Last light, Stone Steps © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fossil Fool

I was honored to be a judge at the Fallbrook Car Show yesterday. I was joined by my buddy Bill LeMasters, who has a garage full of fine italian metal. My secret every year is having somebody that really knows their stuff helping me and he was just fantastic. I had a really good time and didn't take pictures for once. Plenty of people did. Had a very nice Gullwing in my class but it didn't win. You don't win for having the most expensive car but for the best turned out car and the 190 Mercedes was as sweet as they come.

My pals Garry Cohen, the Escondido glass blower and teacher and Leven Jester came over to the show to see me. Hadn't seen Garry in ages. They have been friends for ever. Leven and his wife Bethany have a business in Fallbrook called Paleofacts. They sell fine fossil and mineral specimens from around the world. Their inventory is always interesting and wonderful. Fallbrook has quite a few high level gem and mineral dealers and many collectors and I am privileged to know quite a few of them.

Anyway we went over to their place after the show and convinced Leven to show us some of their nicer stuff. The iridescent fossil in the picture above is an ammonite from British Columbia. They develop the most incredible rainbow sheen. This ancient mollusk from the cretaceous period is about 70 million years old. It comes from a region near southern Alberta.  Ammonites existed for over 300 million years on our planet. Quite valuable, this one was marked around $9500.00. Breathtaking.

Leven and Beth have a very nice collection of trilobites which they have collected in Morocco.  With these pictures you can see them in three dimensions.

This is a horseshoe crab fossil from Germany.

A forgotten dragonfly on a dendritic substrate.

My late friend and idol Rick Griffin originally introduced me to Garry Cohen. Rick, Ida and I went to a costume party and Garry was wearing an astronaut suit and Rick recognized him inside the suit. I have known Garry since I was about 19. He went to elementary school with Rick, talked to me about the incredible contraptions Rick would build, even in the fifth grade. Garry is a fabulous artist, jeweler, ceramist, glass blower, anything. A unique talent. He was the man who developed the initial image for an iconic psychedelic creature called the monitor, originally a totemic design for a jewelry piece. He says he got the idea from Rick, Rick said it was Garry. Whoever. They both ran with it. 

Man from Utopia © Rick Griffin Estate
You really can't beat lifelong friends, can you? They stick with you whether you are up or you are down.

Vanadanite crystals

This slightly fuzzy shot is a natural copper formation, spreads like a little bonsai tree. If I had a macro lens, I could do this stuff justice.

This guy reminds me of the monitor. Both Rick and Garry's version. 

Check out the Paleofacts website. Some wonderful things to purchase at importer's rates, straight from the source, in all price ranges.

© Rick Griffin Estate

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