Medium: Mixed Media
I studied theatre as an undergraduate at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, and then started my career as a teacher here in central Texas. I consider myself fortunate to have spent my entire educational career in or near the Bastrop County area. I enjoyed being a classroom teacher for 20 years before I went to the dark side and became an administrator. Being a principal did not, however, squelch my creative spark. I began to slice AGATE about 8 years ago.
In the mid eighties I met a lapidarist named Lloyd Yates. Lloyd had developed a method to cut AGATE very thin to about 1/8” and piece it together like stained glass and build lampshades. The first time I saw one of his lampshades I was struck by the quality of light as it passed through rock that was thousands of years old.
Lloyd was ninety years old and interested in selling his equipment to someone who showed enthusiasm for his craft. I purchased Lloyd’s rock saw and gained a friend and mentor and about 600 pounds of raw AGATE. Lloyd lived to be one hundred and one years old.
I have modified Yates’ technique somewhat and have focused on making smaller, more affordable pieces like night lights. Each piece is unique as I never know what I am going to find when I cut into an agate or when I start to puzzle- piece the parts together.
I cut all the agate in my shop with a diamond saw blade which allows cuts to about 1/8" thickness to create the translucent light through rock. Night Lights measure approximately 8” x 6”. All lights are one of kind; some whimsical house shapes come with flags, chimneys, and green amenities such as rain water catchments. Many reflect a stained glass effect reminiscent of church domes. I recently expanded into specialty items such as a repurposed opera stage light and antique organ pedals.