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  • Who is the artist? And who helps get all this done?
    My name is Tim Garvin, and I have been working in ceramics and metal for over 40 years. I look at the world in detail, noting intricacies, contrasts, and rhythms of color to find and elaborate design. The extreme detail and intense color in my work results from the use of over 500 different colors of clays in a technique known as the millefiori (see above). I work in my studio with my wife, Cynthia Drake, as general manager, chief critic, and kind heart.
  • What is millefiori and how do we use it?
    Millefiori, literally Italian for “thousand flowers,” is originally an ancient technique of combining colored glass rods to make canes of color. Cross-sections were (and still are by artists throughout the world), combined, sliced, and used to create beads, paperweights, vases, etc. This technique was brought to high distinction on Murano, an island in the lagoon of Venice, in the middle ages but was used far earlier by the Romans and Egyptians, with some archeologists dating its inception as far back as the first millennium B.C. The use of colored clays in the same way, called neriage or nerikome in Japan, is a ceramic application of the technique.
  • What are your materials and findings?
    We use the best jewelry findings available. Our surgical stainless posts are nickel free and hypoallergenic, and our French hooks are sterling silver. Our eyehook and bail findings are our own custom design and are made of silver-plated brass or pewter. Our snake chain is domestically made with quality lobster claw catches and two inch extender chains. Our rubber chokers are first quality and equipped with two inch extender chains as well.
  • What about durability and breakage?
    While our work is as durable almost as stone, like all ceramic and glassy items, our ceramic pieces will sometimes break when dropped on a hard surface. If you put our jewelry on over a carpet instead of the bathroom tile or sink, you’ll be handing it down to your grandchildren! Our Poppy and framed lines are well-protected in metal frames and never suffer breakage.
  • Do you make clips?
    Yes, clips are available in rectangular posts, delta dangles, mountain dangles, swan dangles, lyre dangles, and all framed dangles. The rectangular post clips are sturdy brass with an adjustable spring.
  • How do you ship? And what about returns? Damage claims?
    We ship domestically via the US postal service and internationally through Fedex, UPS, or DHL. To return an item, email or call within two days of delivery, and we’ll give you instructions. Any returned item must be in good condition and on its original card. Damage claims must be made via email within two days of delivery.
  • Why the name "Blue Bus"?
    It comes from the life of Meher Baba (1894-1969), whose life and work has been a source of great inspiration to us. In 1938 Meher Baba and a group of his close associates began a lengthy tour of India in a small blue bus. Like all the great ones, his message can be summed up this way: the goal of life is to free ourselves in the love of God. There’s plenty of information about Meher Baba on the internet and YouTube.
Tim Garvin and his wife Cynthia

Tim and Cynthia at the
Meher Center, 2013.

Artist Statement

I grew up on a wilderness coast 24 miles north of Juneau, Alaska. There were whales in the front yard and bears in the back and wild beauty everywhere. Now, as an artist, those vivid, natural colors inform my work. My jewelry is completely handmade using numerous ceramic and metal techniques. I even use the new three dimensional modeling technology and 3D printing to create the originals of my framed pieces. The extreme detail and intense color in my ceramic work results from the use of over 500 different colors of clay in a technique known as millefiori (also called neriage). In this technique, carefully designed loaves of clay are formed from colored porcelains. Next, cross-sections are sliced from the loaves, and these sections are shaped and finished into individual pieces. After sanding and careful finishing, the piece is glazed and fired. Thus, the color you see in my work is the color of the clay itself, deepened and enriched by a layer of pure glass . On many pieces, 23+ karat platinum edging is applied, and the piece receives its final fire. I make beauty from dust, a joy for me and, I hope, a joy for you.

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