Friday, July 1, 2011

Turning gravel to gems

This was perhaps the activity I had been looking forward to most this class. I got turned on to lapidary arts by Jody when she was experimenting over break, and definitely see myself pursuing this activity in the future, weather for hobby, use or sale. I was able to cut a limestone embedded with  layers of quartz to three pieces. one piece i shaped and buffed to make a pendant for a necklace, another i am trying to shape into a stamp. There are so many different applications, both ornamental and practical, my head is teaming with ideas. I also like a lot that you only need one machine to really use all the different shaping and buffing tools, so both cost and clutter are kept low. The really great thing is that the resource itself, the rocks, are both abundant and individually unique, so you can get a very high value out of a free commodity that requires no effort or investment in producing.

Again with this craft there is a lot of science to consider, and the composition and hardness of the stone will determine how easily it will be manipulated. I was surprised at how easily and quickly the stones were shaved down and reduced in size. You really need to be careful not to overdo the shaping and lose too much mass. I started experimenting with the carving tools and they do take time to adjust to too, but luckily if it doesn't work i can just shave off a piece and start over.

This was our last farmstead arts class. Through the semester we not only learned how to create specific things, but learned to expand our minds and look at everything around us in a different light. weeds are not longer an annoyance, but potential paper or dyes; orange peels are not only compost, but can be used for essential oils; trees and their bark are baskets, and pebbles are jewels. I am eager to find other things that seem insignificant and can be converted to useful and beautiful objects! Thank you to Jody and to all my class mates for an amazing experience of learning, growing and fun!

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