Monday, 30 September 2019

The Artist Comes Over to the Dark Side

Some of you may know that, apart from being an exceptional artist, my wife Vickie (AKA She Who MUST Be Obeyed- anyone who watched Rumpole of the Bailey will get it) is an avid rockhound.

This can pose problems for me because she is always bringing stuff to me to cut open for her. Consequently, the stuff I really want to cut gets put on the back burner. In the past, I have, to no avail, dared her to cut one herself but a few days ago, she finally agreed. The fact that she was taking over most of my shop with an experiment that will be the subject of a subsequent blog might have been a factor in her decision.

Anyway, after donning her professional Cab King apron which she insisted I modify to read Cab Queen, she was ready to begin.

As you can see the smile is tempered with terror. Either that or she is trying to emulate Jack Nicholson in either The Joker or The Shining! And this is before the saw was even running!

So now the saw is actually running and she has started the cut.

She has really good position but because of her basic blindness, she insisted that the blade guard be lifted and this is causing the nice vertical red brown line of cooling oil to appear on her new apron. And yes, it IS time to change that oil!

So now the rock has been cut.

The smile is less manic and her heart rate has come down to the low three figures. She has yet to notice the stain on her apron. So now we have to go outside to the area where I hose down the rocks to remove the oil and after doing so, here's the result of her cut.

As you can see, her smile reflects the heart rate having now dipped below the century mark and I have managed to position her hands so she still can't see the oil stain. The rock was a piece of vein fortification agate surrounded by some chocolate haematite patterning and was actually worth cutting and now she wants me to cut thin slices to make a pair of ear rings! She actually did a great job. The cut was nice and straight due to even pressure on both sides of the stone and there are virtually no saw marks.

Will there be more lapidary work in her future? Only time will tell but she has broken the ice and I think will now feel more  comfortable with the machines!

Thursday, 26 September 2019

A Very Satisfied Customer

I have found that there are several real advantages to having the combination of rock lab, jewellery studio and shop in the same location. It allows me to wear several hats each day and work on things when there are no customers and get valuable direct feedback on our work when there are.

It also puts me in contact with hundreds of very interesting people each year. This year alone, I have had a couple of fellow Florida Gators fans come in and admire my Tim Tebow “shrine” and I have also met some really nice people who, for some reason, cheer for other football and basketball teams in the SEC. But I let them buy stuff anyway.

I meet such interesting people- fellow geologists, land surveyors and a lot of young people far away from home and out to explore the planet.

But my favourites are the really nice people with whom you feel as comfortable as you would with a long time friend.

Such a couple are Harry and Shirley, from Syracuse New York. They were here on vacation in early August and we got to know a bit about them. Harry is a retiree who is an excellent professional photographer/ videographer. Shirley had enjoyed knitting but not in the last little while.

Shirley loved our yarn and left with some along with a pattern and renewed enthusiasm for knitting. But before she left, she posed a question.

One reason for her trip to Nova Scotia was to visit the home of her great grandfather, a ship captain who sailed out of Yarmouth in the 1800’s (she even has his ship’s log from 1878!). On her trip, she had found a stone that had really spoken to her and asked if we could use it to make her a piece of jewellery. The rock was sandstone, which, normally would hold no fascination for me since it wouldn’t take a polish but it did have some interesting colour and patterning and Vickie really liked it’s abstract shape. It represented a challenge to her and so off she went.

Fortunately, our passion is making interesting pieces and we often combine stone with other materials such as leather, copper and polymer clay and this stone was perfect for that. So Vickie came up with an abstract design to compliment the stone, one which incorporated copper from a very old piece of plate we had and we went to work. I did the cutting and drilling while Vickie provided the “artist’s eye” and did the beautiful finishing.

Recently, we shipped it off and Shirley absolutely loved it. Thanks to her photographer husband, we have this beautiful picture of her wearing it. (Harry, I wish you could take all my shots!)

In this close up view, you can see how well the components go together and work to compliment this precious keepsake.

Shirley, we are so happy that you trusted us with this treasure and hope that you enjoy it for many years to come.