"Besides, if there were no dragons of flesh and blood and fire, whence would come the idea for these stone carvings."
Robin Hobb

Blue Lace sometimes forms in such a variety of different ways that it allows the imagination to be very creative. In the early days of carving all I could see was frogs, but more recently a whole host of other characters has appeared. Their names become apparent soon after the work is complete.
Not one of these carvings is for sale.

These photographs are not shown in any particular date order of carving, nor in the relative size to one another. The measurements are maximum width and height of the finished stones.

 My very first Blue Lace carving: Gollum 4.5 kg, 22 × 17 cm
 Igor – he has real rock crystal Standard Round Brilliant faceted eyes. 7 kg, 30 × 20 cm
Two views of Breccia – 5 kg, 22 × 15 cm.
These show the mixture of much of the rock surrounding the Blue Lace.
 Henrietta Hedgehog – 4 kg, 20 × 10 cm
Minimal work was needed here apart from shaping the face and polishing the chalcedony not covered with “prickles”. Nature did the rest.
 Bridget Lacey – 5 kg, 23 × 15 cm. This is the most ornately lacy of all my carvings.
Two views of Chrissie – 7 kg, 25 × 15 cm
She was made one Christmas holidays, and her eyes are modified glass chandelier baubles.
 Embo is quite old and lived as a muddy garden stone for many years before emerging as a frog. He weighs 7 kg, and is 28 ×13 cm
 Two views of Happy – 4 kg, 20 × 10 cm
 Two views of Sadie – 6 kg, 22 × 18 cm. Each side of any carving can be very different.

Lucy – 3.5 kg, 18 × 18 cm

Poppie is the only frog that has returned to Springbok. She went carrying a gift. She weighed 7.5 kg, but left home before she could get any sparkling eyes.

Totally ‘Armless was far more adventurous and “flew” to the Turks & Caicos Islands. He was another case of acid etched Blue Lace and is about 35 cm tall.
This picture shows lapidary work of Blue Lace: two spheres (at left by Jan Wicht, and right by the late Father Tony Garman), a 6-sided “obelisk” (maker unknown), and a faceted bead and a faceted egg that I have made. Trinket boxes and strings of round beads are other items that are known to have been made locally.

Ramona – 2 kg, 15 × 15 cm

The Girl with a Golden Vug
She has wonderful calcite and siderite inclusions, but is really quite small compared to her friends          500 g, 12 × 7 cm

The Wise Man of Ysterputs – 12.5 kg, 28 x 26 cm
This was an amazingly solid piece of Blue Lace, which took very little imagination
to reveal the old man within.

The Snail – 1.5 kg, 14 × 12 cm
Blue Lace sometimes just does the work for you. Almost all I had to do here was polish the smooth blue areas after minimal shaping. A friend gave me two quartz crystals for his feelers.

Shattered Moon – 4.5 kg (without stand) 20 × 24 cm
This started out as a large chunk of blue lace, calcite and dolomite. The idea was to carve a large sphere. However, as I worked it became obvious that there wasn’t as much actual Blue Lace as I had hoped, but I continued to carve and polish the sphere. After that I decided to soak the stone in dilute hydrochloric acid for some while, and also grind out the dolerite that was in the centre of some of the calcite. Calcite dissolves over time in acid and so ultimately I ended up with this part sphere, hence the name.
Yes, that blue spot on the right hand side of the sphere is just as nature made it.

Oscar Owl – 19 kg, 30 × 30 cm
This stone also had the acid treatment, but didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. It sat abandoned for four years on the front porch, until one day I just knew it was an owl. The vugs and other interesting pieces of crystallisation have been left unpolished.

The Wave. 1 kg, 15 × 8 cm
This is simply a polish of an existing shape. Before working it looked like the rounded specimens with the “prickly” appearance on the outside, like the Snail or the Hedgehog. The hollow underneath is where the calcite was etched out with acid.
From the Wave, to the Whopper…..
This stone below weighed 27 kg on arrival.
This is what it looked like when when it arrived. It was first soaked in water to loosen the clay, then pressure washed, scrubbed, and generally cleaned over a number of days in order to see what lay beneath. Luckily only a few patches of calcite needed removing with some acid. A poodle was the first thing that came to mind; then I wondered if I shouldn’t perhaps just leave the stone as it was, but then a friend said that if I did, “it would just be another piece of Blue Lace”.
This stone shows how the Blue Lace vein had space to widen and for the inflow of fluids to presumably line both sides of the crack or cavity, and then, over time, to lay down multiple layers at the sides. Perhaps the last inflow solidified from its “plastic” state mid-flow, leaving the large blob you can see above.
Who knows?
Leaving the formation theories aside for another day, I decided I would remove all the green calcite off the sides to expose a smooth polished sheet of blue, and leave most of the “poodle effect” untouched. I would however make and set in a couple of cabochon eyes, and cut the creature a chin.
This then is the result:

Whopper now weighs 25.5 kg, 35 × 26 cm
And almost last but not least, is Pearl Owlet who flew away several years ago, but returned recently for a visit. She is 15 × 6 cm. Below is a view of her from the back, which was not carved or polished in any way.
 Seeing Pearl Owlet again, inspired me to work this small stone I found neglected in a cupboard.
He is 9 × 10 cm and named Augustus.
Thank you for visiting my family!