Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sustainability in Art: Lapidary Artistry, "Do you know where your stones come from?"


It is our responsibility to educate ourselves about the environmental impact our creations have on planet Earth. It is time to awaken and take stock of the materials we acquire and implement in our constructions, striving for sustainability whenever and wherever possible.


Over the last seventy-five thousand years, several major glacial epochs have occurred. Scattering tons of rocks across the landscape of West Central Illinois. 


Here are examples of naturally exposed glacial till stratifications and eroded rock sandbars.


Hand collecting stones individually leaves virtually no impact on the ecosystem. 


At Sustainable Stones, we are personally involved in each aspect of the lapidary process. 


Rough then finished petrified wood hand collected and cut by Steve Tieken.


-Steve Tieken

2014 © tanner/tieken 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sustainability in Art: The Illuminated Shadow Self

As artists and human beings living on planet Earth, we are all inextricably bound by our essential need for raw materials and natural resources. Creating a sustainable balance between what we consume and discard, with what we accumulate and propagate is imperative if we are to flourish into the future.


Your Shadow Self is a Constant Companion. Let the Light Shine Upon it.


-Steve Tieken

2014 © Tanner/Tieken

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sustainability in Art: Coyote Medicine

In our search for Sustainable Stones, we often cross paths with other residents on the landscape, one of which is the coyote.


These interactions are the inspiration for our EarthWorks and EarthWear collection

"Coyote Medicine"

Bracelet concept and design Tanner/Tieken, Sustainable Stones, natural dyes collected and prepared by artists on 100% cotton string. For more information on this collection, please visit our shop: Sustainable Stones.

-Steve Tieken


2014 © Tanner/Tieken

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sustainability in Art: A brief history on fossil formations in West Central Illinois...

Ancient sandstone and shale formation containing Carboniferous fossils

During the Carboniferous Period between 350 and 400 million years ago, plant life first appeared in what is now Illinois. Remnants of these primordial coal forests can be found today in shale and sandstone formations as fossils. Here are several examples including stigmaria:

Examples of the earliest plant fossils, including stigmaria.
Note: These large slab fragments break away through natural erosion as well as freezing and thawing.

350 million years ago, West Central Illinois was covered in seawater containing vast coral reefs which died out during a mass extinction at the end of the Paleozoic Era (about 250 million years ago.) It is from this period that fossilized coral was formed. Here are several examples from our Sustainable Stones collection:

Examples of rough, cut and finished fossilized coral.

 For more on Sustainable Stones High Profile fossil cabochon collection please visit our shop:
  Sustainable Stones
-Steve Tieken
copyright 2014 © Tanner/Tieken 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sustainability in Art: A reflection on the mystery of creation and creativity...

This is a photo of a massive 20 foot tall installation piece, fashioned from pole pines, created on the landscape where we live. We managed to capture this amazing sunset one cold winter evening. I wrote this poem and it reflects the moment for me.. 



2014 © Tanner/Tieken

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sustainability in Art: Beavers Return to Our Favorite Creek



"Earth Spirit Vessel" by Steve Tieken
Our truly unique planet is home to an array of fauna and flora. It is our responsibility to assure their right to exist.


Return of the Beavers

Beavers are critical to a vibrant and healthy eco-system. The dams they engineer are architectural wonders creating habitat for a variety of aquatic creatures along with providing reliable water sources for the numerous birds and animals that depend on it.


During the late fall and early winter months they store underwater caches of food known as larders, such as this one.


Willow trees supply sticks and timbers for building and repairing dams and the pulpy bark is a major food source. Here you can see one of their willow harvesting sites. While this may appear to be destructive, it stimulates new growth in the spring.

The beaver's chisel-like teeth are extremely hard and leave unmistakable gouge marks on wood.

I call the discarded, chewed or gnawed twigs, beaver sticks, 
and consider them little pieces of art, often incorporating them into my own works.

Here are a couple of examples:
"Deer Altar" Incorporating large beaver sticks

"Earth Spirit Vessel" with beaver sticks from our Sustainable Stones Gourd Fetish Bowl Collection.
-Steve Tieken

If you're interested in learning more about the life of beavers, you can view the

copyright © 2014 Tanner/Tieken

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sustainability in Art.

"Big Chunky" by Steve Tieken

With over 150 hours of grinding, polishing and drilling, "Big Chunky" is my homage to the ancient Meso-American stone bead makers and the flamboyant ceremonial jewelry they created. Each stone was hand collected from places near and dear to my heart.


"Air & Sky Spirit Vessel" by Steve Tieken

Long before the discovery and use of pottery, gourds were fashioned by ancient man into a variety of utilitarian and ceremonial objects such as cups, bowls and dippers. I approached our new devotional gourd fetish bowl collection with total sustainability in mind. Please visit our shop page Sustainable Stones to view the complete collection and for a list and description of all materials used in the construction.


-Steve Tieken


copyright • 2014 Tanner/Tieken all right reserved