Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A fossil's journey

How does a prehistoric animal make its way from the bottom of the ocean floor to my craft desk? Well tonight, my friends, I will show you. It all starts in my hometown, at my dad's place. He has a mini storage business, and in between the buildings are roads made of gravel. The gravel comes from a local quarry, where remnants of Oklahoma's underwater past lie hidden in the rock. So my quest to make these ancient critters into wearable art begins here, in the gravel.

It looks daunting, I know. But once you sit your happy little self down on the ground and really start searching, they are easier to find than you may think.

That's because gravel is one of the best sources for finding fossils. Just take a closer look, I can see one right now!

Once I've collected a satisfying amount of fossils, I steal an envelope from dad's desk and stuff it full of my prehistoric loot.

When I get home, I sort through the rocks to find the ones I want to use. This is where about 90% of them get weeded out, because there are a lot of factors determining whether they will be suitable for my purposes. They have to be the perfect size. Too big, and it will be uncomfortable to wear, too small and it's virtually impossible to wire wrap. I also prefer fossils that are very visible and easy to identify.  From this haul, I was only able to find a handful that I could make into pendants.

I put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them.

Once they soak for about half an hour and the water cools, I pull them out one by one and scrub them down. This removes all loose dirt, so that I am left with nice clean fossils drying on a paper towel while the nastiness is left behind in the hot water.

I let them dry completely, and then bust out my jewelry supplies. I use flexible silver craft wire to wrap each fossil into its own little cage. The end product is an amazing little fossilized animal that you can wear!

The finished fossil pendants can be made into necklaces, keychains, or good-luck charms for those who feel empowered by carrying around little relics from ancient history.  They make great gifts for aspiring scientists and historians of all ages, so look closely at the rocks around you and craft up a keepsake from any nifty ones you find.  Happy crafting!

16 comments:

Heather said...

How neat! I love these! You are so creative. I will see you on May 9!!~

Funkybella said...

Wow! Those are really cool!
I look forward to meeting you at Deluxe!

SheezKrafty said...

I totally wire wrap rocks too! Wow, our minds are pretty on key sometimes! I've yet to do a show this season but will also be at Deluxe! I hope to see you there as well as the jewelry show this weekend :)

Brigid said...

This is a great post, Holly. I love your wrapped fossils. I bet my college geology professor would like them, too! :)

Alicia said...

You are awesome.

Renee said...

Awww! After hearing to story of how these came about, it's so cool to put pictures to words! You're one clever lady. Oh and a hot one, of course!

TheresaJ said...

Great post! Your pendants are great and I really enjoyed reading about your whole process.

Good luck at the show! I wish you lots and lots of sales! :)

byrheea said...

This is such an awesome post Holly! Now we all know how your lovely jewelry are made. A valuable lesson for us too.

Ps: Thank you for your encouragement, I will pull up my socks again! Oh, and to answer your question, I'm 27 this year. If I remember correctly, one or two years older than you? :)

Have a beautiful weekend,
Rheea

cabin + cub said...

How cool... who knew that you could find such ancient treasures in everyday gravel!

Hollyrocks said...

Cabin + Cub, that's one of the things that fascinates me the most. It's also why my dad doesn't mind me taking so many of them, he's like "they're just rocks." Lol.

Sue Furrow said...

Really cool post. I like to go to a local river and hunt for rocks. I have not found any fossils yet.

Jennifer Juniper said...

What a great idea for all those cool fossils my boys collect. I think you're on to something there!

Jen

devonrose said...

those are awesome! I love the raw look of your wire wrapped rocks (as soon as Devon stops ripping apart my jewelry) I want one!

CheshireCatsGrin said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing.

Estela said...

You're adorable! That's such a great idea! I'm super glad you have a story of the process to go with it! It makes it that much cooler!

Audrey said...

That's so cool!! Who would have thought?