Behind the Scenes of Agate Collecting with Dutes – The Tell All

The new guide, Agate Collecting with Dutes: Your Guide to Finding Agates in Haida Gwaii, will be available for purchase on May 1, 2017 at select retailers, Crystal Cabin, and www.crystalcabingallery.com 

The new guide, Agate Collecting with Dutes: Your Guide to Finding Agates in Haida Gwaii, will be available for purchase on May 1, 2017 at select retailers, Crystal Cabin, and www.crystalcabingallery.com 

Working with stones for over 55 years, and living on Haida Gwaii since 1970 has equipped Dutes with remarkable knowledge and understanding of stones and local geology.

“I felt like it was the right time to share my knowledge with a larger audience,” says Dutes.

The Agate Collecting with Dutes book project was conceived shortly after Dutes was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2016. A shocking and difficult discovery for the whole family, doctors painted an awful picture for Dutes. In his defiant way, Dutes decided to ignore this story and write his own!  

While staying in Vancouver for treatment, Dutes and his two daughters brainstormed a list of things that needed to happen. Questions like, ‘what have you always wanted to do?’ and ‘what can we do to help?’ were often and continue to be asked daily.

Dutes came up with the idea of a book!

“In university I majored in creative writing,” shares Dutes, “But it’s taken a back seat to my artwork, and my business, Crystal Cabin.”

With such rich content knowledge on agates, local experience, and a strong writing background, together with his daughters and friends from the community, the book slowly came together. A year later, it’s in the final steps of being ready for the public.

An orange banded agate from Dutes' private collection. Dutes has collected agates and other local minerals since he moved to Haida Gwaii in 1970. 

An orange banded agate from Dutes' private collection. Dutes has collected agates and other local minerals since he moved to Haida Gwaii in 1970. 

A Collaborative Endeavour

“It was a wonderful project to work on with my Dad and other collaborators,” shares Dutes’ oldest daughter, April. “The book says it was written by me, but everything in this book is from Dutes’ mind, I was more like his translator.”

April wrote the book for Dutes so he would have an avenue to share his knowledge without being bogged down by the time and logistics of writing a book.

Sarah, the youngest sister also contributed with her agate photography, which can be seen throughout the guide.

A good friend and retired Regional Northwest British Columbia Regional Geologist, Paul Wojdak, also greatly supported this endeavour with his contributions to the section on agate formation and geology of Haida Gwaii.

The agates featured in the book have been collected by Dutes during his residency in Haida Gwaii, and remain in the family’s private agate collection.

This guide is intended to be easily understood, to the point, and enjoyable to read. Dutes is direct and this guide reflects it.  

Creative Decisions

Agate Collecting with Dutes: Your Guide to Finding Agates in Haida Gwaii

Agate Collecting with Dutes: Your Guide to Finding Agates in Haida Gwaii

The choice of title and cover was decided after much deliberation. The title was originally “Finding Agates in Haida Gwaii” but after some introspection and the desire to not create ‘another rock book’ this title was ditched for something with more meaning. The story here is not just about agates, it’s about Dutes, his passion, and the meaning of agates and stones in Haida Gwaii. And so, the name “Agate Collecting with Dutes” stuck.

The cover also went through some changes, with the Dutes and daughters team finally deciding on the current image, which features Dutes and Sarah off in the horizon searching for agates on their local beach in Tlell, a few kilometers from Crystal Cabin.

Working on the early drafts of Agate Collecting with Dutes started in May 2016. 

Working on the early drafts of Agate Collecting with Dutes started in May 2016. 

Controversy

What’s a good book or artistic creation without some controversy?

When we began to tell locals that we were going to write this book, there was a bit of apprehension.

“I think people were worried that we might give away some of their agate spots. Locals can be very competitive when it comes to beachcombing,” says April. “When you read the book you’ll see how we got around this. We promise not to give away your secret spot.”

What’s Next

Dutes holding a banded agate from Haida Gwaii - this agate and others in this blog post are featured in the guide! 

Dutes holding a banded agate from Haida Gwaii - this agate and others in this blog post are featured in the guide! 

Dutes is looking for a home for his personal collection of agates and island specimens.

“I would love to share these stones in an interpretive way with a larger audience, and ideally curate a show with a local museum or educational institution,” says Dutes.

Agate Collecting with Dutes: Your Guide to Finding Agates in Haida Gwaii will be available May 13, 2017 to purchase at select retailers, Crystal Cabin in Tlell, Haida Gwaii and early sales starting May 1, 2017 online at www.crystalcabingallery.com.

A blue and yellow fortification agate from Dutes' private collection. Dutes hopes to house his collection in a local museum or educational institution on the islands. 

A blue and yellow fortification agate from Dutes' private collection. Dutes hopes to house his collection in a local museum or educational institution on the islands. 

You’re Invited to the Book Launch!

Crystal Cabin invites agate enthusiasts and novices alike to attend the book launch. Bring your questions and your friends!

Event Details

  • Meet the Author
  • Crystal Cabin Door Prizes
  • Free Agate Buttons
  • Agate Cake

Date: Saturday May 13, 2017

Time: 1-4pm

Location: Crystal Cabin

Address: 778A Richardson Road, Tlell, British Columbia, V0T 1Y0, 250-557-4383

We look forward to welcoming you!

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries please contact April Dutheil at 1-250-557-4383 or info@crystalcabingallery.ca.

Download the Agate Collecting with Dutes Media Kit here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nlecvxhjk511otm/AABq7yGN-fNpRiorW57cPEXsa?dl=0