By Erin Dana Balzrette
Sandra Severini’s work is as exceptional as she is. A wonderful person and gifted artist with an amazing sense of humor, she brings joy to everyone who has the opportunity to sit and chat with her. It is an honor to have the opportunity to share with you a little more about Sandra in this Just Off The Wheels. Enjoy.
Erin Dana Balzrette: Where is this material found?
Sandra Severini: This particular Ocean jasper is from Madagascar.
EDB: What drew you to this material?
SS: I have to admit I have a bit of an obsession with Ocean jasper. I love the many color combinations in which it can appear. The slab that I cut this cabochon out of had a wonderful mix of translucent quartz, plumes of red, druzy pockets, and deep green background. How could I resist cutting cabs out of such wonderful material? The end resulting stone looks like there are layers upon layers of color floating and swirling around each other.
EDB: What general creative process do you use when creating cabs?
SS: When I look at the slab and evaluate it to determine what cabs I want to cut. I always first layout the stone that makes me say “wow.” I love looking for the art in the stone and considering what would make a dramatic or really beautiful piece of jewelry or an amazing cab for a stone collector. Will it be a stone I have a hard time letting go of? Once I have laid out those stones, I determine if there are still others that can be cut out of the slab. Often this causes loss of material, but I’m ok with that because I know I will be happy with the stones I will be getting out of the material.
EDB: Is there any special technique you would like to share that was used when creating this cabochon?
SS: Look closely at the slab you are using to cut the cab. What “wow” stone can you visualize? Look at the front and the back of the slab — there could be amazing cabochons waiting to be discovered on either side. If you use templates, layout the cab, wipe it off, and layout another. Go after that “wow” stone.
EDB: What is a new cabbing technique/process/approach you’ve picked up recently that is bringing you great excitement?
SS: I have been practicing a bit of stone carving. It’s a different technique for sure and will take a bit of practice. It’s interesting trying to see the form that will come out as you carve the material.
EDB: What is one piece of advice you’d share with someone considering learning about cabbing?
SS: Get to know your material. The material can be hard, have soft spots, or be a combination of different hardnesses. When you have the ability to feel how hard or soft a material is, you can know if you need to lighten up your touch (pressure) when cabbing. This is especially important for stones with soft spots that can easily undercut if you don’t keep your pressure light enough when working the stone. Also, get to know your material so that you know its health risks, if any. Some material may have particles that, if you inhale, can cause you health issues.
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 this lapidary process?
SS: I started working with stones when I was quite young, a pre-teen. I always liked jewelry and pretty stones. My father first taught me to facet stones, which took a lot of patience at a young age. I think he did it partly because I needed to learn patience and because he wanted me to appreciate the work that went into each stone and that pretty stones and jewelry were to be appreciated and not just something a young girl should take for granted.
When we moved to Australia, our family had an opal claim. We would walk the town in Andamooka, and I could collect any treasures I would find on the roads. I started collecting all kinds of opals, and those were the first pieces that I used when I started cabbing. Again, learning lessons and learning appreciation came from the amount of time it took me to gather my material, how a simple wrong move can ruin a cab, and how to look for the stone within the stone. In opal, it’s called chasing the color. Learning how to look at a stone and see its possibilities is one of my favorite parts of cutting stones and something I still do for every cab that I cut.
WHERE TO FIND SANDRA
Company Name: SASsy Artistry
Facebook: SASsy Artistry
Facebook (Personal account): Sandra A. Severini
Author: Erin Dana Balzrette