"Oh my gosh, can I see that tray please?" The younger kid behind the case, hands me a tray of fossilized alligator skull and I can only imagine that I look like a kid on Christmas morning as he hands it across the table. I start picking pieces out, studying them, placing them on my fingers, holding them up to see them in better light, until finally placing them in my tray, and scooting them around. The older gentleman walks over and starts telling me the story of the bones. Found off the coast in Georgia by a buddy. "These are just the pieces. He had full skulls. He thought I wanted to try and glue all the little pieces back together." We both laugh and shake our heads. He looks at what I have in my tray, "Wait! I know you!" I lift my eyes to meet his and smile. "You're the girl that buys all the weird stuff! The *good stuff. I have some special things to show you!"This man is a well known lapidary artist, he cuts for a number of other wonderful sellers out there and somehow our paths cross even when I'm not shopping directly from him. And every time he sees my tray, "Wait! I know you!" And then usually the seller I'm buying with says, "Yeah, she always buys all our weird stuff!" Maybe most people would take that the wrong way, but those words are like a badge of honor for me, and those men mean it in the most loving way possible. Because they love all the 'weird stuff' probably even more than I do. And I see their vision. Everyone likes to be understood.
If its fossilized, petrified, pyritized, agatized, or what I like to call "crunchy," I want it. I'm drawn to it. I obsess over it. But then why don't you see it in my work? Well, I hoard it. I hoard it like a crazy person and I just stare at it and pet it and call it a pretty rock and then put it back to bed. This year I have promised myself that I am going to start using these pieces, I need to share them, to put them out into the world, to show people why these stones are FAR more precious than any pieces of turquoise or agate or chrysoprase will ever be. Not that those stones aren't absolutely gorgeous, but these fossils and minerals have a history, deep, amazing texture, and a story unlike anything else. And wearing something unusual is far more exciting, especially when people start asking you about it.