This year marked my eighth year to go to Tucson, and it was the best trip ever! I went with the intention of shopping for stones, and wow did I ever find them! Below is the first installment of what I found in Tucson this year. I brought home so many beautiful and unique things. Stay tuned, and I will cover the rest in a future newsletter. And, if you are going to Tucson next year, let me know. Maybe we could meet up for lunch and do a little shopping together.
Two years ago, Lexi introduced me to Mark Lasater who owns The Clam Shell. I visited him at the AGTA show in Tucson this year. He has gorgeous and very unusual stones. I fell in love with the Fossil Palm. It has the look of leaping flames, and really fires up the creative imagination!
Another amazing group of stones that I bought from The Clam Shell is the Colla Wood. It is a naturally colored stone with the richest blues. The patterns in the stone made me think of trees, landscapes, and flowing water. This was my favorite new addition to my collection of stones.
Every year, it seems that my purchases tend to follow a theme. This year, I was really into rich, earthy colors and organic designs. In the photo above, the center stone is a piece of Channel Wood. The stones above it are Fossil Oak. The three triangular stones at the bottom are Brazilian Petrified Wood.
I must have stood at the Clamshell for two hours, carefully designing in my head and picking out stones. This is Fossil Sequoia. The two triangular-shaped pairs on the right will make a beautiful pattern for a necklace when arranged together. I am not sure what I will do with the two matching stones in the front, but they had my name on them!
I have some Fossil Tree Fern that I bought from The Clamshell two years ago, but when I saw this piece on the left, I could see design possibilities, and didn’t want to pass this stone up. It has little druzy pockets, and the irregular edge is just beautiful. I had been telling myself not to buy any more Crazy Lace, but then I saw the two stones on the right. OK—I won’t buy any more Crazy Lace next year!
I have been shopping with Gerardo Leyva, owner of Azul Verde Azul for the last 6 years. He is one of the first vendors that I visit when I arrive in Tucson. He mines azurite malachite from Morenci, Arizona, and he cuts it into the most beautiful cabochons. He also displays huge mineral specimens (some are 6 feet tall!) at the Kino Sports Complex.
In the photo above, all the cabs are azurite malachite with the exception of two. The far top right is a Congo Africa Chrysocolla Malachite, and the small teardrop shape to its left is a piece of Morenci Turquoise.
…And much to my wandering eyes should appear—an Antique Button Booth owned by Glenda Boyer. Her booth was at the Radisson Inn, where I just happened to go one afternoon to help Gwen Youngblood, owner of Metal Art Lab and the inventor of the Wubbers Riveting Essentials Kit. Gwen teaches some fabulous classes, and I loved getting to spend time helping her with sales in her shop.
This year I had the pleasure of meeting John Heusler and Patti Paik Estes. If you search for John F. Heusler on Facebook, you can follow his lapidary adventures. Not only does he make phenomenal jewelry, he also cuts gorgeous stones. John cut the faceted tourmaline in the photo above. You can often see John’s work in Jewelry Artist Lapidary Journal. Patti also makes jewelry and I was fascinated by the gourd baskets that she weaves, incorporating beads and turquoise into the designs. The basket that I saw in Tucson had a handle fashioned from a piece of a deer antler.
I was especially drawn to this collection of dino bone cabs, because no stone buying trip would be complete for me without making a stop at Gary Wilson’s booth!