Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Starry night or Nightmare on Elm Street?

Kambaba Jasper from Madagascar
You know how sometimes you see a rock or a slab and it instantly reminds you of something else?

To me, this slab of Kambaba Jasper from Madagascar reminded me of the famous Vincent van Gogh painting "Starry Night". It was something about the orbs and the sense of movement that made me connect the two.

Of course, aside from the color differences, there's the issue that one is made of paint and the other is made of fossilized stromatolite algae, making it a perfect vehicle for me to create my own Starry Night--or a cat?

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

There are so many stories hidden in this piece of jasper, but the one that jumped right out at me was this cat face.

This is the slab after I'd scribed it and done the rough shaping.

It came with a problem we've all experienced; dealing with orbs and swirls. While those elements are critical to the story in the stone, they can make getting that story to show in the cab difficult since they change size and shape as you grind down the slab. Would I lose the cat and his cute little split nose?

I was lucky, pretty much in terms of keeping the most obvious elements, but it no longer says "cat" to me. The eyes are still there, but the cute little split nose, now looks like the mouth of a nauseated alien!

Once the cab was done, it became obvious that the different textures of the material were not going to polish evenly. I polished it on my grinder up to 50,000 grit and while it became mildly reflective, the shine is uneven at best. So now, it's not a beautiful, contemplative "Starry Night", it's more of a "Nightmare on Elm Street" kind of cab!
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I'd love to hear about your experiences with stromatolite or other cabbing materials that have multiple textures and shapes. Drop me a note at the comments section below.

Yours for lapidary fun,

Donna Albrecht
Your Lapidary Whisperer

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