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When is a fly not a fly?

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When is a fly not a fly? When is a fly not a fly?

Shawn Davis, tier of artistic salmon flies, has begun creating flies to the standard of fine jewelry. The hallmark of his new flies are his hooks, handmade from solid 18K gold. His flies are tied with silk flosses, the finest plumage, and solid gold tinsels. The head of each fly is finished with an inlay of his initials, also handmade from solid gold. 

A close-up showing the intricate detail of Shawn's 'Water' fly which includes his initial in solid gold.

Davis has just released his first three jewelry-quality patterns to the public. His first fly, Revolution, is a statement of his artistic vision, to achieve beauty through simplicity. The fly features a sleek sparseness of materials in black and gold, each spiraling around the hook such that the stationary fly looks as if it is moving when viewed from different angles. The fly's tailing, tinseling, and winging all occur in sets of three rather than the conventional two, placing this decidedly three-dimensional fly in stark contrast to the stiff, upright classics of the Victorian Era.

His other two patterns, Fire and Water, are tied to represent those antitheses. Fire, tied in bright reds, oranges, and yellows, features feathers and tinsels shaped like flames emanating from the head of the fly. The subtle dyeing and shaping of the pheasant crest feathers that form the wings make it truly look like a fly afire. 

Displayed in a glass dome, these flies make an amazing and exclusive centrepieceWater is more reminiscent of the classic flies of the Victorian Era and is more apt to appeal to traditionalists. Tied in complimentary shades of blue and green, it attempts to convey the paradoxical beauty and power of water. The highlight of this fly are the peacock breast feathers that veil the sides of the fly, accented by brilliant green impeyan pheasant eyes.

Davis's Fire and Water together represent the first half of a study on the four elements of the ancient world; still to come are flies representing Earth and Air. And while his first flies are completely original creations, Davis also has plans to tie jewelry-quality versions of classic patterns.

With prices starting around $1200, Davis's flies are likely to be admired by more fishermen than fish, and come mounted in handcrafted display domes for that purpose. He also sells photographs of his flies, with a variety of framing options, for between $100 and $300.

Davis's work may be viewed and purchased at www.davisflydesigns.com.

Editors note - if you are a fly tier it is really worth checking out the website to see the other flies in close up!

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