This group makes wrapping really cool
The Sportsmanís Report
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By By Bill Hanson  July 18, 2014 12:00 am

On a very hot Sunday afternoon, the Wire Tiers of the local Gem and Mineral Society ( met at their workshop, a low metal building with a concrete floor. The metal roof catches the harsh glare of the relentless summer sun, a kind of reflector oven.

Several pedestal fans were set up and going fast enough to blow your wig off. The breeze made it cool enough to relax and concentrate on wrapping wire. Now wrapping wire is something electricians do, or so many think, until they join the society. It is truly amazing how many ways you can use wire to make forms for rocks, beads, seeds, bone and other cool stuff.

The group was led by the able hands of Jolene Coon, a long-time wrapper (a non-musical form of rapping) with the society. She demonstrated some basic moves and techniques that gave the participants the skill to wrap a tree of life form on a heavy copper hoop about three inches across. The ladies slid different colored beads on to decorate their trees to their liking. In the end, every tree was different and each beautiful. Jolene shared a bracelet made entirely of wire…a beautiful thing.

The next lesson was wire weaving. A form is made with a medium gage wire, and then with a contrasting colored wire of a finer gage, the participants crafted leaves, waves and other shapes. One shared her guitar, a finely woven copper guitar shaped and woven into a spectacular musical instrument about three inches long.

To join this group you must first be a member of the society, after which you pay the club $3 to use the facility under the supervision of a shop steward. Other classes are silversmith, cabochon polishing, gem and mineral identification and other interests. During the dry season, (we have lots of that), the club schedules field trips to harvest minerals and gems. On Saturday, July 26, interested members will rally for a trip to the Laytonville Quarry, 2½ hours north on Highway 101. The old quarry consists of exposed ancient layers of petrified wood, jasper and other collectibles. A related group will leave the Wednesday before to camp a few nights and foray in the dry riverbeds of the Six Rivers National Forest. 

The goal will be to search the legendary Van Dusen, a producer of gem grade California Jade, vibrant pink Rohdonite, agate and other fine stones. This will be a self contained trip, in that the group and leadership will be camping near the river and sharing stories with fellow rock hounds.

There will also be a side trip to the Scocia Bluffs on the Eel River. After a short wade across the water and a steep hike up a few feet to the exposed ancient seabed, fossil hunters will bring home all they can carry. The layer is estimated to be 3 million years old and is 40 miles from the present shoreline.


Hefty Halibut

I read a story about a fisherman in Alaska who landed a 486-pound Halibut. It was a new world record but was disqualified because it was shot and gaffed before it was drug onboard. 

Now what is amazing is the story suggests the old world-record holder did not kill the fish first and perhaps hauled it onto the deck on his own. There are some very strong men out there but none of them can boat a fish that big just by holding the rod and reel, especially when the fish does not want to be pulled aboard and will fight, bite and kick the fisherman and anyone else in the way. Fishing at the meat department in the local grocery store may be cheaper and safer with the added bonus of not getting sea sick to boot.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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