Awoken Discovery – 13.25” x 14.5” x 2”, 2023, $1,800
Marble, granite, orbicular jasper; prehnite, epidote, chalcedony concretion
In The Studio
“Let me out, let me out!” What was that noise, I wondered, as I searched for a box of cuprite with chrysocolla in the red slab cabinet. It may have started sometime ago, maybe 4 or 5 years. It was whispers at first, but grew louder by the year. Was I paying attention? Not really. I was too busy chasing shiny new aventurine or rare golden amphibolite or extraordinarily large pieces of blue chalcedony…
But one fine day during covid I had a little time on my hands. Hmmm, I thought, this might be a good time to update my inventory list. Said list actually had not been updated since I moved into the new studio in 2014. That was way before I acquired all of my nice new cabinets just waiting to be filled.
But what started out as a mundane chore quickly turned into a heart-stopping event! Cabinet 1 had 161 pieces of tumbled palm wood – OMG, where did those come from? Eighteen cabinets held a total of 138 slab boxes – really? And 57 tubs of tumbled stone – why, why, why?
My heart started to race. There was an overwhelming realization that I had been…hoarding – no never; collecting – maybe; saving – even a better word. Yes, I have been accumulating some special materials over the years, but I had begun to lose sight of what I had. White boxes hidden away in wooden cupboards will do that to you. Everything looks neat and tidy on the outside, but on the inside are hundreds of slabs screaming, “Use me, use me! Use me next!!” When they push and shove to try to get out of the cabinets, I simply slam the doors shut. “Don’t look in there,” I tell myself; there is already too much to do out here…
When I calmed down, it slowly dawned on me how this could have happened. Little by little I unwittingly added box after box to my inventory. It was insidious. My new studio was so large I did not fully realize the magnitude of it. Until that One Fine Day.
Actually the inventory took three days which completely overwhelmed me! So a little resolution began to form: put red dots on everything that I have been saving to create something extra special. Textile artist, Lois Ericson, famously said, “Use your best materials first.” So, I have started. A few weeks ago I ran into my former assistant, Emily Giddens Thompson and she said, “I’ve noticed you are using the good stuff.” She noticed 😉 and I hope some of you noticed, too.
A lot of people took stock during covid and I did that quite literally. I am realizing there is no benefit in saving these stones forever. Sadly, I don’t have forever. None of us do. Stu’s favorite quote is from Gandalf, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” That is particularly apropos when I look in my cabinets and look at the calendar. Instead of leaving my children cupboards stuffed with useless slabs, I am working, box by box, through the best of the best. A lot of these slabs are from deposits that are exhausted and will never be seen again. But these materials deserve to be seen, demand to be seen, and even scream to be seen. Now the cacophony in the cupboards is no longer deafening and I don’t have to slam the doors shut quite so often.
Cupboard 7: Waiting to Escape Red Dots on Sample Table
In The Gallery
Along with the Colorado Mosaic Artists, I have three small artworks at the Lakewood Arts Gallery until April 21st. The show’s theme is Sustainable Mosaics and my works are made from offcuts of larger pieces. If you can’t stop by, Bob Taylor of CMA made this video.
Thank you for making the Tucson Trunk Show the best ever. That certainly helped clear out some inventory, and the commissions I received will definitely help even more. If you are interested in something please email or call me.
After the show, collectors Donna & Jim Durand and Rose & Ken Carlsen came for a studio visit to discuss the Vermont geologic map commission that I will be making for the Carlsen’s.
Collectors J & D Durand and R & K Carlsen
We are off to Bismarck the end of next month for the Rocky Mountain Section of the AAPG. Six new artworks will be featured along with over 40 earlier works. Please join us!
Rocky Mountain Section – American Association for Petroleum Geologists Bismarck Event Center
315 S 5th St.
Bismarck, ND 58504
Hall C, BOOTH 200
Sunday June 4th 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Monday June 5th 8:00am – 6:00pm
Tuesday June 6th 8:00am – 12:00pm
Pocket XXVI: Into the Woods – 11.25” x 18.5” x 2.5”, 2023, $2,000
Marble, spodumene pegmatite; stilbite with apophyllite crystals
In The Field
Stu and I just returned from our annual trip to Utah to hike and ATV. This year we were invited by Deidre O’Callaghan, James (JR) Hammond, and Jay and Chip Oakes on several rock collecting trips. They provided incredible hospitality and guidance on rock collecting localities. We went to Crystal Geyser which is on the Green River about 10 miles south of the town of Green River. It was erupting when we arrived (!), which is a rare occurrence, and so very exciting. The tufa terraces are extremely beautiful especially with the water flowing down them to the river.
James (JR) Hammond, Susan, and Deidre O’Callaghan
Stu and Susan at Crystal Geyser
Pocket XXIV: Subterranean Sanctuary – 22.5” x 8” x 2.5“, 2023, $1,200
Liesegang banded (Kanab) sandstone; malachite, azurite