Jim Hill and Joyce Kaser, lapidary experts

Get to know our instructors and open studio experts, Jim Hill and Joyce Kaser.  They’re passionate about exploring, rock hunting, and cutting stones.  You’ll see what the excitement is all about!!

What was your first experience with minerals and/or cutting stone, and how did it affect you?

Jim: My great uncle introduced me to rocks when I was 8 years old and took me on collecting trips. Rock collecting is a disease, and I’ve had it all my life.
Joyce: I don’t remember a single event; several years ago I just became smitten and have remained so ever since.

How long have you been cutting stones?

Jim: 65 years
Joyce: About 10 years.

Highlights from your career:

Jim:  I’ve designed lapidary studios, been a studio engineer, and a lapidary teacher.
Joyce: I’ve helped set up lapidary studios and made numerous pieces on commission.

What has been the most exciting experience for you in working with gems and minerals?

Jim: Cutting and polishing materials to be used in a jewelry design.
Joyce: Turning a dull piece of rock into a sparkling stone.

What do you love about teaching/working with students?

Jim: Guiding them through the steps of lapidary to produce their own stones.
Joyce: Getting them excited about rock collecting; developing a sense of the mystery of what could be.

What other things are you interested in?

Jim: Travel, music, hunting, working on mechanical things
Joyce: Collecting museum-quality representations of Adam and Eve; film; music

Other information you’d like students to know about you?
Jim: I’m known for producing very small stones.
Joyce: I’m known for producing large, free form stones and my collection of coprolite.