Our Story

This journey to where I am now as a professional artist all started when my son Garen brought home a rocks and minerals book from the school book fare. He was looking through it and said "Dad look it says we have agates right here, can we go look for them sometime?" That weekend we took a trip to a local beach and then began our family rock hounding adventures. Over time we got better at finding agates and also collected other rare local varieties of stones. I bought a tumbler and polished a batch and could just sit and spend inordinate amounts of time admiring the natural beauty in our finds. To this day that still hasn't changed and anyone who rock hounds or collects stones or minerals is I'm sure nodding in agreement as they read this.

My lapidary journey began with a flat lap and a donated saw/grinder combo. I've since passed on the saw combo but I'll admit I have a similar vintage machine without the saw attached that I use almost daily. I now have an entire what I'd call machine shop full of lapidary equipment. I cut and polish lots of local stones we find as well as those from across the USA and the globe. The Lake Superior agate has a special place in my hierarchy of stones that I work stemming from it's inspiration for this journey and leading to so many happy days of searching and being in nature with my family.

I started cutting fordite about a year into my lapidary experience and have now cut several thousand stones from this unique recycled material. Fordite is an interesting "stone" being man made but unintentional. There are many myths and lots of incorrect information online swirling around this material that give it almost rebel sorts of qualities. I like fordite for it's agate like banding and unique colors. For our purposes and in agreement with the majority of artists who work with it we see fordite as automotive in origin. That's not to say that the non automotive types have a place. The graffiti paint is certainly unique and shares similar recycled/up-cycled attributes. I'll go into more detail about fordite as I add to our blog. 

I began metalsmithing about six years ago but really expanded my time and interest in this art form in the past three years. Metalsmithing is the term used to define creating silver or mixed metal jewelry pieces. It's similar to a jeweler but different in many ways. It's a great compliment to lapidary knowledge and I've found some interesting areas of cross over between them but it's fundamentally different. The easiest way to describe the difference is that lapidary is an art of reduction. You reduce the size of a stone to it's best possible shape and orientation. Starting with a rough piece you and cut and grind your way to a much smaller piece exposing the natural beauty within. In contrast with metalsmithing you start with materials and build the piece according to your vision. So in that way the two art forms are opposites. I make both intricate and simple elegant pieces in my metalsmithing with my current emphasis being on simple elegance.

I feel very honored that so many people find the things I create to be beautiful. Bringing joy to others through art is why I do this.