Today our focus is on finding that new or unusual item(s). Immediately we contacted a Canadian miner selling ‘Fairy Stones,’ silicated concretions. These extraordinary forms are believed to have formed from the remains of bacterial colonies in calcium carbonate-rich cold, swampy waters as concentric circles around plant filaments. Each shows patterns of growth interrupted by dry or colder periods. The impression of horsehair and algae filaments can be seen on the underside of each piece.
We next met with our friend from the Congo, selling malachite specimens and products. It is sad how warfare and political conflict has devastated this country’s economy. Malachite prices have sky-rocketed as global supplies have dwindled; very little new material is leaving Congo.
At the same show where yesterday we found fossilized marble products, Becky met an artist from the Navajo nation, Two Feathers. The vibrant colors, geometric patterns and intricate symbolism connect the viewer with Life in this region of the United States. His works will soon hang in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
Happy with our personal purchases, we traveled across town to another tent show. This one, however, is a tent town/city. An international food court sits in the center of a grid composed of small (10’ x 10’) to huge (circus-sized) tents. Here we met another seller from the Congo. On the second day of this show, eight of ten 8-foot tables sit empty. Most of his malachite has been sold and he must pay for another 2 weeks of rental space. He quietly sits with his remaining merchandise, knowing the monies lost simply because he cannot restock. He has no more stock in storage from which to draw and may not be here next year. His dignity is impressive and leaves an indelible image in my mind’s eye.
We continue through the show and came across a rare form of obsidian from Russia. This translucent material resulted from the solidification of liquids and has inclusions of black ‘lamellae’ or lines running through it. Aptly named ‘Midnight Lace Obsidian,’ its secret beauty is revealed when viewed in the sunlight. We leave with HEARTS, SOAPS and SLABS to show.
After our treks, we enjoyed a simple meal at the Dennys on Valencia Avenue, by far the best franchise in this national chain. The wait staff and those in the kitchen really care about their duties; and it shows in the service and food. The veggie burgers were well-cooked and served on fresh toasted buns, the fries were hot and crispy, and the apple-caramel crisp with ice cream was a fabulous end to our meal.
A few photos of the day follow: