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 isabeljewelry.com 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.
When you buy a piece of Isabel Jewelry you are buying handmade quality with a lifetime guarantee. I realize that there are piles of cheap jewelry that I compete with every day but I know what I am producing is carefully and individually made…because I make each piece. Like all micro-businesses I have to compete with factory made products. Knowing this, I like to keep my jewelry small pieces of artwork.
Some companies use flashy marketing campaigns to push lower quality jewelry, it’s hard not to get convinced by beautifully produced commercials and print ads that their commercial jewelry is more valuable. People wind up paying for a company’s marketing rather than quality artistry. When my customers buy from me, they are paying for top-notch, handcrafted jewelry that I guarantee for life and I am proud of that.
I have been metalsmithing for 20 years now and I create hundreds of pieces of jewelry every year. I am very comfortable at my jewelry bench and love forming metal into tiny wearable art, my tools are extensions of my hands and I am happy when I am at work.
This Saturday, June 27, 2015, I will be having a 5-year anniversary party for my shop in Pinedale (you are invited!). I opened the doors five years ago and have been enjoying serving my community and travelers ever since. It’s a good life and I plan on continuing my work. I thank everyone that has ever bought a piece of jewelry from me, you mean the world to me.
Pictured at top: Wyoming jade & Sterling Silver pendants.
The Teton Range is the featured horizon line on this belt buckle. I made this for a customer who wanted a very special graduation present for her Wyoming son. It is all sterling silver with elk ivory highlights.
To get a nice an accurate mountain range line I printed out some photos of the teton range, chose my favorite and sized it to the ballpark size I needed for the buckle. I used this line as a guide to trace a good ridgeline onto silver sheet. Instead of making a straight bottom line I decided to make a curving line to mirror the feel of the winding Snake River that flows beneath the Grand Teton Range.
My customer had requested a rope-like border on the buckle so I twisted together two lengths of silver wire, shaped those into an oval and slightly hammered that flat. I soldered the mountains and border to another sheet of silver. Meanwhile I cut and polished two elk ivories that she had provided and built the settings for them.
Once I had soldered the mountains and border on the buckle I flipped it over and set that into warm “pitch” so that I could hammer the back and dome out the front. I think belt buckles in this style look nice if there is a slight dome to them.
Once that was finished I flipped the buckle over and added texture around the mountains and river so that the main part of the image would visually pop out. Then I sawed away the extra silver on the edges, soldered the ivory settings to the front and a hook and loop to the back, and set the stones into place.
Wyoming is a great place to experience a true winter and the end of December through the beginning of January always proves to be a deep dark and extremely cold time. Last week we had a spell of 20 below zero weather. But already I can tell the days are just getting a wee bit longer; it’s been two weeks since the solstice.
After Christmas, I took the week off of work to enjoy the bottom of the year merging to the beginning of a new year. Usually my husband and I travel to visit family for the holidays but this year we stayed put and I was able to have some quality lying-on-the-couch time mixed with daily cross country skiing and plenty of festivities in between. There is a very large lake just outside of Pinedale, Fremont Lake, and we skied along its banks a few of those days. We witnessed it freezing over. At first there was ice gathering along the shore and a wind was keeping it chopped up but then, just a mere three days later, the entire lake had a sheet of ice covering the surface. Soon enough it’ll be thick enough to ski on but I’m not trying it yet.
I’ve returned to my shop and studio to dig into work once again and I hope to realize some of the many designs I have in my head and catch up on last year’s paperwork. It’s a nice time of year during this dead of winter, the short days make for longer star gazing and the cold weather makes for more coziness inside.
Fremont Lake, Pinedale, Wyoming, on the verge of freezing over, late December.
Summer passes quickly at 7,000′ above sea level, we’ve had snow on our mountain tops this week and a very rainy August.
In the shop I have been busy splitting my time between jewelry making and working on a public sculpture for the In|site:Ex|site, Pinedale Fine Arts Council’s public arts program. I am drawing inspiration for the granite peaks of the Wind River Range and mixing in my love of gemology to create a beautiful outdoor sculpture. Granite is compromised of quartz, feldspar and mica; each of those minerals has its own shape, habit and color. While the colors of the feldspar can vary from one mountain range to the next, ours is a pinkish color. When you go up into the mountains here with eyes pointed towards picking out the minerals, the granite proves super interesting. You can see lines of black mica flakes, jumbles of quartz, and chunky facets of feldspar.
(veins of black mica within the quartz and feldspar, spotted colors of pink feldspar and white quartz)
Earlier in the month I had the good fortune to get into the mountains for five days. I went backpacking to the base of some of these enormous peaks so that I could look at this granite up close. I brought a couple of small samples back with me.
(above, vein of golden mica flakes within the quartz)
(rugged Wind River Range peaks are solid granite rock)
Now I am in my workshop laminating together large blue foam sheets so that I can carve the shapes for the sculpture. I will use these pieces for molds and innards of some of the shapes. It’s all a new process for me and I’m using new materials so the learning curve is pretty steep. As usual I am finding that good tools and experienced advice from other artists can help alleviate some of those difficulties.