Rodney Richards is a second-generation maker of hand-crafted oyster tongs, in Apalachicola, Florida. The tools he makes are essentially rakes, extended by handles reaching as far as 30 feet, used to pull up natural oyster beds in the Gulf of Mexico. The tongs, and the men who swing them, are measured by the number of teeth they hold, each of which Rodney forges and then welds, using tools his father created and adapted from other parts of the once-booming oyster industry.
I visited with Rodney in October to film a short piece for a Kickstarter project to launch a jewelry collaboration with Porter Lyons in New Orleans. If funded, the new line will utilize these rustic, forged teeth as beautiful pendants.