly because it hurt her hand to keep it on for extended periods of time. Of course, we still weren’t about to dip into the realm of common conventional ring materials. So we looked around. What other things could rings be made of that would be light to wear and have at least a little bit of any interesting look?
Through a series of events that involved a snowstorm and a visit to an emergency veterinary clinic*, we stumbled across an interesting material: wood. That got us investigating. As Heather scrolled through a few websites with photos of bent wood rings, I said it.
Cherry with rose quartz inlay
“I could make that.”
“Sure. Bet I could even do that inlay thing in wood or stone.”
“Then do it.”
So since she called me on it, I’ve been working on making wooden ring experiments in my free time for the last month or so. I’ve got about 20 finished ones in nearly as many types of woods. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. And I discovered something. I actually like making these wooden rings.
Walnut with a hematite inlay
I mean, I regularly do all sorts of analog traditional art in addition to my digital work and writing. However, as someone who typically doesn’t wear any jewelry, I’ve never tried making some with any seriousness. I mean, in the past I’ve done wearable craftwork projects long ago—in leather and beadwork mostly—but those were mostly one-off things intended as gifts or to see if I could make them at all.
These wooden rings have started out that way, but now when I make them, I get genuine creative satisfaction I get as when I draw or paint. It’s an amazing somewhat disheartening realization. Amazing because, well, I’ve already explained that. Disheartening because I now have another exciting creative outlet that could potentially distract me from other projects. Balance and time management are going to continue to be a struggle.
But you know what? I think it’s worth it. It certainly beats the alternative of having no creative outlets at all.
So yeah. Now I have a new gallery on the Visual Stuff section of this site. I’ve included a few choice pieces for this post, but have a look there if you’re interested in seeing more. I’ll update the gallery as I make more, but you can also see them as I make them if you’re on my Daily Creative Facebook group, or if you follow me on Instagram.
Upright: zebrawood, turquoise, stainless steel | Flat: purpleheart
Oh, and as a bit of an epilogue to this, Heather has picked one as her new wedding band. It’s zebrawood with a stainless steel inner and an inlay of turquoise. Of course, I’ve discovered that her selection choice is fluid… often she lays claim to whatever my latest experiment is. Of course, I plan on making more of these, so she’ll have per pick as I keep going. 🙂
*It’s less interesting than it sounds. Our 13-year-old Labrador/Akita mix had a stroke and we found him laying outside, unable to get up from the ice (Georgia doesn’t get snow… not really), The emergency veterinary doctor had a ring that looked like it was made of wood with some kind of stone inlay.