It Mini-Marvel time!
I know it's amazing, but I actually have a SECOND Etsy-Man for you...I know, they are such rare creatures we all think they've become extinct! :)
HappyTortoiseSupply is an absolute sweetheart who has the bizarre knack of being able to hit the 00 count in all our threads. We won't hold that against him though...;) He's a super talented cutter and a super talented designer, as attested by his second shop HappyTortoiseDesigns, with a great sense of humor and a huge Tortoise for a wonderful pet. Sometimes, I picture him smiling when I read what he's written.
I asked him to give us a little taste of his passions and here's what he has to say.
I came into my art through an unlikely source – science. I’ve always been a science nut and math geek. Probably because that’s what I was good at right away, so I went with it. By high school I was doing higher calculus and physics equations in my head, but couldn’t draw a straight line. Unless I was trying to draw a curve. No kidding, that bad.
Which is a shame, because I love art. I’ve studied art, art history, modern art, etc. I can appreciate it in all it’s forms. I always felt left out that I couldn’t participate because what was in my head couldn’t be brought out.
In comes my muse – rocks. When I first started dating my wife, she had some specimens all over her apartment. Geodes, faced pieces of jasper, minerals, etc. I was fascinated by them. I learned their names quickly, and wanted more. That lead me to collect and study minerals. Thousands of them, every type, every formation, every color. Nature is a better artist than any human could ever hope to be. My love of science and art found an unlikely perfect union.
Then at a local rock show I saw someone demonstrating cabbing. I’m good with my hands, familiar with tools and machines, so I thought “I could do that.” I wandered over and watched the guy running through his full routine. I knew I’d want to try my hand at it, but no such luck. The machines were too messy and noisy for an apartment.
Fortunately, we moved into a house (with a good sized garage for studio space) about half a year later, and the odyssey began. Now I cut every chance I get.
I think this background gives me a fairly unique approach to the stones. I can appreciate the patterns, inclusions, colors, and implied images in the slabs I work with. I can look at a slab and see both the minerals and formation as well as the scene. I don’t cut the stone just to make a cab, or try to force a scene. I let the picture come to me and try to free it, accentuate it, and highlight it. The art is already done by the Earth. I just try to translate it for other people. It is a good bridge between my appreciation of others’ work, and finally being able to participate.
Which leads to the metal work. Cutting a stone is all well and good, but then... what to do with them all? Sure, sell them. But all of them? No, I had to do something more.
I enrolled in the jewelry program at North Seattle Community College, and had the honor of working under the tutelage of Lynne Hull. One of the best in the nation, I’m told. And believe.
Again, I found a pleasant melding of art and science. Shaping the metal, soldering, fusing, cutting, casting... hands-on art, no doubt. But also the metallurgy, understanding how the metal reacts, alloys... Oh yeah, I’ve found my art. Rock and metal.
After a few years of limited studio time, I feel I’m just coming out of my artistic infancy. I’m pushing my schedule for more studio time, pushing my skills to expand what I can do, learning how to market and run a business, so I can sell my work. The final goal is to become self supported doing what I most love. But the process of getting there is so enjoyable, that I'm in no particular hurry.