Thimbles

Riccio Thimbles

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In the early 1980’s I became interested in making thimbles. Thimble making is a skill traditional metal smiths were proud of, and I also wanted to be a part of this heritage.

My first few thimbles were made for working. I decorated some of them with my own intricate patterns. My decorations were attracting a lot of interest and discussion. The thimble functionality was always my starting point, but for many collectors it was a secondary consideration. It seemed that placing more emphasis on the visual statement would be well received and give me more room to be creative. I began to view the thimble as an artistic statement.

Riccio Thimbles are cast in bronze using the “lost wax” casting technique.

About Bronze

Bronze is an alloy (mixture) of copper and other metals. Alloying metal is a way to improve its usefulness. Bronzes are mixed in many different variations which can effect strength, workability, and color. The knowledge and use of bronze in making things has been a part of civilization for thousands of years. Because of its beauty, durability and workability it has always been the metal of choice for making great works of art. I make thimbles as works of art. In keeping with tradition, I make them in bronze.

Making a New Design

When I design a new thimble, I must first make a model of it in wax. Model making is a meticulous step by step process that can take many hours. I use a variety of waxes that have different properties. Some waxes are hard and can be carved with tiny knives as one would carve wood. Other waxes are pliable, like toffee, and can be shaped with your fingers into flowing forms such as flowers. All waxes can be heated and melted together. Many simple parts can be joined to become a complex structure. The creative possibilities are infinite. Much effort is put into the concept and design before the model making begins. Sometimes, I will work on an idea for months before it reaches the work table. 

The Casting Process

When a wax model is finished, I add wax rods that will hold the model up and become channels in the mold. These channels are called gates. This assembly is placed into an empty stainless steel container about the size and shape of a coffee can. I then mix a plaster like “investment” powder with water to a consistency of pancake batter. I pour this into the container until the model is covered. In ten minutes the investment begins to harden. We now have a mold. The mold is then heated in a furnace to 1325°F. Inside the mold, the wax model melts and flows out through the gates. The resulting cavity inside the mold is the exact imprint of the original model, and the gates are now empty pathways. This technique is commonly called the “lost wax process”.

Now the mold is ready to receive bronze. I heat my bronze to around 2000°. At this temperature it is a thick liquid. I line up my crucible so that the bronze can enter the same pathways that the wax streamed out. To achieve the fine detailing of my castings, bronze is not simply poured, but forced with great pressure into the mold, using a very large centrifuge. After the metal has been injected, the mold is left to cool until it can be handled. To free the casting inside, the mold is hammered to break apart the investment. The metal gates are cut off and the casting is thoroughly cleaned and sanded. Polishing brings out the highlights and reveals the beauty of the metal. Various patinas are also applied to enhance or color the background. The casting is completed by a second polishing. Finally a lacquer may be applied to preserve the finish.

I have introduced a lot of ideas into the making of my thimbles. Small changes in philosophy have given rise to distinct visual styles. I also like to work on one of a kinds. This is a time to listen to that inner voice, explore more expansive compositions and press the outer limits of my expertise. The resulting creations tend to be more art than utility. My subject matter can vary widely: teddy bear acrobats, seascapes, toys and just about anything else. Ideas come from many sources and the possibilities are endless, but there is a down side. Making these exotic forms is very time consuming. As complicated as these pieces may appear, they all have a “thimble” as the core form.
At this point I have been making thimbles for more than 25 years. There have been many experiments and modifications in my approach. Through it all, my aesthetic sense somehow remains identifiable. If it is a Riccio design, it looks like one.

 

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Fusion Thimble Designed in 1983, Redesigned 1993

The Fusion thimble was one of my earliest designs. I intended it to be a working thimble. The first version had a flatter top. Shown above is the second version. The surface is embellished with a “fusion” of linear swirls and round forms. This is how it was named.

One on the left is the original version that Mr. Riccio gave us from his personal collection and the one on the right is the redesign in 1993.

 

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Wedding Thimble Designed in 1983

In early America it was customary for a girl to be given a set of thimbles as she approached woman-hood. Truly utilitarian objects, yet endearing, thimbles were often embellished and given as keep-sakes. A young man wishing to gain favor, could commission a silversmith to make a special one. Sometimes thimbles were used as engagement presents. One could be sized for the lady’s ring finger with the bottom collar as a band of silver or gold. For the wedding, the band was sawn off to become the ring and the thimble remained a valued treasure.

 

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Owl Thimble Designed in 1987

The Owl thimble came about by combining the shape of an owl with the shape of a thimble. The resulting shape is reminiscent of the old tree trunks that owls are often found in. The wings and legs are kept very close to the body. This kind of close placement is known as engaged forms. The heavy detailing brings out the personality of the owl.

It is inspired by the Japanese art form of Netsuke. Netsuke are large beads, traditionally made of ivory. They were placed on the end of purse strings and pulled through the sash of a belt so that the purse could not slip out. Netsuke carving requires great mastery of design and craftsmanship. This tradition continues to this day.

The two owls on the outside are the first version and the one in the center is the second version. The two outside owls are also 2 out of 25 he made.

 

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned owl With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics.

 

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Singer-sewing Machine Thimble Designed in 1988

One day, a thoughtful customer came up with a suggestion for a new thimble. “Make a thimble that looks like a spool of thread.” She was right. A thimble is all about sewing. I went to work on this idea and came out with the Singer Sewing Machine thimble.

This thimble pays homage to its heritage as a sewing tool. The sewing machine on top was the first portable machine sold under the Singer name. It sits on a wooden spool of thread. Sitting beside the sewing machine is a pair of scissors, two bobbins and a tiny dress that would fit a doll.

 

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The Singer Model 27 and later model 127 were a series of lockstitch sewing machines produced by the Singer Manufacturing Company from the 1880s to the 1960s. (The 27 and the 127 were full-size versions of the Singer 28 and later model 128 which were three-quarter size). They were Singer’s first sewing machines to make use of “vibrating shuttle” technology. Millions were produced. They are all steel and were built before the advent of planned obsolescence, and so they were designed to be repaired rather than replaced. Consequently many remain today, some in collections and others still in service. In company literature they were called “the woman’s faithful friend the world over.A model 27/127 coincidentally weighs 27 pounds (12 kg), plus the weight of its motor, treadle, or hand crank, its light, and its case or cabinet. Such a weight strains the meaning of the term ‘portable’, even when fitted with only a hand crank and minimal wood case. (Today’s laptop computers typically weigh 3 to 5 pounds (1.4 to 2.3 kg).) This quickly led Singer to produce a 3/4ths size version intended for portability, exactly as the White Sewing Machine Company was doing with its new 3/4ths size ‘Peerless’ machine

 

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Rose Thimble Designed in 1988

A representative from the Smithsonian’s catalog division found some of the new designs to be interesting. For a few years several of the thimbles made their way into the Smithsonian catalogs and were quite successful. One year, I had a request for a new thimble that would be suitable for the spring catalog. I had a few ideas and submitted them as sketches. A drawing was selected for its use of romantic flowers(roses and forget me nots). I went to work on it and created the Rose thimble. ( Excerpt from danielriccio.com )

We were lucky enough to acquire one of these rose thimbles ( the one on the right ) from the Smithsonian’s collection.

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Forget-me-not flower (Myosotis scorpioides) grows on tall, hairy stems which sometimes reach 2 feet in height. Charming, five-petaled, blue blooms with yellow centers explode from the stems from May through October. Flower petals are sometimes pink. Forget-me-not plants often grow near brooks and streams and other bodies of water which offer the high humidity and moisture that is desirable to this species. The perennial forget-me-not flower spreads easily, freely self-seeding for more of the wildflower to grow and bloom in shady spots where the tiny seeds may fall. Forget-me-not flower care is minimal, as with most native wildflowers. Forget-me-not plants grow best in a damp, shady area, but can adapt to full sun.

Roses are a type of flowering shrub. Its name comes from the Latin word Rosa.[1] The flowers of the rose grow in many different colors, from the well-known red rose or yellow roses and sometimes white or purple roses. Roses belong to the family of plants called Rosaceae. All roses were originally wild and they come from several parts of the world, North America, Europe, northwest Africa and many parts of Asia and Oceania. There are over 100 different species of roses. The wild rose species can be grown in gardens, but most garden roses are cultivars, which have been chosen by people.[2]

Over hundreds of years they have been specially bred to produce a wide variety of growing habits and a broad range of colours from dark red to white including as well yellow and a bluish/lilac colour. Many roses have a strong, pleasant scent. Most roses have prickles (incorrectly called thorns) on their stems. Rose bushes are able to tolerate a wide variety of growing conditions. The fruit of the rose is called a hip. Some roses have decorative hips.

Roses are widely used across the world as symbols of love, sympathy or sorrow.

Rose is widely used as a girl’s name. Also, roses protect themselves from other predators trying to hunt them with thorns, a widely known defense system.

 

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Lion Thimble Designed in 1990

I created the lion thimble being inspired by the Japanese art form of Netsuke. Netsuke are large beads, traditionally made of ivory. They were placed on the end of purse strings and pulled through the sash of a belt so that the purse could not slip out. Netsuke carving requires great mastery of design and craftsmanship. This tradition continues to this day.

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Majestic Lion

The lion has been a powerful ancient symbol for thousands of years.Ancient civilizations associated the lion with power and royalty and we can find this majestic animal on prehistoric cave paintings, ancient Sumerian and Egyptian artifacts dating back to 3000 B.C. as well as several ancient monuments like for example the marvelous lion gates in Hattusha, the capital of the kingdom of the Hittites. Mysterious and gigantic lion sculptures dated to the Hittite era are still puzzling scientists. Little is knows about these magnificent stones and why these lion sculptures were created.

 

Circus Thimble Designed in 1990

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Circus

Circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, dancers, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, magicians, unicyclists, as well as other object manipulation and stunt-oriented artists. The term ‘circus’ also describes the performance which has followed various formats through its 250-year modern history. Philip Astley is credited with being the ‘father’ of the modern circus when he opened the first circus in 1768 in England. A skilled equestrian, Astley demonstrated trick riding, riding in a circle rather than a straight line as his rivals did, and thus chanced on the format which was later named a ‘circus’. In 1770 he hired acrobats, tightrope walkers, jugglers and a clown to fill in the pauses between acts. Performances developed significantly through the next fifty years, with large-scale theatrical battle reenactments becoming a significant feature. The ‘traditional’ format, whereby a ringmaster introduces a varied selection of acts that mostly perform choreographed acts to traditional music, developed in the latter part of the 19th century and continued almost universally to be the main style of circus up until the 1970s.

 

Castle Thimble Designed in 1991

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Castle

A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrowslits, were commonplace.

A European innovation, castles originated in the 9th and 10th centuries, after the fall of the Carolingian Empire resulted in its territory being divided among individual lords and princes. These nobles built castles to control the area immediately surrounding them, and the castles were both offensive and defensive structures; they provided a base from which raids could be launched as well as protection from enemies. Although their military origins are often emphasised in castle studies, the structures also served as centres of administration and symbols of power. Urban castles were used to control the local populace and important travel routes, and rural castles were often situated near features that were integral to life in the community, such as mills, fertile land, or a water source.

Many castles were originally built from earth and timber, but had their defences replaced later by stone. Early castles often exploited natural defences, lacking features such as towers and arrowslits and relying on a central keep. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific approach to castle defence emerged. This led to the proliferation of towers, with an emphasis on flanking fire. Many new castles were polygonal or relied on concentric defence – several stages of defence within each other that could all function at the same time to maximise the castle’s firepower. These changes in defence have been attributed to a mixture of castle technology from the Crusades, such as concentric fortification, and inspiration from earlier defences, such as Roman forts. Not all the elements of castle architecture were military in nature, so that devices such as moats evolved from their original purpose of defence into symbols of power. Some grand castles had long winding approaches intended to impress and dominate their landscape.

Although gunpowder was introduced to Europe in the 14th century, it did not significantly affect castle building until the 15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break through stone walls. While castles continued to be built well into the 16th century, new techniques to deal with improved cannon fire made them uncomfortable and undesirable places to live. As a result, true castles went into decline and were replaced by artillery forts with no role in civil administration, and country houses that were indefensible. From the 18th century onwards, there was a renewed interest in castles with the construction of mock castles, part of a romantic revival of Gothic architecture, but they had no military purpose.

 

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Stars and Stripes Thimble Designed in 1991

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Frog Pond Thimble Designed in 1991

The Frog Pond thimble was designed to raise funds for the preservation of wetlands, an idea by the National Wildlife Federation. This thimble took the form of a diorama. The top of the thimble is a raft of lily pads. A frog sits on one of them and a tree stump sticks out indicating that this wetland is new. The side of the thimble is carved as a low relief. It depicts the pond beneath the lilies. ( excerpt from Dan Riccio website)

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Rainforest Thimble Designed in 1992

The Rain Forest thimble was another transitional piece. It went just a little further in expanding the top above the body of the thimble. A toucan and a tree stand in the open, above the thimble itself, which serves as a base. Many designs followed using the thimble in this pedestal fashion. The top assemblies grew ever taller and wider.

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Toucans

Toucans are members of the family Ramphastidae of near passerine birds from the Neotropics. The Ramphastidae family is most closely related to the American barbets. They are brightly marked and have large, often-colorful bills. The family includes five genera and over forty different species.

Toucans are arboreal and typically lay 2–21 white eggs in their nests. They make their nests in tree hollows and holes excavated by other animals such as woodpeckers—the toucan bill has very limited use as an excavation tool. When the eggs hatch, the young emerge completely naked, without any down. Toucans are resident breeders and do not migrate. Toucans are usually found in pairs or small flocks. They sometimes fence with their bills and wrestle, which scientists hypothesize they do to establish dominance hierarchies.

 

Teddy Picnic Thimble Designed in 1993

(Story Currently Unknown)

Did you know that the Teddy Bear was invented in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt? It all began when Theodore Roosevelt was on a bear hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi on November 14, 1902. He had been invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino, and unlike other hunters in the group, had not located a single bear.

Roosevelt’s assistants, led by Holt Collier, a born slave and former Confederate cavalryman, cornered and tied a black bear to a willow tree. They summoned Roosevelt and suggested that he shoot it. Viewing this as extremely unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear. The news of this event spread quickly through newspaper articles across the country. The articles recounted the story of the president who refused to shoot a bear. However, it was not just any president, it was Theodore Roosevelt the big game hunter!

A political cartoonist by the name of Clifford Berryman read the article and decided to lightheartedly lampoon the president’s refusal to shoot the bear. Berryman’s cartoon appeared in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902. A Brooklyn candy shop owner by the name of Morris Michtom saw the cartoon and had an idea. He and his wife Rose were also makers of stuffed animals, and Michtom decided to create a stuffed toy bear and dedicate it to the president who refused to shoot a bear. He called it ‘Teddy’s Bear’.

After receiving Roosevelt’s permission to use his name, Michtom mass produced the toy bears which were so popular that he soon founded the Ideal Toy Company. To this day the Teddy Bear has worldwide popularity and its origin can be traced back to Theodore’s fateful hunting trip in 1902.

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Thimble Letter Designed in 1993

Mr. Riccio designed this thimble for the thimble collection club for there 20th anniversary. Sadly the club disbanded shortly after he made this and the thimble now can no longer be made.

This was given to us from Dan Riccio’s personal collection.

 

Bull Frog Thimble Designed in 1995

I created the bull frog by being inspired by the Japanese art form of Netsuke. Netsuke are large beads, traditionally made of ivory. They were placed on the end of purse strings and pulled through the sash of a belt so that the purse could not slip out. Netsuke carving requires great mastery of design and craftsmanship. This tradition continues to this day.

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Bull Frog

The Bull Frog is an amphibious frog thats a member of the Ranidae family. It has an olive green back, sides blotched with brownish markings and a whitish belly spotted with yellow or grey. The males have yellow throats. They usually inhabit large permeant water bodies, swaps, ponds and lakes a long the water edge.

 

Carousel Thimble Designed in 1996

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Carousel

A carousel (American English: from French carrousel and Italian carosello), roundabout (British English),[1] or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The “seats” are traditionally in the form of rows of wooden horses or other animals mounted on posts, many of which are moved up and down by gears to simulate galloping, to the accompaniment of looped circus music.[citation needed] This leads to one of the alternative American names, the galloper. Other popular names are jumper, horseabout and flying horses.

 

Turtle Thimble Designed in 1997

I designed the turtle by being inspired by the Japanese art form of Netsuke. Netsuke are large beads, traditionally made of ivory. They were placed on the end of purse strings and pulled through the sash of a belt so that the purse could not slip out. Netsuke carving requires great mastery of design and craftsmanship. This tradition continues to this day.

Common Box Turtles can be found in dry regions occasionally, but they tend to thrive best in moist, forested areas with lots of brush. They are not aquatic, but will sometimes spend long durations of time in shallow water or mud.This turtle is found primarily in the eastern regions of the United States.
They prefer lightly moist regions in forested areas. They can be found as high north as Maine and as far south as Texas if the conditions are right.Common Box Turtles have a tall dome shape on the upper portion of their shell. They have a hinged shell as is common with box turtles. Their beak is down-turned. They can grow up to eight inches long. The shell of a common box turtle often has dark colors such as dark brown with spots of much brighter contrast, such as yellow or orange patterns.

Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) is a subspecies within a group of hinge-shelled turtles, normally called box turtles. T. c. carolina is native to the eastern part of the United States.The eastern box turtle is a subspecies of the common box turtle (Terrapene carolina). While in the pond turtle family, Emydidae, and not a tortoise, the box turtle is largely terrestrial.[3] Box turtles are slow crawlers, extremely long lived, slow to mature, and have relatively few offspring per year. These characteristics, along with a propensity to get hit by cars and agricultural machinery, make all box turtle species particularly susceptible to anthropogenic, or human-induced, mortality.

 

Cat Thimble Designed in 1998

(Story Currently Unknown)

Original version: The cat is licking its’ paw and a mouse sits beside it.

Revised version: The cat is holding the mouse which is no longer beside it.

 

Mad Hatter Tea Pot Thimble Designed in 1998

Mad Hatter, Tea Pot Thimble
This thimble was inspired by a theme from Alice in Wonderland. The tea party was a scene in which the main characters of the novel were all together. I started with a traditional shape of a teapot and placed the “door mouse” inside, poking out (as he did in the sugar bowl during the party). On one side I carved Alice, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. On the opposite side is one of my favorite characters, the elusive Cheshire Cat.

The door mouse can be seen inside the thimble from the bottom!

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Halloween Thimble Designed in 1999

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Halloween

Halloween is an annual holiday, celebrated each year on October 31, that has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

 

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Jerusalem Thimble Designed in 2000

(Story Currently Unknown)

The Lion of Judah is the symbol of the Hebrew tribe of Judah (the Jewish tribe). According to the Torah, the tribe consists of the descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. The association between Judah and the lion, most likely the Asiatic lion, can first be found in the blessing given by Jacob to his son Judah in the Book of Genesis.

The Star of David (✡), known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David (Hebrew מָגֵן דָּוִד; Biblical Hebrew Māḡēn Dāwīḏ [maːˈɣeːn daːˈwiːð], Tiberian [mɔˈɣen dɔˈvið], Modern Hebrew [maˈɡen daˈvid], Ashkenazi Hebrew and Yiddish Mogein Dovid [ˈmɔɡeɪn ˈdɔvid] or Mogen Dovid), is a generally recognized symbol of modern Jewish identity and Judaism.[1][page needed][full citation needed] Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles. Unlike the menorah, the Lion of Judah, the shofar and the lulav, the Star of David was never a uniquely Jewish symbol, although it had been used in that way as a printer’s colophon since the sixteenth century.

The Tree of Life, or Etz haChayim (עץ החיים) in Hebrew, is a classic descriptive term for the central mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism, also known as the 10 Sephirot, and the 22 Paths. Its diagrammatic representation, arranged in 3 columns/pillars, may derive from older sources and is not known to the earlier Jewish tradition.[citation needed] The tree, visually or conceptually, represents as a series of divine emanations God’s creation itself ex nihilo, the nature of revealed divinity, the human soul, and the spiritual path of ascent by man. In this way, Kabbalists developed the symbol into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of Creation.

The symbolic configuration of 10 spiritual principles (11 can be shown, of which – Keter and Da’at are interchangeable), Jewish Kabbalah usually refers to the symbol as the 10 Sephirot, while non-Jewish Christian Cabala and Hermetic Qabalah generally terms it universally as the Cabalistic/Qabalistic Tree of Life. This metaphor derives from Judaic Kabbalah, though is understood less universally. In the Jewish Kabbalist view, both of the two trees in the Biblical Garden of Eden, the Tree of knowledge of good and evil and the Tree of Life were alternative perspectives of the Sephirot: the full array of 10 as seen respectively from the last Sephirah Malkuth, and the middle Sephirah Tiferet.

 

Bird House Thimble Designed in 2004

Mr. Riccio came up with the design for the bird house thimble from watching the birds at his own bird houses at his house.

These pictures were taken by Dan Riccio himself from his porch.

 

 

Romance Thimble Designed in 2004

 (Story Currently Unknown)

There are two versions of the thimble. The earlier version has the couple from the inside can come out. He stopped making it like that because people kept losing the couple.This is the new version, that has the couple fixed inside.

Story told by Dan Riccio

 

Wild Stallion ThimbleDesigned in 2005

Several of my recent thimbles have taken of a more sculptural quality. The Wild Stallion thimble is a miniature statue. The setting is the American south west. A young stallion is savoring the thrill of the moment. He is leaping and spinning in whirlwind of motion. The thimble itself is a rock ledge. Native plants include a beaver tail cactus and a century plant. An old log is lies by the wayside. It is a silent reminder that youth is to be savored. A rattle snake crawls quietly below experiencing a different moment. The inside of the thimble contains a hidden treasure, the desert rose.

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Southwestern America

Desert Rose (scientific name is Rosa stellata) is a species of rose known by the common names  gooseberry rose, and star rose. In Texas this type of rose grows on dry rocky places to 6,500 feet (2,000 m), such as the Trans-Pecos. It occurs in the mountain canyons of Arizona and New Mexico. It has trifoliate leaves, deep rose purple blossoms and yellowish white prickles on the petioles and stems. Some horticulturists consider it to be a browse plant. Rosa stellata can be used as a groundcover or small shrub and grows best when partially exposed to sunlight. The purple flowers bloom in the summer and it typically grows to be between 16 and 24 inches tall.

Beavertail cactus or beavertail pricklypear (scientific name Opuntia basilaris), the, is a cactus species found in the southwest United States. It occurs mostly in the Mojave, Anza-Borrego, and Colorado Deserts, as well as in the Colorado Plateau and northwest Mexico. It is also found throughout the Grand Canyon and Colorado River region as well as into southern Utah and Nevada, and in the western Arizona regions along the Lower Colorado River Valley. Opuntia basilaris is a medium-sized to small prickly pear cactus, depending on variety, growing to about 60 cm tall, with pink to rose colored flowers. A single plant may consist of hundreds of fleshy, flattened pads. These are more or less blue-gray, depending on variety, growing to a length of 14 cm and are maximum 10 cm wide and 1 to 1.5 cm thick. They are typically spineless, but have instead many small barbed bristles, called glochids, that easily penetrate the skin. Opuntia basilaris blooms from spring to early summer.

Century plant  (Scientific nameAgave americana,) another common name sentry plant, , maguey or American aloe, is a species of flowering plant in the family Agavaceae, native to Mexico, and the United States in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Today, it is cultivated worldwide as an ornamental plant. It has become naturalized in many regions, including the West Indies, parts of South America, the southern Mediterranean Basin, and parts of Africa, India, China, Thailand, and Australia.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake or Texas diamond-back (Crotalus atrox) is a venomous rattlesnake species found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is likely responsible for the majority of snakebite fatalities in northern Mexico and the greatest number of snakebites in the U.S. No subspecies is currently recognized.

 

Virtue Thimble Designed in 2006

(Story Currently Unknown)

 

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Rabbit Thimbles Designed in 2006

(Story Currently Unknown)

Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world. There are eight different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species on Amami Ōshima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha. The male is called a buck and the female is a doe; a young rabbit is a kitten or kit.

 

Fiddler On The Roof Designed in  2007

Design based off musical/movie Fiddler on the roof.

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Mermaid Thimble Designed in 2009

(Story Currently Unknown)

Mermaids

A mermaid is a legendary aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.[1] Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, Africa and Asia. The first stories appeared in ancient Assyria, in which the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings. In other folk traditions (or sometimes within the same tradition), they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.

The male equivalent of the mermaid is the merman, also a familiar figure in folklore and heraldry. Although traditions about and sightings of mermen are less common than those of mermaids, they are generally assumed to co-exist with their female counterparts.

Some of the attributes of mermaids may have been influenced by the Sirens of Greek mythology. Historical accounts of mermaids, such as those reported by Christopher Columbus during his exploration of the Caribbean, may have been inspired by manatees and similar aquatic mammals. While there is no evidence that mermaids exist outside of folklore, reports of mermaid sightings continue to the present day, including 21st century examples from Israel and Zimbabwe.

Mermaids have been a popular subject of art and literature in recent centuries, such as in Hans Christian Andersen’s well-known fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” (1836). They have subsequently been depicted in operas, paintings, books, films and comics.

 

Elephant Thimble Designed in 2009

(Story Currently Unknown)

Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Three species are currently recognized: the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), the African forest elephant (L. cyclotis), and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; other, now extinct, members of the order include deinotheres, gomphotheres, mammoths, and mastodons.

All elephants have several distinctive features, the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water, and grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants’ large ear flaps help to control their body temperature. Their pillar-like legs can carry their great weight. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.

Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including Savannahs, forests, deserts, and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. Other animals tend to keep their distance from elephants while predators, such as lions, tigers, hyenas, and any wild dogs, usually target only young elephants (or “calves”). Females (“cows”) tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow.

 

Angel Thimble Designed in 2011

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Angels

An Angel is generally a supernatural being found in various religions and mythologies. In Abrahamic religions and Zoroastrianism, angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God or Heaven and Earth. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God’s tasks. Within Abrahamic religions, angels are often organized into hierarchies, although such rankings may vary between sects in each religion, and are given specific names or titles, such as Gabriel or “Destroying angel”. The term “angel” has also been expanded to various notions of spirits or figures found in other religious traditions. The theological study of angels is known as “angelology”.

In fine art, angels are usually depicted as having the shape of human beings of extraordinary beauty; they are often identified using the symbols of bird wings, halos, and light.

 

Hummingbird Thimble Designed in 2012

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are birds from the Americas that constitute the family Trochilidae. They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings which flap at high frequencies audible to humans. They hover in mid-air at rapid wing-flapping rates, which vary from around 12 beats per second in the largest species, to in excess of 80 in some of the smallest. Of those species that have been measured in wind tunnels, their top speed exceeds 15 m/s (54 km/h; 34 mph) and some species can dive at speeds in excess of 22 m/s (79 km/h; 49 mph).

 

Dragon Thimble Designed in 2013

(Story Currently Unknown)

Dragon

A dragon is a legendary creature, typically scaled or fire-spewing and with serpentine, reptilian or avian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures around world. The two most well-known cultural traditions of dragon are

The European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Balkans and Western Asian mythologies. Most are depicted as reptilian creatures with animal-level intelligence, and are uniquely six-limbed (four legs and a separate set of wings).
The Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan (namely the Japanese dragon), Korea and other East Asian and South Asian countries.[1] Most are depicted as serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence, and are quadrupeds (four legs and wingless).
The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries. The English word dragon and Latin word draco derive from Greek δράκων (drákōn), “dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake”

 

Light House Thimble Designed in 2017

(Story Currently Unknown)

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Light House

Light house structures are usually with a tower, built onshore or on the seabed to serve as an aid to maritime coastal navigation, warning mariners of hazards, establishing their position, and guiding them to their destinations. From the sea a lighthouse may be identified by the distinctive shape or color of its structure, by the color or flash pattern of its light, or by the coded pattern of its radio signal. The development of electronic navigation systems has had a great effect on the role of lighthouses. Powerful lights are becoming superfluous, especially for landfall, but there has been a significant increase in minor lights and lighted buoys, which are still necessary to guide the navigator through busy and often tortuous coastal waters and harbor approaches. Among mariners there is still a natural preference for the reassurance of visual navigation, and lighted marks also have the advantages of simplicity, reliability, and low cost. In addition, they can be used by vessels with no special equipment on board, providing the ultimate backup against the failure of more sophisticated systems.

 

** descriptions and introduction provide by Dan Riccio at http://www.danielriccio.com **