I am a simple guy. I have found lately that the greatest joy comes from the simplest of things – the warm touch of a loved one, the beach-stone you rub that lives with the change in your pocket, a well tuned bike. In my chosen life’s work I am rounding the edges of a timeless and often well worn stone, completing the process begun by mother nature. I go with her flow. I pierce the stone and turn it into a bead. A simple but joyful endeavor. From the earth, through my hands, on to the body of a fellow earthling to be worn as a stone companion in this journey – life.
My relationship with my craft is based on my life long fascination with the ancient cultures of the world, particularly the Mayan culture and their stone working traditions. As a young man, just out of college, I spent about 2 years hitch-hiking Mexico and Central. I was amazed at the beauty of the Mayan people and their inherent reverence, and respect for the Earth. I was equally dazzled by the ancient stone work I found in Museums and still being worn by the local people.
At one point I was in the market town of Chichicastenago, Guatemala. I was out shooting pictures of all the beauty, when I passed a church. An old man grabbed me by the arm and pulled me to the steps to sit next to him. He told me, in spanish, “you are Maya”. I corrected him and said, “no, I am an American”. He insisted, and I noticed he was blind with cataracts. We sat together in silence for a few minutes, then I politely excused myself and went on my way. That day has stuck with me because the stone beads I make are simple and resemble very much the ancient mayan jade beads I am so fascinated by. And now, when I am in my shop cutting stones with sophisticated lapidary equipment, I sometimes journey back in time to the edge of a creek, where my hands are darker, and I am working the beads in the ancient tradition, with a bow, a string, a sharpened stick, and sand as my cutting medium. It is a simple but profound vision that informs who I am and how I think about my craft. Maybe that old blind man saw something in me I didn’t know about myself at that time. Maybe, deep in my soul, I am Mayan.