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I went out with my toddler yesterday to get some carving wood. We wound up at an old haunt we used to go to years ago.

We hit the jackpot on crinoid fossils and I found a sweet fluorite crystal with some awesome purple colors. My son found a half bucket full of those hairlip barnacles but I only found a couple.

We got a lot of nice lavender and purple fluorite pieces suitable for shaping and polishing too.

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The photo does not do it justice. There are some really nice purple inclusions in these crystals.

 

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12 minutes ago, azdigger said:

Super finds....enjoy time with your son

Thanks! That is great advice. I try my best to savor every minute of his company.

We are best friends and have all kinds of adventures together. He is the most experienced and capable outdoorsman I know and I am proud as heck of him. He still pisses me off quite regularly and a good pounding would teach him a few things but I have very little to actually complain about. 

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Nice finds. Makes me wonder if there's a potential for even better flourite crystals in that area.

We find those crinoid stems in imbedded in limestone matrix which makes it very difficult to extract with damaging them.

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4 hours ago, Morlock said:

Nice finds. Makes me wonder if there's a potential for even better flourite crystals in that area.

We find those crinoid stems in imbedded in limestone matrix which makes it very difficult to extract with damaging them.

This spot has solid, sharp edged fluorite crystals the size of your fist. Most are aquamarine or pale lavender but there is red, yellow, blue, rainbow and deep violet. We were looking for a spot where I used to find deep purple crystals. We did not find the particular hole I used to cut them out of so we hit one of the bigger prospects. I found this on the dump. But there are some huge crystals to be had if you want to dig or break rock. There is acres of open pit mines and many hundreds of yards of tunnel and plenty of opportunity for excellent crystals

The spot has a fissure with calcite on one side and fluorite on the other. Many hundreds of tons of crystals have been taken out back in the day of vacuum tubes. There are all colors of crystals. Some are milky and some are crystal clear. Some of the fluorite was so clear it was used for lenses. There are calcite crystals as big as dictionaries. Some of it is super clear too. 

This little set of crystals had sharp corners and was a nice specimen so I brought it home. One of these days soon I will find my old diggings and post those big purple crystals. And I did get a bunch of solid material that will be nice to shape and polish. So I will post a few of the pieces once they are done.

The crinoid stems, calyxes and roots are laying everywhere under a certain layer of limestone. There are millions in a limestone matrix and even millions more in a loose matrix under the limestone blocks. There is a spot where a road cut this layer and the freed crinoid stem "buttons" are thick where the layer has been disturbed. There are several types of fossil shells too. Many are iridescent and colorful.  

I am going to try to shape and polish some of that fossiliferous limestone. It is really nice material and a small piece can have a thousand delicate fossils in it. Thumb sized pieces of it would make nice pendants.

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1 hour ago, hardtimehermit said:

Great finds, how did you guys do on the carving wood, find any keepers?

We found some sweet knifeleaf and a half truckload of acacia. What I don't use for carving I will use for my woodstove. It is CHILLY the past few days!

There are a few desert hardwoods that create burls. They are small but the wood has fantastic figuring. I have been making a lot if stuff from it and selling it at the local Farmers and Crafts Market. I am stabilizing some of the wilder pieces and making knife scales and turning blanks too.

I have been doing my art full time these days. Things from the desert mostly, and some clay sculpting along that theme. I have some tumbled agates, mineral specimens, glass arrowheads, fancy carved walking sticks and hammered copper work. I have red and green chile jewelry too.

I also have a line of antique glass jewelry that is selling big time. My son and I hunted glass for one day last month and I created over $1000 in inventory. It is almost gone and I am planning on hitting an old railroad camp tomorrow in hopes I find another bucket full of glass. I use as much red, yellow and purple glass as I can find and I am always looking for a spot to find more. 

We made a bunch of crinoid earrings today and developed a design integrating the crinoid fossils with hammered copper wire and old glass. The smaller fossils are going into clear resin castings and as details on some of my polymer clay sculptures. We try to mash anything we find into our designs and are coming up with some real desert flavor and completely unique ideas. 

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Here are a couple of blind snakes I carved from the whitethorn acacia. It is awesome wood to work with. Lotsa deep grain and beautiful color. It does not generally need stabilizing and takes a polish well. It flashes with a yellow color almost like opal when the light hits it just right. You can see a bit of that in the photo.

I am not quite finished with these two yet but you can get an idea of what the wood looks like and how it polishes up. These are sanded to 320 and rubbed with a waxy rag. I will finish them to 600 grit and wax them up good when I put the eyes on them. They will have a golden flash all down the sides when they are finished.

Knifeleaf condalia wood is even more beautiful. Big time color. I will post a photo of a carving made from knifeleaf tomorrow.

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Tip top Mr. Bedrock, you and your son are on a roll. You guys are doing what i dream of doing for a living. I work with wood, i like Manzanita the blood red skin or the grain both have a great look. I use the wood to make chairs or table bases and the cut offs burn well in my wood stove. I have some jewelry skills not much, but always learning. Some day i hope to live off of the materials found in the desert and mountains, what a great feeling and there is no way you can find this stuff at the home depot.

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We have manzanita and mahogany at altitude and I use it a lot! Some of those old twisted pieces don't need anything to make them look awesome.

-----

I have always held a steady job and it drove me nuts. I have PTSD and not having any personal time off drove me crazy. I went over 20 years with only weekends off and my last job I would work 40-50 days in a row every day without comp time or flex time. I could put in 50 hours in a week and have 20 days on duty and the college where I worked (NMSU) would demand I take 15 minutes of sick leave to have lunch with my mother off-campus.

The faculty there got 11 days off for Christmas Break but I worked every day and Christmas eve too. I worked every single holiday and about 2/3 of the weekends and could not get them to consider allowing me comp days off for the weekends and holidays I had to work. I was sick of getting up every day and going to that deserted campus to sit and fiddle away my weekends while my boss made six figures and showed up three days a week.

I could not make ends meet working 50-60 hours a week at a professional job and I was very unhappy. One day I decided that I was going to do what I was good at or starve to death trying. I cashed in my retirement fund, built a studio and put together some tools. I can hardly rub two nickels together today and I still work 50 hours a week but I am doing what I want to do. And I don't have to ask permission and take sick leave when I need to go to the bank or get a haircut. I may very well starve to death but it will be on my terms.

I worked for myself when I was a young man raising my son and I was really happy. I built custom homes and ran a carpentry crew. I simply did not have time to meet someone else's schedule being a single parent so I had to work for myself. I could not find work that would allow me the schedule flexibility that raising a child demanded.  So I started my own construction business and hired people to do most of the work. When my son was old enough to go to school I thought I was supposed to go to work at a job and make a living. That was just a fairy tale. I worked but I never could make a living. Everyone around me got comfortable on my sweat and I went home to a shack with a few sheckles. 

Today I sell everything I make and people tell me how talented I am rather than how much personal time I am going to have to give up. Folks are amazed at what I create and they smile. 1/3 of my work days are spent in the desert and 2/3 are spent in my studio sawing, sculpting and hammering. One day a week I spend at our fantastic local crafts market meeting smiling people and talking about happy things that bring joy. I have not had a bad day yet since I decided to be an artist. I have spent zero time answering to some corporate ass kisser who is only concerned about their 401K and how many days they have left until they retire comfortably.

Now I have time off and can spend an afternoon with my elderly mother and don't have to ask permission and give up my vacation time to do it. I can hunt with my son and don't have to work 40 days in a row to get the time off. And this year for the first time in my life I am going with the family for Christmas for four days to a mountain cabin near Greer Az. to relax and enjoy the holidays. It will be the very first Christmas that I did not have to work in about 4 years. The very first Christmas EVER that I did not have to give up vacation time or sick leave to go with family.

Life is short. Do what makes you art a lot. 

 

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Sounds like you have been a hard working man for many years. I think it's great you used your talents to get you to a place where you have some peace of mind, and room for Christmas with family! You have paid your dues my brother, may you spend the rest of your holidays with whoever you wish. I love that phrase of yours....

Life is short. Do what makes you art a lot. :thumbsupanim

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On 10/17/2018 at 10:14 AM, Bedrock Bob said:

We have manzanita and mahogany at altitude and I use it a lot! Some of those old twisted pieces don't need anything to make them look awesome.

-----

I have always held a steady job and it drove me nuts. I have PTSD and not having any personal time off drove me crazy. I went over 20 years with only weekends off and my last job I would work 40-50 days in a row every day without comp time or flex time. I could put in 50 hours in a week and have 20 days on duty and the college where I worked (NMSU) would demand I take 15 minutes of sick leave to have lunch with my mother off-campus.

The faculty there got 11 days off for Christmas Break but I worked every day and Christmas eve too. I worked every single holiday and about 2/3 of the weekends and could not get them to consider allowing me comp days off for the weekends and holidays I had to work. I was sick of getting up every day and going to that deserted campus to sit and fiddle away my weekends while my boss made six figures and showed up three days a week.

I could not make ends meet working 50-60 hours a week at a professional job and I was very unhappy. One day I decided that I was going to do what I was good at or starve to death trying. I cashed in my retirement fund, built a studio and put together some tools. I can hardly rub two nickels together today and I still work 50 hours a week but I am doing what I want to do. And I don't have to ask permission and take sick leave when I need to go to the bank or get a haircut. I may very well starve to death but it will be on my terms.

I worked for myself when I was a young man raising my son and I was really happy. I built custom homes and ran a carpentry crew. I simply did not have time to meet someone else's schedule being a single parent so I had to work for myself. I could not find work that would allow me the schedule flexibility that raising a child demanded.  So I started my own construction business and hired people to do most of the work. When my son was old enough to go to school I thought I was supposed to go to work at a job and make a living. That was just a fairy tale. I worked but I never could make a living. Everyone around me got comfortable on my sweat and I went home to a shack with a few sheckles. 

Today I sell everything I make and people tell me how talented I am rather than how much personal time I am going to have to give up. Folks are amazed at what I create and they smile. 1/3 of my work days are spent in the desert and 2/3 are spent in my studio sawing, sculpting and hammering. One day a week I spend at our fantastic local crafts market meeting smiling people and talking about happy things that bring joy. I have not had a bad day yet since I decided to be an artist. I have spent zero time answering to some corporate ass kisser who is only concerned about their 401K and how many days they have left until they retire comfortably.

Now I have time off and can spend an afternoon with my elderly mother and don't have to ask permission and give up my vacation time to do it. I can hunt with my son and don't have to work 40 days in a row to get the time off. And this year for the first time in my life I am going with the family for Christmas for four days to a mountain cabin near Greer Az. to relax and enjoy the holidays. It will be the very first Christmas that I did not have to work in about 4 years. The very first Christmas EVER that I did not have to give up vacation time or sick leave to go with family.

Life is short. Do what makes you art a lot. 

 

There's a ton of wisdom in that post.  My path in life was similar, just in a different part of the world, and I raised daughters on my own, instead of a son.  I suspect a son would have been less complicated, but I'm satisfied with my lot.

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