Apr 25

Artist Date: Rock Tumbling

IMG_20160423_152012For this week’s Artist Date, I tumbled rocks.

Since the New Year, I’ve been exploring different healing modalities. One of the things that attracted me was healing crystals. Do they work? I don’t know, but they look pretty, even in their rough form.

The first thing I did was go online and order a variety of stones from India. I tried to identify each type. Sometimes, I was successful (red carnelian, dalmation jasper, green jasper, rose quartz). Sometimes, it took me a while to figure out (oh, hello, so you’re a garnet, are you?). And there are still a few rocks that I just can’t quite distinguish.

I didn’t feel like I needed the crystals to be shiny in order for them to work. And yet, I kind of wanted them to look pretty. Don’t get me wrong, they were already beautiful in raw form. However, I could tell by how the colors came alive simply from washing them that they would be quite stunning if tumbled and polished.

I bought a tumbler from eBay. That was about three months ago. I read the instructions when I first got it, and I thought, “Gee, that’s kind of complicated, isn’t it?” I found it intimidating. So, I left it in the box it came from and didn’t think much about it.

But this week, I decided I’d do it. I gathered my materials. I pried the lid off the canister. I filled it with rocks, grit, and water. And then…well, I had a hard time figuring out how to get the lid on properly. I did a search on Youtube and found a demonstration of someone using the tumbler. Eureka! It showed me what I was doing wrong. With that little bit of insight and an equal amount of muscle power, I popped the lid in place. I put the outer lid on top, tightened the bolt, and set it on the rollers. I plugged in the tumbler and held my breath. I had purchased it used, so I wasn’t 100% sure it would work. However, it started right up and the barrel began its slow but steady roll.

Rock Tumbling

Rock Tumbling

That was it. It’s supposed to continue, non-stop, for a week. Then, I replace the water and grit with a finer grit and run it for another week. Repeat, repeat, for a total of four weeks until I get shiny, pretty crystals.

Whenever I’d notice the sound of my little tumbler, it made me happy. Although I can’t stand waiting, I loved the anticipation!

And then…it stopped working.

I was heartbroken. I am not mechanically minded. Maybe I had bought a crappy used machine. Maybe the seller knew this would happen but took my money anyway. Maybe I just don’t get to have nice things.

I decided I either had to fix the dang thing or buy a brand new one that wouldn’t disappoint. So, I took a screwdriver to the contraption, dismantled it, and discovered the belt had snapped. With a little wrangling and help from my daughter, I replaced the belt. I plugged it in and held my breath.

Victory! My tumbler is now tumbling again, and I’m back to awaiting the fruits of my labor. Its labor. Both.

Fun factor: Anticipation! And I’m super proud of myself for figuring out mechanical things.

Share your thoughts.

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