Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sustainability in Art: From Find to Finish, Collecting, Cutting and Drilling an Agate Tube Bead


Wanaree and I are both fascinated with various types of ancient beads from around the world. We collaborated on this beautiful agate tube bead inspired by Meso-American and Mesopotamian stone work.

We always look forward to the spring flooding of our beloved creek at the Sustainable Stones Studio, anticipating the treasures to be uncovered. Here is a selection of rough agates recently discovered, we chose the one on the right for this project.

Numerous creeks in West Central Illinois are glacial till laden, revealing a variety of semi-precious stones.


This agate specimen caught my eye immediately.


Agate is a fine grain variegated chalcedony (transluscent quartz) having colors arranged in stripes, bands or blended cloud forms.


We decided to make a traditional tube bead from this rough form.


One of the problems with cutting stones from the rough are their irregularities. In the case of this stone there were several large indentations and deep pits that had to be worked around.

I always cut freehand, it gives me a better feel for the stone.


Even though I'm always aware that I'm using a modern lapidary machine, I prefer the work to look ancient.


Drilling a stone bead takes finesse, you want to make sure the stone is stable and use a good lubricant.

Drilling a large hole in any stone takes patience and time, as stone work can never be rushed.



We wanted the original spirit of the stone to shine through, paying tribute to it's natural form.



-Steve Tieken


2016©tanner/tieken 

1 comment:

  1. I am in love with this bead!! I miss you both and the creek and the studio. It makes me happy to see you both!

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