I am alive still. For those people who follow my blog (thanks, Mom), I just wanted to say after a long hiatus, that I plan to update this thing regularly once again. I took some time off, and my sphere machine broke. I put a bandaid on it for the time being, but I need to replace a motor. I plan on getting another machine going soon also. So stay tuned for more spheremaking on the way! In the meantime, I recently purchased a 3 in 1 lens kit for my iphone 4. I paid $15 but you can get it for under $10 at the moment here: http://www.amazon.com/180%C2%B0-Angle-Macro-Apple-iPhone/dp/B009UQR32I/ref=pd_sim_cps_5 It’s a knock off brand, but is quite great for the money. I took some shots of some cullet glass I had and thought I would share the results.
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.
An online friend hooked me up recently with art glass marble maker, Joe Schlemmer of madmanmarbles.com. Joe is a hell of a guy and invited me over to his glass studio to check out how he makes his art glass marbles. I love glass almost as much as stone, so I jumped at the chance. Joe is about an hour and a half drive from me just south of St. Joe, MI. He took the time to show me all his equipment and glass, then got to work. I had never seen anyone make a marble before and Joe is a real pro. He made two marbles in a little over an hour. It was fascinating for me to see the process. He made two different kind of marbles and each had its own technique. The first one, an implosion, was basically made in halves. He blew a bubble in the glass tubing, decorated the outside, then melted it to collapse inside the bubble. He then added more glass to the outside, decorated that, and then completed the sphere. I am way over simplifying the process here, but that is basically how it was done. The second marble was done quite different and I dare not describe the process as I would probably describe it incorrectly. The marbles had to cool in a kiln for many hours after completion so I did not get to see the finished product that day. Afterwards, Joe took me a couple miles a way to an awesome beach on Lake Michigan where there were plenty of rocks. Check out all the pictures below and see Joe’s work. A week or so after our meet, Joe sent me the implosion marble! How cool is that. You can check out Joe’s marbles at his website here: madmanmarbles.com
Some may recall this rock I got from the estate sale a few months back. I don’t have a large enough saw to cut a large stone like this to prep it properly for sphering so I had to hack away at this one and grind the hell out of it. It took an extra long while to rough it round but it turned out pretty good…although I introduced some scratches during the polishing phase some how (which is frustratingly become more prevalent lately) I may have to go back and fix it. I’m also displaying it on this cool Orthoceras fossil stand. What do you think? But for now here are some pix.
I took some time off from work to work on some of my music side projects and an iphone app I’ve been working on. But I couldn’t help but make some time to grind out some stone work! I got a request to make some custom pendants from a couple folks from work which is always nice to hear. Of course while I’m making the pendants I had to tend to a few spheres as well to make the best use of my time. The pictures are below. I was really shocked by how the Chrysocolla sphere turned out. I have never worked with this material before and from the outer appearance of the rock it appeared to be mostly black…until I cut into it. I’ll attach the original picture of the black chrysocolla rock as well. I could use some help on getting the crosses to turn out better. I do everything on the wheel. If anyone out there has any suggestions to help me get better drop me an email from the contact section. I’m all ears!
I always thought Thunder Eggs were beautiful. I hadn’t seen one in person until recently but I’ve loved looking at the pictures of cut pieces online over the years. I haven’t seen too many sphered as I imagine they look best sliced in half, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. I bought a couple larger ones (about two pounds each) from Oregon. I don’t know a ton more about them than just that. I think they turned out pretty nice. They ended up looking like little planets to me. What do you think?
I also had a couple sand stones and an unfinished ugly conglomerate stone I had found on Lake Michigan. I decided to finish those and they are pictured also.
Here are some pictures of the few spheres I’ve made with slag. Up until about a month ago I was only able to find one piece of slag large enough to make a sphere. Since that time, I’ve found a couple decent pieces. The dark green chunk was the largest. It probly weighed about 7 pounds or so. The dark green is no the prettiest, but I have since found chunks much larger in that color range. The deep blues have been elusive in that size, but the Robin’s egg color one turned out great (at 1.8 inches) as well at the grey/green one (At 1.8 inches).