Sibley Stoneworks: The Beauty in Beach Stones
By Rebekah Skochinski
There are no two stones alike—which is precisely what Lorrie Walsh loves about collecting and sorting the naturally tumbled beach stones found on Lake Superior’s north shores. Walsh and her husband sail, which affords her countless hours to stand knee-deep in water, scanning for the perfect shapes. “I don’t remember when I started collecting exactly,” she says of her now buckets upon buckets of the opaque soft-edged gems. “But I had stones in vases… they were everywhere.” Last year, Walsh decided to try her hand at jewelry-making, and began the somewhat difficult task of teaching herself how to drill through rock. “It’s pretty dirty work,” she says with a laugh. Dirty, and dusty. But her perseverance (and several busted drill bits) has paid off.
Walsh keeps true to the integrity of the stone in its naturally tumbled state, though she does polish the stones to bring about their full depth of colour. Using leather and 100% sterling silver she fashions rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, letting the shape and hue of the stones inspire her designs. The pieces are both delicate and substantial, surprisingly light, and warm to the touch. In fact, they are so close to perfect it’s hard to imagine they aren’t manufactured. That’s credit to her keen and creative eye, and perhaps it’s in her nature. “My great-grandfather was a hobbyist jeweller, with a tumbler,” recalls Walsh, who recently received his assortment of amethyst.
With many of us dealing with a serious case of cabin fever, Walsh admits to a particular eagerness for the season of scavenging to begin. “I can’t wait for the snow to melt, to get out there and see what I can find.”
See more of Sibley Stoneworks’ handcrafted one-of-a-kind pieces on Facebook, etsy and at sibleystoneworks.com. Custom orders are welcome.