THE New Tucson Stone

Hi Everyone,

As I promised, I will share  what we think will be the hot new stone from Tucson this year.  I have heard that it’s the turquoise shot with bronze, which, while pretty,  I believe, (and I’m not positive about this since we have only talked to two people about it) but we think it is a reconstituted block of turquoise, with bronze shot into it.  I did not see any cut into stones, but did see lots blocks of it ready for cutting. Helen and I discovered this stone at The Clam Shell. (Sorry for the bad photo)  This was the stone which made Helen buy me that first margarita.  This was our first purchase and it had to be pretty spectacular to make Helen lose that bet!   It’s brand new and comes from China. It’s called Red Creek jasper, and the colors are breathtaking. It’s yellow, with green, orange and red, or some just have subtle tones of red and green. There is hematite infused through the pieces in straight lines, which gives the stone a bit of elegant sparkle without being overpowering.     Here I have paired it with my old favorites of a round petrified palm wood and an oblong red jasper from Gary B. Wilson.  It’s a work in progress, so the design may change, but I really do like this combination.  Since people like jewelry with movement, I will either do tube hinges or jump ring to give it some motion.

Look for this stone cut as cabochons at the Denver gem show in mid-September. I think it will greatly appeal to those who love a lot of movement and color in stones.  It’s impossible for your eye to go to just one place in this stone.  It promises to bring new excitement to your designs.  Lovers of Picasso marble and tiffany stone will really like this one.  I don’t know how large the find is, or how much will be out there on the market.  All I know is it is gorgeous, and  there was not a lot of rough in Tucson.  I can give you no specific info about it, except the importers say it’s “not quite a jasper”, whatever that means.

A new cutter for me was Jason Penn, thought I have bought his designs from The ClamShell for several years.  I met Jason in Denver a couple of years ago, and what a nice man.  The ones I bought this year were long marquis cuts, a black onyx and a red jasper (I can’t seem to get away from that stone), and they were sandblasted, with elegant highlighted Oriental-influenced designs of un-sandblasted  area showing through. (There must be a word for this technique though it escapes me at the moment.)  I see some Oriental influence creeping into my my designs, and it must be from my friend, potter Mary Sharp Davis, who we had the privilege of staying with in New Mexico, and who joined us on our adventure.  Also, the day before we left for Tucson, Harold O’Connor brought some of his pieces over that had been on display in Japan.  They are  typical O’Connor’s, exquisite, so delicate and beautifully designed and executed.  A few of these pieces can be seen at Patina Gallery, in Santa Fe, NM.  Helen and I stopped by to view his new additions, and some other fabulous jewelry.  Check them out.  I love the excitement of a new idea, so I was awake most of last night, mind whirring with a new way to go.

I’m still recovering from Tucson.   The experience is both exhilarating and exhausting, but you get to talk to so many knowledgeable people, other jewelers and designers. I got to meet up with my old friend from Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths, and sister Lapidary Journal contributor, (and winner of one of their design awards) Maxine Rosenthal. We sat in a vendor’s RV and bought ammonite casts, laughed a lot and drank lot of water.   It will take me a while to process all this.  My stash of rocks on the dining room table needs to be categorized, which leads me to this subject.

How do you categorize your stones?  I have the glass topped Riker cases, and find those work better than the little trays with divisions, since my stones are all different shapes.  Some of my friends separate by shape or color or type of stone.  Now this sounds crazy, but I separate by vendor. That way, if I need another stone from a cutter to match a shape or finish of what I already have, I automatically know who I got it from.  Now to some people that will make no sense.  As an archaeologist, I learned to categorize  pottery shards by maker/Pueblo, so I guess that’s why I do it this way.  Sure, when making a multi-stonepiece I have to get out all my stones and look at them.  Oh darn!  It only inspires me more.

So let me know what you think of our pick for the hot new stone.  As soon as I find out who has it, I will let you know, but I do think  Mark Lasater will have cabs of it at the Holiday Inn show in Denver in Sept.

Off to categorize all my loot. More later…

Cheers,

Lexi

Advertisements

Welcome to My World

Hello and welcome to my jewelry, life and teaching blog.  This is a new experience for me.  Being an old (well, maybe not that old)  professor and field archaeologist, I am used to writing out everything long hand.  On a yellow tablet. So I would like to thank my son, Jim, for bringing me into the 21st century by giving me my first iPod, which turned me onto Apple computers.  From that first gift, the rest, as they say, is history.  My loving husband, Mark, is a huge “Applelope”, and my technical advisor.  But one of my best friends, student, and sister, Kathleen Krucoff is the real reason I’m here posting this.  Without her patience and guidance I would still be writing on a yellow tablet.

This blog is named The Torch because that’s my “mafia” name, bestowed upon me by CoMA (Colorado Metalsmithing Assoc) posse member, and close friend,  Julie Jerman-Melka, when my first article on setting up your torch for jewelry was published for Jewelry Artist magazine.  For someone who started out scared to light a torch, my life has taken on new meaning after learning that “A Day Without Soldering is like a Day Without Sunshine”.  That would be a great C/W song title, or bumper sticker.  So here we go……

I have just returned from participating in the Copper Country Art Festival in Copper Mountain, Colorado.   My good friend, Pat Pocius, from South Park Pottery and Back Room Beads in Fairplay, CO,  and I had done that show together back in the 90’s, when there were over 400 vendors,  accompanied by fabulous music festival,  to boot.  It’s was quite a bit smaller this year, with only about 20 vendors, but the music was still good.  The people still flocked to hear Michael Michael Murphy and America, among others,  and I sold a number of pieces.  This was only the second show I’ve done since 1999.  Because of Mark’s job, we have lived in Chile for a number of years, and then in Bethlehem, PA for 3 years.   Though I participated in gallery shows through Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths, which I was honored to be their President,  I had not done a show on my own.  Truthfully, it was fun, but a lot of hard work.  The stress of getting ready for the show, producing new pieces and wondering if the public will like them, packing all your “stuff”, setting up, standing in 54 degree weather all day, and then repacking and coming home  and unpacking is an ordeal.  No, it’s a real pain.  BUT, do you get many benefits from doing a show.

1. You get the public’s immediate response to your work, both good and bad. Like I found that putting a ball chain on my pieces was not something the public liked.  This feed back is invaluable.

2.  You get new ideas from people who stop to visit with you.  “Have you thought about putting this with that….?”

3.  Networking with other artists is tremendous opportunity to learn.. I found out from water color artist, Todd Winters, about two shows back in Texas.  They are in the town where I grew up, and he says they are great. I’ll try those next year.  It would be fun to re-connect wth old friends.

4.  Which is another reason to do shows, I reconnected with a good customer from the shows in the 90’s.  It was good to be back in touch, and I’ll put her on my email list for future shows.

5.  Even though Sundays high was only 54 degrees, it felt good to be in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It was a glorious week-end.

6.  There is no commission to galleries.  You do all the work, you get all the money.  Truthfully, the jury is still out on this one.  I have to figure out if 50% to a gallery is worth all the fore-mentioned stresses.

7.  Mark and I spent a whole week end together, no TV, no couch “potato-ing”, just sharing the experiences of good music, making memories, and meeting new people, some who will become repeat customers, I’m sure, and some will just pass through our lives, but they left our lives enriched.

So, take the plunge. Try out a show in your area.  It forces you to create new pieces within a time frame.  And one thing I have learned, “Creativity begats creativity.”  If you’re not busy making new things, you don’t grow.

So now, I’m off the the studio to make a few cuff bracelets for this week-ends Castle Rock Art Festival.  I’ll be on the right side near the entry.  Hope to see you there.

Please feel free use this blog to ask questions regarding jewelry making, shows, etc.  Questions regarding the meaning of life will have to be forwarded on, since I have a few answers, but maybe not what you are looking for.  Until then,  may all your bezels fit.

Hugs,

Lexi