Since creating my first piece “Wings I: Captain Nemo Takes Flight” in 1998 I have experimented with various techniques and hundreds of materials. Captain Nemo was a labor of love that took over a year to complete. I was using my brand new water-fed diamond band saw, but the blades would break unexpectedly and give me a start; the pattern pieces would slip after getting wet and the cuts were crooked; I was continually redrawing the pattern to account for boo-boos – black ink was the original, red the second draft and green the third; the pattern got wet and the ink smeared, sometimes ruining the stone; rock slabs of the right color were in short supply, but the more I tried to preserve material, the closer I placed the patterns to the edge, and the more the blade slipped off, and then it would break…
I had no mentors, no books, no Youtube videos, or instruction/information of any sort. The phrase "pietra dura mosaic" was not part of my vocabulary until ten years later. I simply reasoned that because I had made stained glass windows I could inlay stone in a similar fashion. I was making it up as I went along and by all accounts it was the project from hell. And so why, oh why, did I keep going?
Passion! Complete unadulterated passion. Every time I would get discouraged I would just look at my beautiful rocks and think of how I had to work with stone, how I had to make them into beautiful designs.
Twenty years later a lot has changed, but stone remains my obsession. In “Wings 5: Wing on the Wind” I used some of the most exquisite material I have ever hoarded (whoops, did I say hoarded? I mean purchased). The wings are cut from golden amphibolite, also known as grunerite. It is a very rare material from Western Australia with extraordinary chatoyant crystals that sparkle in every directions.
Wings I: Captain Nemo Takes Flight, 1998
Wings V: Wing on the Wind, 2018
Another experiment I have been continuing with is my Waves Series. We have been cutting lots of new material and enjoying the combinations. In the latest pieces Waves IV and V, I have included some stone discs, a cabochon, and spheres.
Waves IV: Peak and Valley
Waves V: Echoing Hill
In The Gallery
My show at the Loveland Museum Gallery is continuing through May 13th. Seventeen artists from the Colorado Mosaic Artists were chosen for the exhibition, “Earth, Air, Fir, Water.” My piece, “As Above, So Below,” can be seen in the Green Room Gallery from January 20th through May 13th.
Next month we will be showing at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists annual convention in Salt Lake City. The show runs from May 20th-23rd. Additional information will be forthcoming before the show.
The first week of April we made our semi-annual trek to Utah to hike and collect rocks. We love slick-rocking and canyoneering in the Yellow Cat area northeast of Arches National Park. This time we found some very unusual tree branch-looking rock tubes that I plan to incorporate into my art. We also came upon a surprising number of agate pieces lying around (don't get me started on hoarding...)