Just Off the Wheels: Tim Barney

Turquoise inlay cabs
Turquoise, and turquoise inlay cabs. (Photo and lapidary work by Tim Barney)

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in the ‘Just Off the Wheel’ blog. We welcome respected lapidary artist and photographer Erin Dana Balzrette, owner of Tree Climbers Stones, as the new author of this blog.

By Erin Dana Balzrette

Tim Barney not only reshapes nature, but he also redefines the imagination’s possibilities. With limitless creative abilities and detailed designs, he astounds and captures attention, with each unique piece of lapidary art he creates. More simply, we are all a little wigged out by what must be going on in Tim’s dreams, but we love what he puts together with stone.

A brilliant artist, and wonderful person, it was a pleasure to do this ‘Just Off the Wheel’ Q&A with him. Enjoy!

Discovery of Dynamic Material

Erin Dana Balzrette: Where is this material found? What drew you to this material? 

Tim Barney: The turquoise I chose for the pictured cabs is from Arizona. I’m really drawn to the attractive blue tones, and it’s a great material to work with for inlays.

EDB: How long have you been a rockhound and/or lapidary artist, and what attracted you to cabbing? 

TB: I’ve been a rockhound since before I could walk! I became interested in lapidary about five years ago when I was doing tile work and found myself cutting and shaping random ‘cool looking’ rocks on the tile saw. I had never heard the term lapidary, but once I figured out that was a thing, I was hooked on the idea. I was lucky enough to turn my hobby into full-time work and I’m loving it.”

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EDB: What general creative process do you use when creating cabs? Is there any special technique you would like to share that was used when creating the ones featured today? 

TB: I often have no idea what I’m going to create next. I think that’s what is so great about being an artist. I really enjoy combining various materials to make one of a kind intarsia and inlay pieces. You can see in the pictured cabs, I like to use borders to separate each inlay. This method leaves nice sharp lines between each inlay material.

Inspiration and Advice

EDB: What is one bit of advice you’d share with someone considering learning about cabbing?

TB: Be ready to be patient! Once you realize the process is more of a slow-grind, you’ll start to make some beautifully finished stones

EDB: What is a new cabbing technique/process/approach you’ve picked up recently that is bringing you great excitement?

TB: I’m doing more and more inlay type cabs. I enjoy experimenting with various crushed stones and incorporating things like shells and metals.

EDB: What motivates you to create, and what part of the entire process from finding the rough, to the finished cab is your favorite part of lapidary work? 

TB: I really enjoy it all! But my favorite part is completing the finished piece. I’m motivated by what I can create next, it’s a lot of fun to go back to the drawing board and design a new piece.


Company name: Reshape Nature

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reshape_nature

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReshapeNatureNV

Facebook Groups: Rock-o-Holics group (he’s the creator) https://www.facebook.com/groups/RockOHolicstheRoughStuff; Cabs & Slabs group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CABSANDSLABS

Author: Erin Dana Balzrette

Erin Dana Balzrette Owner of Tree Climbers Stones, co-founder of Facebook’s ‘Stone and Silver’ group, and weekly host of the ‘Ladies Day/Night’ Auction on Facebook’s ‘Cabs and Slabs’ group.

She is a long-time rockhound and a GIA AJP. To view more of her work visit www.tcstones.com.


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