Artist to 'rock' Celebrate Bandera
By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor
There's no denying that the State of Texas abounds with beautiful rocks. And, no one knows that more than an artist who will exhibit for the first time at the Celebrate Bandera Festival, slated for this weekend on the courthouse lawn.
While most jewelers buy their stones already cut, lapidary jewelry artist Bob Wolf of Bob Wolf Creations, LC cuts and polishes pieces of raw rock by hand before mounting the stones in custom settings.
Not surprisingly, his most popular stones are among those found in Texas. "Of all the stones I work with, the 36 million-year-old petrified palm wood from East Texas, and West Texas plume agates are extremely popular," he said. "The beauty of the two stones is recognized worldwide."
Patiently explaining his cutting process, Wolf said, "Before actually cutting a stone, I first decide how to orient it for slabbing. By removing a thin layer of rock, the inside of the stone is exposed." However, only certain rough rocks polish well and have good color, he noted, adding, "One of the most difficult tasks is selecting the 'right' material to cut."
According to Wolf, rocks in effect "whisper" how they want to be cut. "A rock has had millions of years to think about this," he said.
After it's cut, the stone is trimmed and shaped by hand using grinders. Then, the stone is polished to a mirror finish.
"I can tell you that 99.9 percent of all the pendants on my webpage look better in real life than in the photos," he said. "The camera can never truly capture the deep colors and bright luster of the stone."
However, not every stone makes "the cut," according to Wolf. "There's an art in deciding how to cut the stone to bring out its best colors and patterns. Every stone is unique. But not every stone makes it to the display counter." He quipped, "My rock garden at the studio is overflowing with stones that were not quite up to grade."
To illustrate this process, visitors at Wolf's studio in New Braunfels can see and hold the raw rocks that will eventually morph into his striking jewelry.
After polishing, the stone is hand wrapped in either sterling silver wire or 14k rolled gold wire - and both will last through a lifetime of wear. "Every stone I cut is fully guaranteed and will be as unique as the person wearing it," Wolf said.
The Texas Commission on the Arts selected Wolf as finalist for the State of Texas Artist in the three-dimensional category in both 2007-2008 and again in 2009-2010. He is also a member National Association of Independent Artists.
Wolf is clearly excited to be exhibiting at his first Celebrate Bandera Festival. "I have heard excellent things about this venue. I'm looking forward to eating good food, listening to outstanding music and having fun," Wolf said. He can be found under a large banner stating: "State of Texas Artist Finalist."
And Wolf even caters to kids. His booth features a dinosaur bone for children to examine and touch.
The Celebrate Bandera Festival runs this Labor Day Weekend Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31. Artists and craft vendors will exhibit on the Bandera County Courthouse lawn, located on Main Street.
More information on Wolf's handcrafted jewelry can be found at www.wolfcreations.net.