Saturday, 17 August 2019

Summer on The Neck

We are in an extended period of beautiful weather finally and this was the view from our deck this morning.

The great Blue Herons are still around and very often we will see one or more out there catching breakfast.

The shop has been really busy of late and I am in the process of finishing some cabochons to fill some of the empty displays.

In my last post, I showed a couple of local rocks that I had cut. Since then, I've cut some slices and Vickie has created some shapes and I have begun to finish them and I must say, it is beautiful material. The first one I did was to fit in an empty silver plate ring bezel I had. In this picture I show it in the bezel but I still have to grind a bit off the back to even it up and then I will raise it up so it sits more outside the bezel but I think you can see the beauty of this stone. It is a local plume agate and it polished like glass. I can hardly wait to work on the other pieces I have ready to go. here's the picture.

In a subsequent post, I'll take you through the whole process so you can see how a rough stone ends up as a piece of jewelry.

Cheers! And if you are in the neighbourhood, stop by and I'll be glad to show you both the store and my shop.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Why I Love Cutting Rock- Edition #647

To say the least, it has been a very unusual summer.

Right now, we are getting the weather we normally get in late June and tourism reflects this. Up until about three weeks ago, we had had few visitors to The Neck but since then, it has been very, very busy.

Vickie has been in her studio most days working on what she calls "mark making"- basically experimenting with the use of various items to make paint and ink marks on paper- you know- the kind of stuff you did in kindergarten (heh,heh). But she has been able to bring me a few treasures and recently I got the time to cut a few. She has a real knack of sensing when a fairly mundane rock will look amazing on the inside and here are a few examples.

From here, I'll be cutting some slabs, defining some shapes and grinding and polishing some cabochons for next year's jewelry. Hopefully, I'll post some pics later in the fall.

I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people over the last little while including a very special couple from Florida. When somebody gets out of their vehicle wearing a Florida Gator t-shirt, I know I have met a kindred soul.
Cheers Earl and Rosellen! I'll be thinking of you in a few weeks when we kick off vs. Miami!
Go Gators!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

New Items In The Shop

Well, after wreaking havoc here for a few weeks, daughter Lisa is now winging her way back to the Bahamas but not before infecting her mother with a new passion- making bowls from clothes line cord! She is experimenting with different shapes and sizes and we came back from Halifax yesterday with about 5 miles of the stuff!
Here's a pic of some of the newest items.

This picture features three of the bowls along with two small paintings Vickie recently finished.
Also in the picture are the following:
Daughter Sandra's newest Mitchell Brook creations-a "Resatchel"- the perfect tote for you and the environment. Totally made from beautiful recycled fabric, it folds small enough to take anywhere but is large enough to hold all your stuff. She is also making the personalized leather coffee cup holder seen in the lower right hand corner. They are really something to see!
Also in the photo is a sterling silver ring I made using a piece of mookaite, a jasper from Australia, and a sampling of Vickie's latest knitting patterns.
The shop has also been totally restocked with Lisa's latest hand dyed yarn so if your travels take you to "The Neck" come by and say hi and pick up your free tumbled rock.
And if you have a few minutes, I'll show you what a professional lapidary shop looks like.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Latest output from the Rock Lab

OK, so I haven't posted for a bit but it has been a little hectic around here. We had visitors from Vancouver Island and a few days later daughter Lisa arrived. Then daughter Sandra joined us for a few days along with Lisa's daughter Sydney and Sandra's son Erik.
Are you getting all this?
As well, the tourist traffic has picked up so I have been busy selling.
But since I have a fair bit of finished local stone, I thought I'd do something with a few beautiful slabs Vickie brought back from out west. So first she defined shapes on the slabs that she thought were the most interesting and then I cut them out, ground them to their final shape and polished them and here are the results. The first pic is a group of cabs made from an Australian stone called Mookaite that my Aussie friend Ted brought me on one of his visits. He was actually born in Montreal but lives there permanently now.
This stone is a very hard type of Jasper and because of that, polishes beautifully, showing amazing colour and patterning.
The next lot is cut from a slab of petrified wood brought to me from my friend Glenn Cook from Arizona. It too is extremely hard and takes a great polish that highlights the amazing organic patterning.
Vickie was in Kelowna last year and visited Black Mountain Artisans owned by the Rembrandt of lapidary machine restoration, Carey Sirhan. You should really check out his restored machines that are truly works of art. In any event, he parted with two treasures. The first is a gorgeous specimen of Picasso Jasper (which is actually a form of limestone), a stone that gets its name from its striking patterning.
She also brought back a small slab of a rare commodity called Biggs Jasper, found at Biggs Creek. This stone started life as a volcanic mud that cooled on the surface of one lava flow and was soon covered by another. These stones are truly beautiful and rare and are going to make some spectacular pieces!
They actually look more like mahogany than stone.
And finally, I finished a few more local pieces and a nice moss agate to round out the lot.
So now it's time to let the wheels cool off and clean the place up, making sure to carefully collect the sludge so Vickie can make more paint! I certainly have an interesting winter ahead of me!
When finished, these pieces will be available in the store or on line at the Seawall Fibres web site but if a particular piece "speaks to you" let me know and if it is still available, I would be happy to do something custom for you.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Am I Now in the Paint Business?

Because the weather has been so lousy of late (don't worry folks, a great summer lies ahead!) I decided to clean some of my lapidary equipment.
When I tumble or cut rock I generate a lot of "sludge" - rock dust mixed with water. The other day Vickie saw me cleaning up and asked what I do with it and when she found out I just dumped it (in an environmentally correct way of course) she said she wanted all I could give her.
As most of you know, she is a mixed media artist and apart from the solid black and white areas, this entire study was done with paint she made from my sludge!

Since seeing this, I've told her that the price of sludge has gone up- WAY up!! I'm thinking, though, that a better way to go might be to talk her into doing the cleaning for me so she could make sure that the sludge is being collected properly.Any thoughts?
Recently we have had visitors from China, Namibia, France, Austria, British Columbia and even Weymouth (inside joke) and holes are starting to appear in the displays so party's over- time to get back to work!

Monday, 10 June 2019

Summer Comes to Digby Neck

As usual, spring lasted about a week and summer is now upon us. All the signs are there- apple trees in full blossom, warmer temperatures, grass growing like crazy, sunsets at around 10 PM and lots of funny licence plates in town!
Recently, we have greeted visitors from China, Germany, Australia and even Weymouth (local joke)!
My new Hi-Tech saw is here and I have done some cutting and when I get the block of needed time and an assistant to handle the camera, I'll do a blog post on it.
But for now, I want to show you a few pieces I have been working on. Since I have an ample supply of copper wire in all gauges, I decided to see if I could make rings using just the wire. My first piece was a little gem of petrified wood (non-local) that I set using 14 gauge wire. That's a quite heavy, stiff wire but the results were pretty good:
In fact, they were too good because my "model" refused to give it back!
I then shifted to a 15 gauge, using a nice piece of Mexican Crazy Lace and it also worked well.
So I am going to work on maybe trying a thinner gauge and doing some local stones.
The typical moss agate found on Digby Neck is a golden brown colour and this piece I just finished is a good example of that. But what makes this stone special is the matrix.
Normally, the matrix is clear (quartz or smoky quartz) but I have looked at this in several different lights and the "clear" areas are definitely lavender so I am thinking probably amethyst.
 This is the first time I have ever encountered this here so I will wait until daughter Lisa arrives and teaches me how to make a nice silver bezel for this one.
I am now on my 8th batch of tumbled stones so there are some great new pieces in the free box for you to take home when you visit.
Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Some Beautiful Nova Scotia Stones

So while I am waiting for my new 10 inch saw, I decided to cut a few smaller pieces with my 6 inch trim saws. Here's what I got.

I'm pretty sure the blue in the second picture is Pietersite and I love the patterning in the 3rd. Visits are starting to pick up in spite of the poor weather and we are seeing a lot more strange looking licence plates in town.