Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Finally- Dump Day!

So after a one day delay due to high winds, Dump Day has finally arrived! I would advise some of my friends, (you know who you are Cal and Ted!) to read that again- carefully. It is not "Take a Dump Day"!
Dump Day marks the official, legal opening of the lobster season here on Digby Neck.

The lobster traps have been loaded and on board for several days but at midnight Tuesday (morning), the boats were able to leave port.

The ship above seems to be listing a bit under its heavy load of traps.

At just past midnight, there is a string of ships leaving Sandy Cove (these pics are from last year) and head out to the lobster grounds. There, the ships will do the initial "Dump" of their traps or pots as they are sometimes called, all baited and waiting for the lobster to step inside.

This is a very important day locally as lobster fishing is a big part of our economy. And even with all the latest advances in hydraulics, navigation and safety, it is still a hard and dangerous job so the next time you are enjoying a lobster meal (after complaining about the cost), think of these fishermen, doing what lobstermen (and women) have done for untold centuries, heading out to the unknown to bring the bounty of the sea back to us on shore.
So next summer, why not make plans to visit Digby Neck, a spectacularly beautiful, interesting and totally unique part of Nova Scotia. You won't be disappointed.
And when you do, come and visit us here at The Artist's Mark Studio/ Shop. You will be able to see our inventory of world famous Seawall Fibres Hand Dyed Yarn and watch as spectacular local agates, jasper and amethyst are turned into beautiful jewelry in our lapidary shop. If you have kids, they will really enjoy it and even get to take home a free "piece of The Neck".

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Digby Neck Is Beautiful At Any Time Of The Year

There isn't a day goes by when I don't give thanks to my creator for the beauty that surrounds me.
Digby Neck is truly a unique, fascinating and beautiful place to live. And just as the tides change the landscape every time you look out the window, so does the angle of the sun. It is much lower down now so it almost acts like a spotlight at times. Here is what we saw through our window as we had coffee this morning.

Just to the left of centre you can see the sun highlighting one of the waterfalls in the red sandstone cliffs. These waterfalls pop up every time we get a lot of rain. It was so amazing that it prompted Vickie to take her new Samsung Note 8 phone and take a few more from the deck.

The upper shot was taken just a few minutes after the initial shot through the window and see how much the light has changed. The bottom shot was taken just a few seconds later using the 10 x zoom feature. And speaking of technical devices, I would like to take this opportunity to make an observation. Just as people can be divided into broad categories such as male/ female (getting blurrier of late), so they can be divided into devotees of either Samsung or Apple. Vickie, myself and my older daughter fall into the Samsung camp whereas our younger daughter, Sandra, and her family are all Apple users. Oh, we still love her but I sometimes ask myself where I went wrong...
So now it is time for indoor pursuits such as deciding how to finish a stone
and how to get the last bit of goodness out of this beautiful piece of jasper from Brazil.
Decisions, decisions...
It is a busy time of the year here. Lisa and Vickie are gearing up for the Black Friday yarn sale that starts at midnight tonight and since my large saw has been repaired, I can go back to cutting slabs. The snow tires are on the car so we are all set for the winter snows that must surely come.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Rhodochrosite Has Been Cut!

In my last post I showed a chunk of rough rhodochrosite that I picked up Monday. Yesterday, I mounted it to a piece of 2x4 so I could cut it and after letting it set overnight I was able to put it on the saw this morning. Here is the result.

Even before it has been polished you can see the vitreous lustre (no that's not a typo- that's how we spell it here in Canada). I had to cut the slabs a little thicker because the stone is quite a bit softer than the agate I normally work with. Agate has a hardness of 6.5-7 while this is 3.5-4, close to calcite and flourite.

What really stands out, apart from the lustre, is the beautiful linear design which is a product of how and where the stone was formed. Rhodochrosite is often found in veins associated with silver and I'm pretty sure this piece came from a silver mine in Argentina but the circular patterns are because this rock actually formed as a cave piller (stalactite or stalagmite) one drop at a time!
Rhodochrosite is sometimes called Inca Rose and is, in fact, the national gemstone of Argentina. It is sometimes referred to as the "Stone of the Compassionate Heart" which is probably why I identify with it so much, me being such a compassionate individual and all, (heh,heh).
So what happens now?

Maybe it will inspire Lisa to introduce a new colour of hand dyed yarn through Seawall Fibres (yes, that's how we spell fibre in Canada).

 The stone in the lower right is a thin end piece and it will be cut about in half and shaped as per the instructions of "She Who MUST Be Obeyed. The other three pieces will be turned over to her as well and she will decide how she wants them cut and shaped. I can tell you this- we're going to get some beautiful pieces in the end and I'll try to post follow up pics as they become available.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Vickie Finally Gets Her Diamond

In about a month, on December 11th of this year, we will have been married for 47 years. This, of course, is solely due to Vickie's Job like patience and my learning when to keep my big mouth shut!
When we got married, money was really tight. Some will say that with me, money is always tight but that's the subject of another blog. Anyway, Norwegians get married by exchanging gold bands and when I saw that Hemsley's Jewelers in Montreal was having a sale on gold bands I took it as a sign of two things- one, I was really Norwegian and two it was time to propose. Catching Vickie in a weak moment she said yes and I have been on a series of one year contracts ever since- sort of like Walter Alston when he was managing the Brooklyn Dodgers.
To get some leverage and ensure that contract negotiations go smoothly, I thought it was time for Vickie to finally get her diamond. So earlier this week we paid Vaughn Tidd a visit over in Barrington and we came back with her diamond.

 It is actually a Herkimer Diamond- a biconed quartz crystal from Herkimer NY and upon closer inspection I realized I actually bought her three!

Can't believe I'm getting so generous!
She's gonna have to strengthen her wrist a bit before she can wear it but it will sure be a show-stopper!
Anyway, to seal the deal, I also bought her this beautiful piece of rhodochrosite which I will cut so she can make herself (and possibly a few other people) something pretty.
I am pretty sure this comes from an old silver mine in Argentina because that's where this mineral is found forming stalactites and stalagmites- hence the rings.
If you are on The Neck, stop by and say hi if I have the "open" sign up- even if I have taken the big sign down.
Stay tuned to hear how I make out in the contract talks...

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Jewelry Production Back in High Gear

Well, the weather is definitely changing. Have had the wood stove going for about a week but although we had a bit of sleet a few days ago, so far no snow.
These are the perfect climactic conditions to make jewelry... indoors... in a cozy studio.
Vickie has agreed to take me on as an unpaid apprentice and I have learned a bit about the basics of wire work. Let me make one thing clear- I am not allowed to do anything creative! I am what's affectionately known as a "grunt" or "gofer" depending on the situation. So for the last few days I have been cutting copper wire into lengths to be used to make clasps, and then I have learned how to make the two clasps. Here is the result of my labours:

I have also become proficient at cutting the "jump rings" shown in the upper right corner. All of this is so that my "sensei" can do her thing.
She also had a few things to make first (since I am not allowed to control anything that is on fire) so here she is making some copper pins using a blow torch.

 Vickie and I both prefer  interesting stones such as agate over classic gems and we both feel that any setting should add interest to the stone and not overpower it so in this case, since we started with a fairly large piece, a little bit of copper was only going to make it better.  Vickie started to work her wire magic.
And here's the result.
The rock, by the way, is local and appears to be a vein of stilbite that has subsequently replaced by agate, framed in basalt. Never seen anything like it and probably won't again.
She felt that Greek leather would be the perfect "chain" for it and now we are just waiting for the new owner to tell us how long she wants it.
In the days to come, I'll be posting pics of what comes next so keep checking 'cause you will see some really interesting stuff.