Ever sit back and look around at all the products that are available to you? Just a walk in the grocery store you can see food that comes from farmers, bakers, and companies from all around the world. The farmers, they take a small seed and make it into food. Are you married or know someone who is? Do they have a simple ring or wedding band?
You see jewelry on people and in jewelry stores. Because we see it everywhere, we tend to ignore how truly special jewelry is.
This is a simplified version of how a wedding band goes from mineral to your finger. A wedding band is generally made of gold or platinum. While you might see plenty of gold or platinum jewelry at a store or on people, the precious metals have a long and difficult process to become the wedding band that you see before you.
First you can pan for gold, you can also mine gold or platinum and mining is by no means an easy task. Now, hard rock mining produces most of the world’s gold and platinum. Mining for gold or platinum can be done underground or in open-pit style mining. To fully understand the amount of work it takes to mine gold you have to think about all the heavy machinery and back breaking work that needs to be done. On average 33 tons of material (rock) to produce an ounce of gold. Wow, that is probably harder than finding a needle in a haystack.
The gold is then made into an alloy so it can be used for the ring. Pure gold is often too soft so other metals are added to make the gold harder. Wedding bands are usually made through a die striking process or a casting process.
Die striking involves heavy machinery striking the gold under tons of pressure that in the end results as a wedding band. A cast wedding band is made using the lost wax process. This means that the ring has to be first sculpted out of wax. The ring then has a type of plaster mold made out of it and the wax is melted out and the gold moves in. The wedding band has to be properly polished and finished.
Even though this might sound complicated, this process is for a simple wedding band. More complicated designs include more steps which might include engraving or adding diamonds and gemstones. So next time you notice a wedding band, take the time to appreciate all the time it took to make that piece of jewelry.
Most people have to wake up and go to work. As you know, this is called a commute. Many of us have a long commute, I remember while living in Miami, the commute would last an hour for only about a 15 mile drive. Well, I’m glad that is over with, but that got me thinking of the exact opposite of a full on rush hour, nature.
Animals also have to get food and take care of young ones, so I decided to paint an everglades version of the typical commute. You have the peaceful water or “river of grass” with a mangrove pushing out to break the landscape. On the mangrove you see that beautiful bird, the roseate spoonbill. Watch out, traffic is really getting heavy with a heron flying by. Here’s to hoping your next commute it this peaceful.
The Morning Commute
It is unusual for me to cover so many local events. I usually have to be dragged out of my cave, where I happily paint interesting pictures. I ventured this time to Baygrass Bluegrass in Islamorada. This bluegrass event is only two years old but seems more mature when you consider how well the event is put together. The event is put together by ICE and their fealess leader David Feder.
The bands featured in the event include Helen Highwater Stringband, Mark Johnson & Emory Lester, Mandolin Orange, Grey Lily, Nicks & Kris, Bungled and Botched, Little Girl and the Dreadful Snakes, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, and Myakka River Bluegrass Band. One of the highlights was a group of young teenagers who weren’t even slated to perform but brought the house down. The show was a good bluegrass show, the type of show that makes you feel like you are hanging with your friends and isn’t that what bluegrass is all about.
If you are down in the Florida Keys in January, come check it out.
It is amazing when you start to think of what reality actually is. You can go far out like the Matrix and say we are all living in a fake world and we are really batteries. This isn’t a philosophy class. I’m talking about everyday reality and our perspective on things.
What made me think of this was a lady who came by my shop. I was helping someone else and she decided t let everyone she was here. She interrupted me and I thought okay maybe she has something important to say. She announced that she wanted to come in here but she couldn’t because the perfume we had in the store was making her choke up and could breathe. Then she left.
The funny thing about this was there was absolutely no perfume around. The shop has no type of chemical perfume or perfume at all. The lady I was helping had no perfume on either. This lady was suffering from a “ghost” perfume.
This case of the perfume was entirely made up in her head. I went outside to see if there was a heavily perfumed person standing just outside. Still nothing. So she came up with this sort of crutch all by herself. She had created this perfume that stopped her from doing what she needed to do.
This really amazed me and I started wondering if we all make stuff up in our heads. Maybe our perspective is entirely false and our reality isn’t the real reality. Are These made up things excuses for living the life we want to live?
Drew Struzan is a legend. You have probably never heard of Drew Struzan, but you have seen his work. People all over the world have seen Drew’s work. Drew and artist and illustrator is best known for painting movie posters. He paints posters that make you want to see that movie. Drew Struzan does the type of art that show off the characters and really tells a story. Do I hear doubt out there? Yeah, so he does movie posters, I bet I’ve never seen them or who cares. Well my friends, it is true, Drew does amazing artwork we never really appreciated.
Drew has done artwork for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, American Tail, Police Academy, Rambo, The Muppets and Harry Potter, to name a few. I never realized how many movie posters Drew has done. When I was a kid I would see these amazing posters and was astonished that someone could draw and paint people so well. He didn’t simply do portraits, he told a story of who the character was.
You would think a guy like this would have a big head, but Drew is a humble, hardworking artist. In the movie, “Drew: The Man Behind The Poster” you can see that Drew is a guy who really doesn’t know how awesome his work is. Drew is retired from movie posters and now does fine art. Take a look at Drew’s Portfolio.
The New Year brings out a lot in people. They make resolutions to do this, that or less of that. The end of the year brings about a time to look within oneself and see how the year went. Then we decide how we can make the next year better and how we can improve ourselves. In reality we can do this any day of the year, but New Year’s is special it is when almost everyone decides to make things better all together. New Year’s is about hope.
I always think about Pandora’s Jar, otherwise known as Pandora’s Box, whenever I think of hope. The beautiful Pandora was told to never open the box, it was a gift from the Gods, but none the less, a gift she wasn’t allowed to open. She was never really told what was inside, just to never open the box. One day curiosity got the better of her and she just had to open the box. When she opened the box, all the evils of the world escaped. Talk about a bad day. The last thing to come out of the box was hope.
The New Year gives us hope. Hope helps us battle the evils of everyday be them big or small. Hopefully that feeling of New Year’s will help you accomplish your goal. Hope is a wonderful thing it gives us strength. Here is to Hope.