“Mom, I want us to have a craft day before the end of Spring Break. I want to make an arm cuff.” Music to this mother’s ears. Especially coming from my 15 year old son. The 8 year old enthusiastically agrees. Awesome. This is tired arm band that the teenager ‘permanently borrowed without asking’ from his brother… annnnnnd it’s a total wreck.
Tribal arm bands and Warrior-like cuffs have been in the back of my head for a while now. Still not manifest due to me TRYING my damn best NOT to start another project until the other 27 in progress are complete. (Artist. Wink.) And this one feels big. Like it has a series built into it and a lot of side themes that could come from it.. so I’ve been hesitant to begin to explore it. REALLY, because it deserves my full attention. But… when the kids are feeling creative, one must strike while the iron is hot. So, we decided to stop hanging around in our underpants and drive up to a local rock and fossil shop to hunt for some ancient dead stuff that we could use on our cuffs.
When we first arrived in Auburn we realized that brain fuel was a must for this journey. I walked into one of my favorite bakeries in the historic district, the one that sells the biggest fattest chocolate chip cookies, baked fresh. The walls had a posh new covering and there were triple the number of tables and fancy black chairs since the last time I’d come. I stared semi-lucidly at the waitress coming towards us from around the back side of the polished bar, drying her hands on her dirty white apron that hung starkly against the black of her tight pants. No cookies. After 88 years, Tsuda’s bakery and deli on the corner had grown up into a sophisticated cubicle for the tired businessman with an advanced palette and a need for sipping wine.. pinky up. I was crushed and impressed with the transformation all at once. Change happens. No matter. Stepping back outside, the boys and I stood in the doorway and flashed our sonic sweet seeking radar in all directions until ‘crappy ice cream shop to the left in that dark little alley’ popped into my head. We grabbed a couple of cones and went around the corner to park our fannies in the most delightful little space and got sticky. It’s a perfect spot for people watching.
One summer I sat there at one of the tables making jewelry for several hours when the boys were in camp. Out of nowhere a woman with an extra, extra, extra long hose (think ‘fire department length’) came over and started watering and fluffing all of the foliage. She had like, one tooth. Or something. No offense to anybody reading this that only has one tooth. I’m just sayin’, it was unexpected. Her hair was crappy too. But man, she was vigilant about those plants. I listened to her tell me how she used what little money she had to buy hanging baskets for the light post and fill them with flowers. I have no idea who she was or how she was connected to the city landscaping. She wandered off down the block still talking and watering plants, even crossed the street. (Her hose was THAT long.) I am slightly honored and completely amused to have peeked into the oddity of the back story behind this space that I often feel myself drawn to.
Once bellies were full we ventured up the street to Back Country, Jewelry, Rocks & Minerals. That’s the whole point. No, adventure and inspiration was the point. This was just the catalyst. Oh man, this is hands down one of my favorite places to peruse. I’d known that the owner had just come back from the large Tuscon Gem Show and I’d been meaning to get up here and check out what he brought back in his magic sack. Funny, my favorite thing there every time is really searching through the 5 rocks for a buck, bin. I’ve found some pretty nice Jasper, Strawberry Quartz, Rutliated Quartz, Amethyst and Agate amongst other unidentified shiny rocks I call ‘Confusionite’. Hunting through there for things that can be used as cabochons in a setting delivers decent results too. I will sit for the longest time holding up stones and imagining what I can twist around them. Drool. Can’t beat the price.
The kids had so much fun rifling through bins and picking out this and that which could hang off of the arm band, be placed on the center of the cuff, etc.
Here’s some pics of their finds. Ollie grabbed a bunch of colored agate and an orthoceras fossil. Eli grabbed one of those too as well as some chain he is itching to break up into dangly things and a couple of stones that are shaped like spiked teeth that he’ll hang from the cuff as well.
I found an assortment of stones that would be great for placing in clay or in partial metal settings. Grabbed a trio of Orthoceras myself.
Two of my favorite finds are this slab of Chrysoprase which I (gave a try) hand polished (will write a separate post about that adventure) and this half broken piece of Variscite. I love, love, love the unfinished aspect of these two and can hardly wait to do something with them.
You’ve got to see the texture on this wall too…. sigh.
Okay.. okay… I will stop writing this lengthy story and go get out the leather and feathers and get moving on some ideas while I wait for the children to arrive home. Between coloring Easter eggs and making cuffs we’ll have a busy weekend… Blessed Spring to you!