Recent Work

Dads Chess Set
chess-finishes-smaller.jpg John Dempsey (my father) was a well known inventor, artist and nuclear engineer. He designed and owned the patent on the gyroscopic mechanism that keeps reactors level in nuclear submarines, Designed many components of reactors that are still in use today all over the world. He also was a fine artist and his original training after WWII was in ceramics. He always had a passion for chess and in the late 50's and 60's carved this wonderful chess set, made molds from the carvings, and cast sets that he mainly glazed, but a few he bisque fired, and then hand painted them.

Over the years, all of the sets got broken and scattered. I wanted to preserve this design, so I called all my brothers and sisters, collecting pieces that were still intact. Out of the dozens of sets dad made, fewer than 8 pieces survived. One each of the characters. I carefully stripped the paint off the pieces I had salvaged, and found most of them had been repaired, and repainted multiple times!. I managed to get one each of the pieces in good enough shape to make a reference cast. I made a set of temporary molds, and cast several pieces in plaster, then touched up and re-touched details lost to time. Once I had a good set of masters, I made new high quality silicon molds from a forensic quality molding material. These pieces are pulled from those molds. The pieces have all the character of the originals, plus the surface patina and tension that 50 years of hard use have left on them. Click the image for a larger view.


The metallic pieces shown here have are cast in cold cast metal powder and resin. Copper and Bronze, then hand finished and highlighted with gold and copper leaf.
The bone / ivory pieces are cast in bone resin and hand finished to look like antique ivory or bone with slight touches of gold leaf.

Below is a set I made for my sister. She wanted a simple "aujus" set. So I cast this one with marble dust for the white pieces and copper powder and black dye for the black. The black pieces were then coated and polished twice with a brown metal wax. They have a wonderful brown sheen to them that makes them appear to be hand carved ebony.