Friday, 1 June 2018

Lots of Great Stuff Happening!

New Hi-Tech blades have been installed on all 3 saws and have descended into some kind of cutting frenzy.
I will try to post more pics on the weekend but here's a little "teaser".
This is a rock that Vickie found and she wanted me to cut it. I didn't really want to because it didn't look too hot on the outside:

But here's how it came off the saw (this is why I LOVE cutting rock):

There are some really nice flames in this agate as well as pockets of fortification and the odd crystal druzy so this is going to be a lot of fun to polish up and shape into some cabochons for pendants.

I should be able to get about 4 pieces 4 cm x 3 cm and will try to post a pic of at least one finished piece.

The number of visitors is picking up and several pendants have gone to new homes this week (which is bad news for me since I have to make more and that seriously cuts into my "sit on the deck and drink a beer" time)!
Hope to see you soon.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Not Bad For a Monday

After 2 days of rain and fog, today, holiday Monday, is beautiful!

We were asked to produce a piece to be used as a prize and the buyer selected the stone but gave us total control of the setting so here's what we came up with.

It's Mexican Crazy Lace with a nice live edge in two spots and set with 100% hand made copper findings. In fact, Vickie just taught me how to make the pieces on the side, called balled head pins and those are two I made this morning.
Why yes, I AM proud of myself!
We finished it off with a really nice red leather cord that I just got in stock and it picks up the red in the stone perfectly!
Our objective at The Artist's Mark is to create interesting pieces that bear the mark of the artist(s) and that are also beautiful and we have many more like this in our shop. So come on by and check us out!

Friday, 18 May 2018

Closed today

Due to a family commitment, the store will be closed today, Friday but will be open the usual hours tomorrow and Sunday. On Monday, we will be open from 9 am.
Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Art of Balance

What do you do when you are working with a stone that is "lopsided"- weighed more to one side? We did some tests and if we simply hung it (I wanted to tab set it on a copper back), it would hang on a slant.
So here's where it pays to be married to someone who is not only an artist, but a mathematician!
Vickie came up with this:

NO, this is not aboriginal art, but rather a backer plate design to balance the off- balance stone. Did I mention that Vickie is an abstract artist?
Here's the stone sitting on the copper backer plate:

I came up with the idea of creating a copper "tube" at the neck to hold the cord and now we simply had to distress the copper a bit and fold the tabs and the tube to produce the finished piece.

As you can see, it hangs absolutely vertically and this is how it looks from the back.

We added a beautiful, premium Greek leather cord (that picks up the stone's colour perfectly) and hand made copper clasps and after we distress the back copper a little more, it will be for sale in the shop for $85 Canadian.
I love solving these types of problems- especially when you have someone around to "do the math"!
The stone is set nice and solid and the colours and striking patterns are even more vivid in person.
It is interesting to note that this Mexican Crazy Lace just seems to go perfectly with copper and it was most likely collected near a copper deposit. In fact, it has a tiny area of oxidized native copper in it that creates a tiny bright green highlight.
Hope to see you soon!

P.S. I will be doing a blog post next week on our recent day trips to give you an idea of what you can do and see if you come to the Digby area so check back later!

Friday, 11 May 2018

First Pieces Using The New Machine

So I have been playing around with the new Hi-Tech slant lap, woorking on some straight faced specimens but finally decided to bite  the bullet and do a couple of cabs. I figures I might as well jump right into the deep end and use a couple of beautiful pieces of Mexican Crazy Lace and here's the result:

When I got it polished, I noticed that there is a little native copper in it.
There are a few scratches, due to the fact that the 180 grit wheel was a little rough because of being new but all in all I'm pretty pleased- especially by how well the shaping worked. This material also looks really nice back lit

So I'm going to have to set it in a way that light can shine through.
My second tumbler load will be finished tomorrow and there is some really nice stuff in there as well so I'll try to post a few pics.
Also, Vickie and I have been doing some day trips so next week I am going to do a post to show some of the things families can do when they visit the area.
Hope  to see you soon!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Closed Thursday

Just a note that the shop and rock lab will be closed Thursday May 3rd but will reopen on the Friday. As well, we will be open regular hours through the week and on weekends from now until the end of the fall.

Monday, 30 April 2018

My New Hi-Tech Slant Lap

Well, the new toy has arrived and after regrettably divesting myself of a few other toys, I now have space for it in the shop. I am not going to post a "How To" video since there are good ones on You Tube and the Hi-Tech web site but if there is interest, I might do another post showing how I use it to shape cabs. In the meantime, here it is "in situ" as we geologists say:

One thing I am going to show you is a trick I came up with for centering the diamond laps and pads perfectly on the backer plates since they have to be assembled. I was pretty worried that I might screw it up and get it off centre so I came up with a foolproof plan. Actually, since it worked perfectly for me four times in a row, we can probably upgrade that to idiot proof!
The backer plate has a hole and I started with a wooden dowel that was just slightly smaller. I am pretty sure it was a nominally half inch dowel but my caliper said it was exactly 0.43 inches. I then used black electricians tape to build it up until it fit snugly in the hole but didn't need to be jammed. This turned out to be a diameter of 0.48 inches. I had previously cut it to be about 2 inches long and here it is:

I then placed the backer plate on a flat surface with the face to be bonded to the lap pad facing up.

I placed the dowel in the hole and then cleaned the plate using a clean soft paint brush I stole from my artist/wife (who, hopefully, will never read this).

After taking the backing paper off the glued side of the pad, I applied pressure at two points on the edge to create a slight "U" shape.

And then I slowly lowered it down onto the dowel until the lowest part of the pad was touching the backer plate and pressed it down, working from the centre out.

In each case, my pad was slightly larger than the backer pad but the excess was perfectly uniform so will not be a problem. The holes match up perfectly.
For those of you who might want to add the foam pad as a cushion, I tried using the dowel to locate the hole properly (there was no hole on my pads). I simply put the cushion pad underneath a backer plate, put chalk on the end of my dowel and lowered it through the hole until it made contact with the foam and then turned it about 90 degrees. When I removed the dowel from the hole, the result was a perfect chalk circle which I could then cut with an exacto knife.
I hope this is of some use to someone and will shortly be showing you the results from this machine. But I also want to say a few words about the machine itself. First, every aspect is sturdily built. Secondly, since I will be doing a lot of cabbing on it, it was important to me because of my leg problems that I could sit comfortably and be able to see the stone from the side when shaping. The 8 inch Hi-Tech slant lap is perfect for me on both counts. If I could improve it in any way I would increase the size of the water reservoir. I will do so by dripping water into the reservoir from my own home built water tower. Also, I would include a holder for the Allen wrench as I had on my last lap so it had less chance to disappear.
And one disclaimer, I am not associated with the manufacturer in any way and, unfortunately, paid full retail for my unit.
But it was worth every penny!
Message or email me if you have any questions or observations and if you happen to get lost and end up on Digby Neck in Nova Scotia Canada, stop in and I'll show you it working in person!