Since my sphere machine had been broken for months, I decided to grind out a few Michigan Blue Slag pendants to knock the rust off my bones. These are the results! One of them is available in my Esty shop if interested. The green one is from Escanaba, MI in the upper peninsula, the other three are from South Haven, MI in the lower south western part of Michigan.
My main rockhounding spot is on the shores of Lake Michigan. I think it could be the best place on earth in terms of variety. You never know what you are going to find. If you follow my blog at all, you’d see that I collect a lot of petoskey stones, slag glass, and MI septarians. But I’ll always find something else that will catch my eye and throw them in the bucket. Here are some of those finds from this year. They are in my “to-do” bin for making small spheres.
I found this giant rock a month or so back in Lake Michigan near South Haven, MI. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was at first as it had a very greenish hue. The rock was too big for my saw but I cut it anyway and was pleasantly surprised to see a fair amount of Petoskey stone embedded in the otherwise fossil laden matrix. After a very rough cut, I ground it down a bit on my grinding wheel then threw it into the sphere machine. I’m glad it was a soft rock or this thing would have taken forever as out of round as it first was. Once I started this one, I had to see it through til the end. Total time just under 4 hours. Not bad. And boy is it a beauty!. It is about 3.85 inches in diameter. Check it out! I also made a few Jasper pendants.
It was an incredible hot March day of 83 degrees today. I took my daughter to Van Buren State Park on Lake Michigan today to walk up and down the beach. The landscape had changed a bit since last fall and a lot of new rocks had washed up on shore in new spots. Much closer to the main entrance this year. I did not have to go far to find the first Petoskey of the season. We stayed about an hour or so and the last rock I found was by wading in about two feet of water. I thought it was one of the many bricks in the water at first until I picked it up. It was the bright orange color that caught my eye. I have never seen anything remotely looking like this rock before. I think it is amazing and would really like to know what it is. The orange color of the crystals are stunning. It doesn’t appear to be an agate material at all more of a quartz I would guess. Please drop a comment or send me an email if you know what it is! I believe it to be the most beautiful Lake Michigan Stone ever found! (by me at least… )
3-28-12: The sphere of this stone is done. Check out the new pics here: http://spheremaker.com/whoa/
Well we have had some pretty unusually warm weather here in Michigan this winter. A couple weeks ago, the weather jumped close to 50 degrees and sunny. I had heard about a park on Lake Michigan in South Haven that was a good place to look for Michigan septarians. Septarians are made of an argillaceous (clay-rich# carbonate, predominantly. The outside gets “case-hardened” by chemical desiccation while the inside dries out, which forms the distinctive cracks. The cracks then fill in with carbonate or silica rich groundwater which allows crystals to precipitate out of solution and fill the cracks). I jumped at the chance to get outside and had an incredibly beautiful day there. The only drawback was the forecast for 7-15 foot waves! Well, when I got there it was windy, the waves were big, but nothing like predicted. I wore my knee high boots but still managed to catch a rogue wave splashing me from the crotch down and into my boots. I stayed a good hour and a half before leaving. My pant leg was still soaked as I left and made my way to the Saugatuck Brewery for three pints and a perch sandwich. It looked like I had pissed my pants when I walked in…but no one said anything (I imagine they may have a few leave like that once in awhile, but rarely come in like that!). My thirst quenched, I headed home. I will be back in the spring I imagine….or maybe sooner (damn, that beer was good!).
I did manage to find quite a few septarians, along with some beautiful unknown rocks and quite a bit of large slag. I also found my first Michigan Hematite. Enjoy the pix!
We had some unusually warm and sunny weather the last couple days so I decided to take my crew out (my three kids: ages 6-10) to dig for some blue slag glass. Now, in the past I’ve found a ton of blue slag glass washed up on the shores of Lake Michigan. But I got a tip from a new friend on a spot where they used to dump slag over a hundred years ago in Muskegon, MI. For those who don’t know what slag is. Slag glass is the by-product of the iron ore smelting process. In Michigan the smelting was done all up and down the Lake Michigan lake shore and often the slag, considered garbage at the time was dumped into the lake. That all ended around 1890 or so. Today, this slag glass is prized by beachcombers because of the often beautiful colors and variations found. I have found slag that is black, brown, grey, green, yellow, blue and any of those shades in between. I’ve only found one piece large enough to sphere in the past, and have made quite a few nice pendants out of the glass I’ve found.
We made our way to the spot and as soon as we stepped out of the car, we began to see small pieces of the deep forest green slag. We found quite a few large pieces, probly in the 10-30 pound range buried just below the surface. We found one spot in particular and began to dig with much success. Some of the best pieces were found about a foot down. Once we established a good spot we dug around about a six foot radius and found quite a number of stunning pieces. I took some pictures of some of the better looking ones and even took a bunch of macro shots (made by taking a lense from a disposable camera and putting it over my camera’s lense). I think the shots came out decent enough. One day I’ll invest in a nice camera setup so I can take some real professional looking shots. I think some of those macro shots would make some nice abstract art. Oh, and after we got home…it snowed like crazy! I guess we will wait til next year to hit it again. What a great time.