I love getting glimpses into peoples hobbies. It’s incredible the amount of love and dedication they put into them. The excitement that takes over their voice when they’re talking about their avocation. I used to wonder how the Big Guy could spend hours digging holes in the ground in hopes of finding a treasure with that dang mental detector but after falling in love with glass blowing in college, I think I get it. I remember people asking me how I could blow glass in the heat of the day, standing in front of a furnace for hours at a time, but I never thought about it like that. I was always focused on my technique, making the walls as thin and symmetrical as I could, I never once thought about the heat.
So it was easy to understand Lisa Medici and Joe Mason talking about going out rock hunting, carrying pounds and pounds of rocks back to the truck, to check out once they got home. “Any day rock hunting is a good day as far as I’m concerned.There’s nothing better than being out there, outside, and doing all this,” Lisa said, as she showed me their collection. And what a collection it was.
Now, let me tell ya, Joe and Lisa are rockhounds through and through and their collection is on point. Lisa had a whole table set out for me to see the jewelry she created from their rocks as well as some cool specimens they’ve gotten over the years. A lot of Lisa’s jewelry is created from pieces her and Joe have found, others are rocks that were given to them by friends and family, but make no mistake, the adornments Lisa creates are breathtaking.
The couple began just collecting rocks. It wasn’t until the community of Westwood was shook with the devastation of the passing of Lisa’s mother Connie, that she took the hobby a step further. “After I lost my mom I needed something to do with my hands,” She explained. “I just started looking at tutorials and Pinterest and started thinking, ‘Maybe I can do this’. So I got a little bit of wire and it started like that.”
Little by little they started collecting more tools. They have cutting machines to cut down the rocks but Joe does all the polishing by hand. “He’s just as much a part of this as I am,” Lisa assured me, even though Joe didn’t want to be part of the interview. I get it, the Big Guy is the same way- maybe it’s a timber faller thing. Joe did come out to answer some questions and give me a sweet chunk of petrified wood though, so I can’t complain. It was just really cool to see how excited they both get about sharing the specimens they’ve found.
The metamorphosis that the rocks undergo from being dug, to polished, cut, and then wrapped is incredible. Joe cuts the rocks freeform, so a lot of the time they aren’t squares or circles but unique parts of the rock itself and the way Lisa wraps them amplifies their beauty. And the fact that the mineral inspires every decision is just so cool to me. “I never have an idea or a plan. It doesn’t work out that way. I have to work with it and see what the stone wants me to do with it,” Lisa told me, as she showed me examples of finished products.
Lisa tries to hit all the craft fairs around the area but if you’re interested in checking out her work you can find her Facebook page under Poopsies Treasures.
If you’re an old timer in Westwood, there’s a chance that, that name made you smile. “Everybody’s always known me as Poopsie. Anybody who knew me when I was a kid, that’s how they knew me. It’s like they didn’t even know my name when I was in high school. And my mom would always say, ‘Oh those are your treasures.’ And that just kinda always stuck with me.”
I love working with local artists because there’s a hint of wonder when they talk about people buying their products, like they can’t see the value in it. “It amazes me because it’s like, ‘really, you want to buy that?’” Lisa says with a smile and hearty laugh. “It’s neat, seeing people wear your stuff and thinking to yourself ‘Hey I made that.’ It’s a little surreal. I can’t really explain that feeling, it’s overwhelming.”
You can tell that Lisa would be doing this whether people bought her jewelry or not. She just truly loves the process from the beginning to the end. But isn’t that the reason we all pick our hobbies? It isn’t for the money they’ll bring us but the joy. “I sure love doing it. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a job or anything that’s made me money that I enjoyed as much as I do this. I mean, I wake up thinking, ‘I’m going to wrap that one today.’ And if I’ve got 4 or 5 sitting there that he’d finished, that drives me nuts because it’s like, I’ve got to get them done. And it’s not like I wouldn’t have enough to go to a show with, but I just want to do more.”
If you are interested in contacting Lisa, you can email her at [email protected] or visit Poopsies Treasures on Facebook. ∆