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Isabel Jewelry Supports the LGBT Community

Posted October 13, 2016 

There’s something I want to be crystal clear about: Isabel Jewelry supports the LGBT community. Many people live in towns that have moved on from questioning whether Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender folks should be treated with equal respect but we haven’t in the town and state where I reside: Pinedale, Wyoming. So after recently being reminded that there is a contingent here that is living in another era I feel the urge to share my story of understanding LGBT people.

I didn’t really know LGBT people when I was a kid. I spent most of my younger childhood in Virginia in the 1980’s and then in 1986 we moved to California, the Bay Area. My first inkling of a gay community was visiting San Francisco (about an hour by car) and seeing same-sex couples holding hands and seeing men casually riding the public bus wearing untraditional clothing. It was just normal, part of daily life.

My high school was pretty average for the time: teens were not out of the closet. A couple of brave kids were out but they were rare and I didn’t think about it too much (I was wrapped up in my own teen world). After high school I went to college and began to see more people being outspoken, raising awareness and coming out. I started listening to their journeys. I began appreciating LGBT artists and musicians.

When I moved to San Francisco after college I found many LGBT friends that are a piece of me today. I lived in San Francisco for six years. I heard stories of rejection from family and I understood why forming a new family through community can be so vital. I heard about families using the religion excuse for their prejudice. (That excuse always falls flat to my ears because: 1. many Christian churches allow gay marriage, 2. the Golden Rule, and 3. God is Love…right?) And I was floored that these families were passing up the opportunity to have these awesome children as part of their lives. Mingling in the San Francisco LGBT community was so joyful and the friends I found taught me volumes about love and acceptance.

Seeing everyone as equal just feels so good. It’s just so fun to be in a mixed crowd of people and feel at one with everyone. Nothing’s better than the peace created by this sense of unity and communal support. And when a person doesn’t have to put up a daily fight to just live their life they can have the brain space to realize dreams. When you aren’t confronted with hatred you have peace and can make the world a better place.

So back to Pinedale and Wyoming. This is an extremely conservative place. Our state is so reliably conservative that opposing political parties don’t really bother campaigning here and quite often the republican candidates go unopposed. Our state’s motto is “The Equality State” because we were the first state to allow women to vote. You’d think that would have begun a good trend but it really hasn’t. Our state legislature will not speak out in support of LGBT and will not vote to protect the community from prejudice from employers. Our local politicians protect the town’s prejudiced judge. And our weekly paper’s editor wrote a full-page editorial against the Supreme Court decision supporting same-sex marriage. Annoyingly some residents simply assume that you agree since you live here. Well, I don’t and I won’t. I’ve lived here 13 years and apparently these prejudices just won’t rub off on me.

I think a big reason people here are prejudiced is inexperience. No experience with loving a LGBT person as a dear friend. Never having listened to that person’s stories of struggle and rejection. Never having experienced the joy, humor, intelligence and fun of participating in the gay community. Never having lived in a town that equally accepts LGBT people and seen that things are fine. And never having stopped and questioned their own prejudices.

Obviously the world is changing and fortunately not all of Pinedale is prejudiced. But there is definitely religious and political support for that prejudice here. Despite my zip code, I see my fellow LGBT citizens as equals. You are welcome at Isabel Jewelry and always will be. And I’ll keep on speaking up despite the potential of getting an ignorant “x” put by my name or business by people that are not comfortable with building a peaceful and loving community. We all live here and we all belong.

Peace, y’all.

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Autumn Update

Posted October 12, 2016 

Sometimes I have a morning when I just don’t want to get out the door and go to work. Just tired or unenergetic. Today was one of those. But I got up, out the door and biked to work with my dog running alongside me. It’s cold out; autumn is in full swing and that means frosty mornings, white capped peaks and crispy leaves.

Almost immediately after opening, I had one of my friendly customers drop in to buy a gift. And while she was here another friendly face walked in to ask a jewelry question. And then a happy third joined in. Everyone was cheerful, chatting and smiling and I thought….I am so grateful for these wonderful customers. They make my work totally worth it.

Lately I have been cutting jade to use in my jewelry, working on custom elk ivory projects, and making carnelian and mookaite jewelry for the shop’s inventory. I also just hosted a really fun artist reception for Bailey Russel and Ryan Parker, two contemporary photographers working in the antique wet-plate collodian process. Their work will be up for the month. Online, I have been working on an etsy outlet for my jewelry (isabeljewelry) because so many people like to shop on etsy so I figure it might be good to have a presence both here and there; there may be variation in what’s on each site.

On a painting note, I have been painting quite a bit this year with gouache on paper and you can find my recent work here. I’m exploring the light spectrum, gems and minerals in this new work that is an evolution from sketches and paintings for the public sculpture I installed last year.

I hope everyone is having a nice autumn!

Pictured above: Bailey Russel photos on wall of gallery, jade jewelry on the workbench, jade earrings, above Fremont Lake in October.

Pictured at the top of this post: carnelian bracelets and necklaces.

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I Hope That You Are Joyous

Posted July 21, 2016 

A wonderful aspect of my job is that I get the opportunity to see people filled with joy when they purchase or receive a piece of my jewelry. I can’t understate how rewarding this is. I’ve made jewelry for many of life’s occasions and I’ve come to further understand how special we hold our jewelry.

I was introduced to the personal story of jewelry by my mother who always let my sister and me go through her box and discuss each piece in detail (and try to put dibs on each one). Some of her pieces are from 1970’s craft fairs, some newly bought, some inexpensive travel souvenirs, and others are family heirlooms. Like any jewelry lover her collection is a fun story of her, her travels and family history.

Happiness is something I find through owning, wearing and creating new jewelry. With my deep connection to jewelry and the happiness that it can bring me I was thinking that I would like to tell my customers: “I want you to be happy.” But that sentence sounded too demanding. Obviously I do want happiness for my customers but stating my “want” in relation to their emotions seemed overbearing. I started turning the statement over in my head and eventually found the lighter feeling: “I hope that you are joyous.”

And so with each piece of jewelry that leaves my hands and enters another person’s: I wish them joy in life, its journey and future.

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2016 Gallery Schedule – Art Exhibits

Posted March 31, 2016 

I very happy to announce my 2016 gallery schedule. There’s a great lineup of five exhibits this year including photocollages, painting, drawing, and mixed media and small sculpture. At this point I’ve shown over 20 Wyoming artists and while I don’t by any means limit my boundaries to Wyoming, it just happens to be who I have shown. I like to find artists making present-day work whether they are reacting to our amazing wide open spaces or considering our regional politics. This week I am opening the 2016 season with Adrienne Vetter and Colleen Friday’s photocollages; their artist reception will be Saturday, May 21, 2016, 5-7, please come.

Also new for the year will be the opportunity to buy the exhibited artwork online here on the website. Since Pinedale is very remotely located I wanted to find a way to get these amazing artists’ work in the hands of people that are not able to make it here. There will be a tab at the left of the website “Gallery Artwork” where you can find each exhibit’s work for the duration of the show. I will ship to you! Consider buying a piece of artwork this year, it truly makes your life better to have artwork in your life…it’s good for your brain and eyes spend quality time with an interesting piece.

To see the list of past artists and photos of past exhibits you may visit the gallery page of this website.

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A Lull in the Shop: Sparkly and Rainbowy

Posted January 20, 2016 

 I’ll be closed the next couple of weeks to visit family and take some time to work on some art projects. It’s easy to let months slip by in my daily routine and not even remember what I did so sometimes I find it good to slow down. This winter I’m trying to do that and it’s hard because I hate to have the closed sign up if a customer stops by. The well trained American Puritan in me feels the guilt of not working NONSTOP. Hopefully everyone can understand the lull and have time to return to my shop.

This past week I have been mapping out some new small sculptures in my sketchbook and building small models. I’m drawing inspiration from all of the ice crystals that surround me in the wintertime. I’ve begun thinking of winter as the Season of the Crystal because once you start looking around they’re everywhere (if you happen to live at 7200′ in Wyoming). Snowflakes, constantly changing ice on the creek, hoarfrost on super cold mornings, glistening icicles. They all reflect little dots of rainbows: refracted sunshine.

Meanwhile I am still working towards becoming a Graduate Gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America. Current course: Diamonds. Thinking about diamonds fits perfectly with these abundant ice crystals that surround me. So alike (clear, sparkly and rainbowy) yet soooo different in cost. Studying gemstones has been informing my artwork quite a bit this past couple of years (some of you may have seen my public art piece “Quartz, Mica, Feldspar” I finished in 2015) and my current sculptural and painting projects are continuing in this vein.

Thank you for bearing with my oddball hours this winter. I never cease to be thankful for people’s support of my business and artwork. And here are some more ice crystal photos I’ve recently taken:

(Hoarfrost growing on my fencepost.)

(Insanely intricate and beautiful hoarfrost on Fremont Lake in Pinedale, Wy.)

(Snowflakes gathering on my sideview mirror.)