I just survived the annual Art Show, where I spent three days in the sun between a lovely little tourist town and a beautiful marina, selling lapidary art work alongside my sister. As you may have figured out by my previous posts on the subject, my sister and I enjoy Lapidary work and rockhounding as a hobby.
Rock Hounding is when you go wandering about in the mountains/woods/beach/desert/etc and look for beautiful agates, jaspers, minerals and assorted petrified woods.
And yes, there’s a trick to it.
My sister and I gather rock, we also trade with friends who gather rock in other areas, other states, even other countries. Whatever we haven’t collected ourselves, we’ve traded for. Then we cut it, polish it, and voila – Lapidary Art.
During the show every year, we endure some of the most ridiculous questions and remarks you could ever imagine, and then some. We also get some very intelligent questions, lovely remarks, and genuine interest in the hobby itself. At least once during the three-day show we’ll have someone show interest in learning how to rockhound themselves, and we’re more than happy to explain the basics and point them in the right directions to learn more and meet others. Every county in every state has a rock hounding club, full of fellow rockhounders who are more than happy to teach the newbie and bring them into the fold.
This year’s toppers:
“You find these in the ground, shiny and polished like this?”
“You should make cabachons” we prefer freeform, cabachon is a shape. “It’s not a shape, it’s a rock that’s cut in a circle, with a domed top and flat bottom.” Yes, sir, that’s a shape.
“Polish Flint. Where do you find that?”
“Chinese Writing Stone – where’s that from?”
“These rocks feel so smooth! Like rubber.”
“Do you hunt the rock yourself?” Yes, but to be fair, that one was already wounded.
“Why do you polish the rock? I prefer it in the raw form.”
“What’s the difference between a stone and a pebble?”
Or this year’s favorite: “I found an agate the size of my fist!” when I showed her several agates the size of her fist on my tables, she looked frustrated and said “Huh. I was sure I was the only person on the planet who’d ever found an agate that large.” Oy.
But of all of them, one question dominates. And it’s not foolish at all, but the response has me puzzled.
“Do you collect all this rock yourself?”
The answer is Yes. My sister and I collect it, and what we haven’t found ourselves, we’ve traded with fellow rockhounds.
Most nod, some say “How cool.” But now and then — at least twenty percent of those who ask — respond with a “look.”
It’s an odd look, but always the same, and I’m still trying to figure it out but I think I’ve come pretty close. They think we’re lying.
I honestly believe that look is saying “bullshit, girls can’t find rocks.”
Do they think it’s rocket science? Do you suppose they believe you have to own a mine, or be five thousand feet underground chiseling in the dark to bring home a nice piece of Red Jasper or hunk of Moss Agate? Do they honestly not understand that rock hounding is a family-friendly hobby, that anyone with some time to spare and a few simple tools can manage? The tricks aren’t hard to figure out, the good spots aren’t all that difficult to find, and believe it or not, rocks are all around. Agates aren’t rare, Jaspers aren’t all that hard to find. Petrified wood and geodes are abundant.
I just don’t get that “look”.
If you wanna take a look, a small sample of what we have for sale is here.