The story of many rock enthusiasts begins at an early age. For me, I didn’t discover a true love and fascination for rocks until 2012 when I was exploring in Wyoming. Being from Virginia originally, rocks were not as prominent in my life as the forest. I had a love for climbing on large boulders, seeing them peek throughout the trees, moss covered, inhabiting mountain tops. I was always mesmerized, but these moments were few and far between.
In 2005, I moved out west to Utah. Rocks galore. A completely different landscape. Alien compared to the forests of the east. I was thoroughly impressed and in awe of hoodoos, arches, mesas, canyons, and natural rock formations, but even still my heart longed for the forest. Slowly over time, my connection to stone and the desert began to take shape.
In 2013, I was back exploring in Wyoming once more. This time taking more notice of the beautiful pebbles surrounding me. I collected petrified wood, banded iron and jasper, agate, feldspar, aventurine, and others. I went to a local rock shop and talked to the geologist there about the stones in the area. He identified the ones I’d collected and told me other places nearby to search. At that time in life, I couldn’t identify a single stone beyond quartz and petrified wood. I didn’t even know what agate was, nor the difference between a rock and a mineral. The geologist advised me, if I wanted to learn, to hang out in rock shops and ask a lot of questions.
That’s what I did. I was back living in Utah, found a local rock shop, and my aunt and uncle bought me a rock tumbler. I bought a Falcon’s guide to Utah rockhounding and began short rock hunting trips. I loved watching the rocks progress in the tumbler. Checking on them every few days to observe the slight changes, photoing them along the way.
In 2015, the same aunt and uncle bought me a Dremel. They thought with all these rocks I was collecting I should be doing something more with them. Personally, I just liked looking at them, but decided to give the Dremel a go. I started out by carving hearts. Something simple to learn the tool. I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t have the best practices in the beginning, but eventually, I’ve learned more.
I only carved a few months in the summer each year. Carving is incredibly messy, a better hobby for outdoors. But in 2019, I came across a youtuber who posts videos on rock carving. She had an indoor setup where she carves inside a box to contain the mess. This was a life changer for me. The difference of carving 3 months a year to all year long. I also discovered a lapidarist and gemologist who teaches lapidary lessons and began going to his classes. His focus is more on jewelry, faceting gemstones and making cabochons, but he does many other things as well. I learned so much in such a short time and am grateful for the experience.
Now, living back on the east coast in West Virginia, I’m buying the rocks I carve and have invested in some better tools. It’s been exciting to progress and go from sitting on the ground carving little rocks out of a bucket of water to having a decent set up with better tools making the job easier.
Please feel free to browse my portfolio and contact me with any questions!
Check out my author page on amazon as well! I’ve written 10 children’s books and 1 travel novel.