Sunday, April 19, 2009

Agate Genesis Research

I have spent all day and most of the past few days conducting research on agate genesis. I plan on using the information to update and expand my Understanding Agates Presentation (which I have to present in Holland, MI on April 29th). The research will also be incorporated into the second edition of my agate book, which I hope to publish in 2010. Although I understand a lot more about the factors that influenced agate formation, I still cannot say which of the two main theories I support. My gut feeling is that maybe both of these theories (inflow theory and silica gel theory), and perhap others, are correct. After all, there are 3,000 agates in the world that have formed under a vast array of conditions. Perhaps there is not just one genesis process.

I also met this past week with Shawn Malone, who is a photographer from Marquette. I think we hit it off because we are both "corporate refugees." She speciallizes in landscapes and northern lights photos. Since the northern lights are in a slow period of their cycle, she is looking for other photographic subjects.

I've purchased photos from her before, plus we talked at the Escanaba Art Show last month. We discussed the possibilty of her taking close up pictures of agates and related minerals. Thus, we finally met and I loaned her many of the "Wowser" rocks, as well as some other interesting agate slabs I've been collecting. We are still working out the synergistic relationship, but at the very least I will be selling some of her incredible agate close-up prints. She will also be selling them at the 29 shows she is exhibiting at this year. I hope to have some in time to sell at the Cuyuna Agate and Mineral Show in MN on May 2-3. Below are a few of the preliminary shots. For those of you who have seen the "Wowser" rocks, the first two are the Priday Agate and the Montana Dry Head Agate. The third photo is a close up of an Iris agate. You can learn more about Shawn's work at If you think you may be interested in purchasing an agate close up print, and/or for those of you who are familiar with the Wowser Rocks and you have a request for a particular agate photo, please send me an email to

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Yeseterday and today certainly feel like spring in Grand Marais. Yesterday is the first time I've desended Sable Falls steps this spring. There is quite a bit of ice on the steps, which makes it tricky getting down. It was worth it, though. It was a beautiful evening to spend on the beach with a temperature in the mid 50s and calm wind. There is still some ice on shore in spots, but there are rocks exposed all along the beach. Unfortuantely, the rock piles are not as high as they have been in past years.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Hike

Happy belated Easter to everyone. I would have posted this update yesterday, but I decided on Friday to sign up for the backup service from Mozy. I am glad to have computer backup for a reasonable price, but it took 51 hours for all of my files (including zillions of photos) to be encripted and uploaded. Considering that I now have the 6G high speed Internet, I am surprised that it took so long.

It has been sunny the last few days with light winds around 10mph. The waves and warmer temperatures have eaten away at the ice west of town, as you can see in the shot taken below from the dunes looking west. I love the angle in the shot taken from the dunes looking east. It is an unusual and unexpected angle of the breakwater. The third shot was taken from the dunes looking toward Sable Lake, which is the white section in the middle of the photo. There is still ice on the shore in town, but temperatures this week will be in the 50s, and could even reach 60 on Thursday.

Saturday and Easter Sunday, friends and I walked across the dunes to enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures. On Sunday, we brought with us my camping stove and cooked ham, sweet potatoes, and baked beans. It was a nice feast and certainly a different way to enjoy Easter dinner.

I hope that everyone had a nice holiday weekend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

First Rocks

I promised everyone that I would notify you when the first shoreline rocks are exposed. Yesterday, we hiked from Sable Lake all the way across the dunes and back. When we approached the bluff -- there they were. As already reported, the icebergs have been taking a beating. In town at Agate Beach, there is still ice on shore. However, there are spots wherein the ice is completely gone from shore. The spot in the picture is probably a mile from Sable Creek. I hear that there are other spots, too, if you can get there. The roads are still not opened up so that is a challenge. Of coucrse, the area in the photo is part of the national park, so it is not legal for rockhounding. It looks like spring is finally getting here, though.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Icebergs in the Spring

For the past few days we have been hiking in the dunes, as usual. I haven't taken any new pictures in the dunes because the wind has been blowing so hard -- I didn't want to get sand in my digital camera.

After hiking early this morning, I have been working on art all day. Finally, I couldn't refuse the lure of the sunshine. It still wasn't real warm with 38 degrees and a stiff, but not heavy wind, such as we have had the past couple of days. So to Agate Beach I went with my friend, Kim, and her dog Danny.

The fierce winds from the past couple of days have taken their toll on the icebergs. The first row is still hugging the beach, but the icebergs are shrnking with every wave. The piles of rocks have not yet been exposed and are still covered with ice, but it won't be long. I'll keep everyone aprised of the situation over the coming days and weeks.

Included below are some of the pictures I took while down the beach at around 5:00 p.m. this evening.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another snowshoe in the dunes

Today it was in the 40s and sunny, so my friend Dianna Bell asked me to snowshoe the Sable Visitors Center trail. What a beautiful day.

As we walked along the river, there was significant evidence that the beavers have been busy. Pictured below is a chewed off tree stump, and the beaver dam that is still in progress.

The rest of the pictures document the remainder of our hike along Sable River and into the dunes. Over the next few weeks, I'll continue to document the ever changing shoreline. I'm also including in this posting the sign about the Ghost Forest.

More Mineral Art For Sale

I've decided that I will list mineral art that is for sale not only on this page, but thanks again to my daughter-in-law, Jericho, I am also listing items on

Agate Plate Hanger

This agate plate includes 11 agates that are encased in a two-part acrylic that I poured over a glass plate. The plate is 8 inches in diameter. With the brass chain, the suncatcher is 17 inches high. RETAIL PRICE: $30.00 plus shipping and handling and applicable sales tax.

Agate Candle

This agate candle includes a glass tea light holder, surrounded by more than 100 Lake Superior agates inset in a 9 inch square glass plate by using a two-part acrylic. RETAIL PRICE: $30.00 plus shipping and handling and applicable sales tax.

Agate Lamp 901

This unique triangle lamp has a granite base (15" each side x 1 1/4"high. The overall lamp is 25 inches tall. It contains 40 Brazilian agates, 4 rare moss agates from India, and 6 slabs of amazonite from Argentina. RETAIL PRICE: $550 plus shipping, handling, and applicable sales tax.


This agate tower lamp has a granite base that measures 15 inches square x 1 1/4 inches high. The overall lamp is 24 1/2 inches high and includes approximately 70 Brazilian agates. RETAIL PRICE: $725 plus shipping, handling, and applicable sales tax.

Agate In-Out Desk Tray

This agate in-out desk tray makes a nice gift for someone to use at work or at home. It measures 12 1/2" x 9 5/8" x 2 1/2" and includes 13 Brazilian agates. RETAIL PRICE: $75 plus shipping, handling, and applicable sales tax.

Agate Trivet

This agate trivet includes 14 agates encased in a two-part acrylic inside a cut-glass trivet. It is intended to be used for decoration and/or as a candle stand or cold-food serving tray. It measures 9 1/2 inches in diameter. RETAIL PRICE: $42 plus shipping, handling, and applicable sales tax.

Agate Window Panels
Two new agate window panels are for sale. Specifications are below:

Agate Window 903: Freeform design, 13" x 9", 15 agates: $75 plus s,h,& t
Agate Window 904: Circle design, 10" in diameter, 18 agates, $70 plus s,h, & t

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Current Grand Marais Scenes

Before getting together with friends last night, I drove around town to take a few pictures of the current scenes. Although the temperature was in the 40s, the brisk wind at the end of Coast Guard Point made it feel like it was in the teens. I snapped off a few pictures showing what the channel looks like right now. The storm front is west of us, but you can see the snow clouds out over the lake.

Next I drove east of town and turned down Cemetary Road to see what the channel at east bay looks like. This time of year as the snow and ice melt, the contrasting colors of the sand and ice make for interesting photography.

New Art Work for sale

I just finished another agate window panel. The creative concept for this one is sand dunes meet the lake and the sky. It measures 23" x 11" and retails for $180, not including shipping/handling and applicable sales tax. Any art work that I am posting for sale on this blog will be availabale until April 21st, after which I will be packing for my next art show.