Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Latest Creations

While it has been a pretty benign winter to date, it is still too cold to do much in the lapidary shop so the focus shifts to the jewelry bench. Over the past months, we have been busy creating items for sale on our new on-line venture- The Seawall Emporium. First, we created a number of pendants featuring beautiful petrified wood from Arizona.

Then we started working on copper pieces and made everything from the simple to the complex.

The REAL Viking artist taught me how to make Viking Chain and we made several beautiful bracelets.

And recently, we started working with an exciting new material- used guitar strings! These strings are amazingly complex and have characteristics that offer exciting design opportunities.

We were so excited we formed a new collection- The Phoenix Collection- to celebrate the potential for this upcycled material. It can be used for lightweight earrings (above) as well as more elaborate pendants and necklaces (below). In fact, we're just starting to explore the possibilities!

And we even had time to create some commissioned pieces.

So what's next? Well, the days are getting longer and soon we'll be back on the machines. I have a big backlog of rock to be slabbed. We have decided to open the Artist's Mark Shop this summer and while we don't expect as many visitors as in previous years, we look forward to meeting some new friends so if your travels take you to Nova Scotia, look us up!

Monday, 9 November 2020

An Exciting Announcement

 In the five years we have had our shop open on Digby Neck, literally thousands of people have come through the door and many have left with one or more of our pieces. Often, they or their friends contact us later about purchasing items online.

Although there have been no cases of the Covid virus in our area, we were unable to open this summer because of government restrictions and we really missed greeting new guests.

                     Introducing The Seawall Emporium

Our daughter Lisa, has established herself as a world class hand dyer of premium yarns which are sold through her company, Seawall Fibres. We sold thousands of skeins through our shop and since she already had an on-line presence, we decided to piggyback on it.

At the Seawall Emporium, you will find four small shops belonging to artists and craftsmen driven by quality and uniqueness.

At Lisa's store-Seawall Fibres, you will find an extensive and beautiful selection of hand dyed yarn in all weights.

If you are a knitter or know a knitter, you owe it to yourself to check it out!

Then there is Mitchell Brook where Sandra Mitchell offers her selection of premium goods geared to travel and leisure. She often creates what she can't find so you will be sure to find something truly unique such as these beautiful key chains containing gemstones from the Seawall on Digby Neck.

Next, you come to Seawall Art. Vickie Turner is a mixed media abstract artist recognized as a signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artist but she literally creates everything! Since she is also an acclaimed teacher in the field of polymer clay, you will find gorgeous, museum quality jewelry along with fine art, whimsy and, from time to time, the artist's own "secret stash"!

And finally, there's The Lap of Lapidary, where retired geologist Peter Turner turns gemstones into rock jewelry and unique and beautiful stone guitar picks.

So take a step back in time and visit the Seawall Emporium- where there is no need to wear a mask or practice social distancing. Grab a cup of your favourite beverage and visit four unique shops, all from the comfort of your own home.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Time To Move To "Studio B"

 Well, the days are getting shorter (and cooler!) and the sun is rising farther south each day so it is almost time to shut down the machines in The Lap of Lapidary and move to my little corner of Vickie's studio (she's the REAL artist!) to start fabricating new pieces from the stones I have finished. This winter I intend to do a lot of metal work and one thing we needed to address was the lighting. We were getting by on a hodgepodge of fluorescent, incandescent and halogen and it was sometimes dark and difficult to take good pictures. 

So yesterday we installed halogen track lighting with 18 lights and boy was it worth it- even the cats approve!

Here's a video of the end result.

I also intend to make several more pieces incorporating used guitar strings. The customer was very pleased with the first one and I really like the way it works with larger stones. It actually makes them feel lighter.

Here's the first one in its new home.

For this one I used a steel string and combined it with an antique sterling silver bail that matched perfectly. Who knows, I might even try to weave a bracelet! All these pieces will be available at our new web site- the Seawall Emporium- when it is up and running in a week or so. I'll keep you posted.

Stay healthy and sane!

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Time to Shut Down The Cab King

 Half way through the summer I bit the bullet and bought a Cab King cabbing machine and it has exceeded even my high expectations!

It was so much fun that even the lady with the agate eye tried it out!

But now the days are getting shorter and it's getting pretty chilly in my Lap of Lapidary Shop so it's time to shut 'er down and do a clean up and let me tell you, it will be a lot easier with the Cab King! I may even be able to con "The Real Artist" into helping if she wants to collect the rock dust to make pigment!

My last task was to finish a bunch of local Bay of Fundy agate and jasper I had rough cut earlier and I have to say they turned out even better than I had hoped! The Cab King is awesome!

I also finished off some more petrified wood so there will be lots to work with on the jewelry bench when the snows are being blown around by our winter gales. And speaking of that, we are going to get a visit from Hurricane Teddy on Tuesday with wind gusts supposed to top out at 130+ KPH so that should be exciting!

Work is continuing on our new web site- the Seawall Emporium- and I have about 35 pieces ready for photography with a goal of having 50 listed by the end of October so stay tuned!

Stay healthy and sane!

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

The Eye of the Tiger

 Summer is gradually coming to a close and the sun is appearing farther south on the horizon every morning. The mornings aren't yet cold enough to turn on heat but we're getting there.

The good old Lot-O-Tumbler is doing its last load for the year and once I have worked a few stones for "She Who MUST Be Obeyed" I'll start cleaning the machines and the Lap of Lapidary will be shut down except for the drill press that I'll continue to use for metalwork through the winter.

Last year I participated in a little product research for Hi-Tech Diamond, a great American lapidary equipment company and as thanks, they gifted me with a beautiful thick slab of Tiger's Eye. This material appears to be the type formed by altered asbestos or chrysotile so I call it the ugly duckling. It starts life as an ugly, potentially dangerous mineral and, after it has been altered by silicate fluids, it becomes an amazingly beautiful gem rock that exhibits "chatoyance" or a shimmer of light that causes the stone to look different as it moves. It's an amazing, complex process that I won't go into here but the results it produces are visually stunning.

When I got the slab, I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it. It was large enough for me to get 3 pendants and thick enough for me to do a complete drop- that is curved surface front and back. I needed 3 pendants of differing size- the largest for Vickie my wife (she with the agate eye), a medium sized one for my older daughter Lisa and a smaller one for daughter Sandra- the runt of the litter.

First step was to define the shapes using a magic marker and doing a rough cut of the slab. I used my 10 inch Hi-Tech saw because the slab was so thick. Then I ground out the outside shapes on my new (and much loved!) Cab King cabbing machine.

Next, while the stones still had flat surfaces front and back, I located the mid point and cut a groove around the perimeter as shown in this stone, using a machine with a 1 mm. bit that lets me cut horizontal grooves.

The groove holds the wire I use to set the stone and doing it with a flat surface lets you make a nice straight cut. I like using this technique because it doesn't interfere with the colour or patterning of the stone.

Then it was back to the Cab King to grind the curved shapes on both sides, smooth them out and then polish with a mixture of tin and cerium oxide. I love the results!

I used bronze wire to complement the golden yellow of the stones and now the girls just have to decide what they want me to hang them on. Here's a video showing the effect of chatoyance but in all honesty, it is much more pronounced in person.

I hope you enjoy this and now it's on to new adventures. We have almost completed work on our new web site and enterprise- the Seawall Emporium- and I am now figuring out how I can incorporate old guitar strings in my creations so stay tuned (get it?)  and stay sane and healthy!

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Latest From the Lap of Lapidary

I really miss all the tourists but must confess we are enjoying the slower pace of life this summer. The lady with the agate eye has been up to her old tricks and brought some beauties home with her yesterday, including these two:

Today I fired up the 10 inch Hi-Tech saw and this is what they looked like on the inside. First, the one with all the amethyst druzys:

and here is the second one:

I have to admit, they didn't disappoint. Both the colour and patterning are amazing. And while I was at it, I cut a few more of yesterday's treasures. Here's how they look, outside and inside:

Right now we're hard at work getting our expanded web presence set up for the fall. Look for great things coming from the  Seawall Emporium. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Wire Wrapping Grooved Stoned

 Today I'm going to show you how I wire wrap pendant stones that have been grooved around the edge. I'll use the three stones I featured in yesterday's video. Actually, I'll use two of the three as one had a small chip come off in the groove cutting process and the customer chose a new stone.

A few words about the video. First you will notice that the venue has changed. That's because I'm working on my assembly bench located within the spacious confines of the studio belonging to the real artist in the family- Vickie. And secondly, I apologize for the overuse of the phrase "So now" as well as the phantom voice over "one" that my highly trained videographer threw in. You truly do get what you paid for!

Several people have pointed out that the third tip was missing from yesterday's video so I included it at the beginning of today's. I'd like to say that I did it as a teaser but it was just a glitch. Hey, I'm old!

So here goes:

The results were very satisfying as I ended up with three stones that are very tightly wrapped and look awesome. So the next step will be to choose the leather cords. Stay tuned.

Today's Output- 3 wire wrapped Petrified Wood Cabs