I had this piece nearly complete right around Christmas-time. It was tornado-esque in the studio, and Nat King Cole blared in my ears as I crammed in all the silver I could before Decembers end. As I popped the stone into the setting, I'm SURE I was thinking more about cookies and cocoa than the task at hand. This gorgeous matrix of some Turquoise cabochon I had picked up eons ago at a pawn shop in Colorado had done something every metalsmith dreads....It moved under my firm thumbprints so unnaturally. Uh-oh...my heart sank to my stomach. That sinking, that terrible, terrible sinking feeling....It's the instant and irrevocable doom of cracking a stone when setting it in place. In my case, it was more like an Oreo cookie had given way to some big silvery glass of milk, and the unknown Turquoise turned to green and black crumbled mush under my thumbs.
So much effort wasted!
Turns out, the Turquoise was trash and I'm better for NOT setting it, but I had still built this lovely silver setting with no stone to set in it. Enter Fate and Fortune! I happen to be in the great graces of a dear Lapidary artist friend, Merlin Deshaw. I talk about him often. His work is unparalleled and his personality is one you won't forget. I buy most of my cabochons from him during his trips north in Montana every 6 months, and I look forward to the endeavor every year. We talk like old friends now, as it's nearing 10 years I've known him. We talk on his days before and after Vietnam, what it means to be gluten-free, where all the witches live, who has bad stones, big stones, and who is stoned. So, naturally, Merlin was my first go-to as I shed a tear over the mushy Oreo disaster then sitting in my bezel cup.
I dusted off the piece, taped what was left of the stone crumbles back together, packed it all up in a box addressed to Merlin, with a sloppy beggars note and request for any type of rock (agate, turquoise, jasper, whatEVER!) that would fit the setting, custom cut to pretty precise dimensions that I knew only he could pull off. It left my studio just after Christmas. I didn't see or hear from Merlin until last week, where I met him at a local friends' studio. He presented me with THIS BLUE BEAUTY. And I was speechless. Like, there are no words for how out-of-this-world this stone is. I finished the piece just today, and am ecstatic at it's final outcome.
It's name is Shattuckite, after the Shattuck mine in Bisbee, Arizona. And baby it is AMAZING.
LOVE GROWS HERE.
I could say a thousand things about love.
Most artists do.
But really what I meant,
I think back in December,
before I crumbled a shit stone in a perfectly good setting
and begged a dear friend to save me from my mistake,
before the shit-slinging political malaise regarding our current president,
and the hatred that oozed from internets most popular places,