Sunday, 24 February 2019

More Pendants off The Bench

I have finally had a block of time to finish off most of the pieces that I had started on. As you can see, they vary from simple to complex.
Here's a small but powerful piece of Mexican Crazy Lace and even at only about an inch high, it makes a big statement. Both the front and back have amazing colour and patterning (sorry for the pic quality):

This next piece is more complex but again showcases a beautiful local stone. All the copper work is hand made.

Since I was using a thicker copper wire as a design element, I had to come up with a neat way to make the connection at the back so here's how it looks.

Then there is this beautiful piece of petrified wood from the Petrified Forest in Arizona. My friend Glen, who is from the area, gave me the slab and it polished beautifully.

Up close the patterning is awesome and since it is a relatively large piece (2.5 inches) I kept it simple and elegant with an antique sterling silver bale and clasp.
This next stone is amazing with stunning colour and patterning.

The patterning in this local stone kind of makes it look like Digby Neck and I showcased it with some hand made copper work.
And finally, here's a gorgeous piece of local carnelian. I love carnelian, especially banded as this piece is.

The colour was so beautiful that I didn't want to lose one bit of the stone so I just left it free form and tumble polished it and attached it to a bit of hand made copper work with a glass bead for balance.
In the upcoming weeks, I plan on trying some new techniques so stay posted. Also, we are pretty close to being able to offer pieces for sale on the Seawall Fibres web site so check the blog as I will post it when it happens.

Friday, 15 February 2019

The Jooltool- A Preliminary Assessment

Like many others, I have difficulty working in my rock lab in the winter months. I have an industrial heater but can't leave it on when I'm not there so water tends to freeze and wheels don't turn like they should.
My daughter, Lisa, has used a machine called a Jooltool in her work with polymer and precious metal clay and since she is so busy dying yarn for Seawall Fibres she sent it to me to try because it can be used anywhere with no mess. Here's what it looks like.
It is basically a rotating spindle to which you attach these "ninja" type wheels which vary in coarseness from about 100 to 50,000 grit. You work the stone from underneath the wheels but when they are spinning, you see the stone perfectly because of the gaps. here's mine set up on my bench.
As you can see, it doesn't take up a lot of space. I worked on it for a few hours this morning and was surprised at the lack of dust, especially since you don't use a lot of water. And it doesn't make a lot of noise- perfect for indoors.
To test it, I took a stone that I had cut but not worked at all.

 It still had a few saw marks in it so I started with the medium grinding wheel and took it through to 50,000 grit and then cerium polish. And while the stone had some flaws and I didn't spend a lot of time on it, here's the result:
Honestly, I was pretty impressed! I also did a bit of shaping and it worked well. So then I tried it on a specimen piece that had previously been worked to 325 grit on my slant lap. Here's a video of the finished product.
So here's my assessment so far.
If you don't have much space, you could do a lot with this machine. The same goes for those who live in northern climates and can't work in their usual manner. It is a real advantage to be able to see the surface of the rock while it is being worked. The Jooltool isn't cheap- in fact, it's quite expensive. Buying the basic set up needed for lapidary will set you back $1300 Cdn. plus tax. But I have to say that if, like me, you have serious cabin fever and need to work on some pieces, I actually think it is well worth it. A lot of thought has gone into the design and it is incredibly well built.
So check it out on line and keep checking my blog because my next project will be to make a domed cab. As always, I'll be perfectly honest in my assessment.
And if you want to see it in person, contact me and I'll set something up.

P.S. I am not a dealer for this or any other lapidary machine.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Another new Piece Off The Bench

I thought some of you might be interested in how some of these pieces are designed and made so I'm going to go through this one step by step.
It started with a beautiful piece of local straw agate that had an irregular shape and beautiful live edge. So we decided to mount it to a sheet of German Silver that was cut to reflect the stone's shape.
The plate was distressed and holes were drilled to allow for wire wrapping and jump rings to attach a cord. Both sides of the plates were distressed.
The stone was then glued to the plate using clear Gorilla Glue and left to set overnight. The next day, German Silver wire was used to wrap the stone to keep it from moving in any direction (in theory, the glue should do this but you never know...).

The back shows how the wire has been secured and tightened.
Then we chose a beautiful premium Greek leather cord and decided to use a very labour intensive method to create "eyes" in the leather by wrapping them in German Silver wire to match the stone wrapping. The cords were then attached to the plate using a German Silver jump ring.
Finally, I used a premium silver clasp on the other end of the leather cord and the piece was complete!
So waddya think? I love mounting stones like this and will post more on the blog in the days ahead. And if you want to see this piece in person, just come by the shop.

Monday, 11 February 2019

More New Pieces From The Bench

Well the weather has been up and down like a toilet seat so I've had some time to sit down at the bench and finish a few "WIP"'s- works in progress. I stole that term from the knitting crowd (heh,heh).
Here's a nice little piece of Crazy Lace that comes with a sparkly druzy in the center.

It has a hand made copper prong setting and copper clasp and is hung from a premium leather cord.

Then we have this nice piece of banded jasper.

I used a really nice decorative copper bale and is hung from a longer soft hollow glass cord.

The next two pieces were really fun to do because they required a lot of planning and engineering. The first is a beautiful piece of local carnelian that absolutely glows. I decided to use it in its natural shape- pretty much just as it was found.

Gunmetal chain and wire were used to complement the colour and a solitary glass bead was added for balance and a sense of mobility.
Then the fun really began. I hand hammered and drilled a piece of thick copper wire to produce a flat paddle and the clasp and all other findings are hand made in copper.
Finally, here is a gorgeous piece of local plume/ fortification agate. Both the colour and patterning are amazing so I decided to come up with a setting to really showcase it.
The stone is wrapped with copper wire attaching it through drilled holes to a copper back plate which was then attached to two hand made copper eyelets.
In this close up you can see the delicate design which was impressed into the copper plate by running it through a metal roller with a piece of desiccated leaf.
It is hung from a premium Greek red leather cord with a beautiful copper lobster clasp.
So my next project will be to use some of the butter soft leather I picked up recently in a couple of pendants and then learn how to use the JoolTool to finish a few specimens. So stay tuned and see how it turns out!