I get new inspiration from materials that I buy or find. Currently, I am working a lot with petrified wood. I have to drill each piece, which can be frustrating! I use a diamond encrusted bit in my drimmel tool. Sometimes the rocks do not cooperate, and I break a bit. The results very satisfying when I am able to complete a set. I spend as much on drill bits as I do on the rocks!
I also love to set picture jasper and lapis. The rich colors go great with the copper. Each piece of stone is unique. The colors and textures vary a lot.
I use household substances like vinegar and salt to apply a patina to the copper that I use. The copper may turn turquoise, dark brown, or even red. Usually a mix of these colors. It varies with the metal, the vinegar, and the time of exposure to each phase of the process. I guess that I could eventually figure out exactly what causes what, but I like suprises! I buy copper in bulk from Recla Metal recycle center. The age and exact compsition of each piece of copper can vary. I love to visit the recycle yard!