This is my first article as the writer for the Sun Lakes Rock and Gem Club. I’ve been a member for just under two years and enjoy the activity and friendly cooperation of the more experienced members. My goal is to feature each activity and shop within the club so prospective members know what to expect.
Active members can design and finish beautiful works of art simply by taking classes and actively pursuing the activity of their choice. Classes include lapidary, silver, Lost Wax, wire wrap, Ming tree, stone handle, faceting, beading, gourd art, PMC, stained glass, dichroic glass and the study or rocks and minerals. There are probably other options I have missed but be assured there is something for everyone. You may even bring a skill to the group that is original and incorporates well to the art.
The latest technology in machines and equipment await your presence to use on a year round basis in three different locations. As a full time resident I found the air conditioned shops a pleasant place to spend the afternoon on a hot summer day. Skilled monitors are on duty in open shops to assist you with any project and assure your safety. Raw materials for stone work can be found on field trips or picked up at rock shops in the surrounding communities. It’s a great way to create your own valuable souvenirs of the places you visit. It is also a fun way to make gifts for those hard to buy for friends and relatives. They appreciate something that is handmade and quality finished.
My first visit was the wire wrap class at Cottonwood taught by Gene Kelly. Students Sandy Buike, Anita Metzbower and Jo Fett were busy with the meticulous art making beautiful pieces of shell, pearls and polished stones wrapped with gold wire to make attractive pieces of jewelry. It takes patience and a steady hand to perfect a piece. The instructors I have dealt with take pride in their students work and point out any flaws and methods to correct them. They attentively watch the work progress and give much needed hands on advice.
Field trips to stone acquisition sites are arranged by the club and all able bodied members are encouraged to come along. There are some modest fees but nothing compares to finding your own stone on a hillside dig and bringing it back for cutting and polishing.
Faceting precious stones can be very rewarding. A week’s worth of work can turn a $30 dollar stone into a treasure to be mounted in a silver or gold ring resulting in a piece that could rival those at your local jewelry store.
Access the club website at Sun Lakes Rock Gem and Silver Club; http://sunlakesrockandgemclub.org/Trips.html. Meetings are held each month on the third Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m. in the Navajo Room.