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  • It’s a feeling, far deeper than words

    It’s a feeling, far deeper than words

    “In this world, I am happy. I can be myself without judgment. No rules for how I should behave, what I should say, or how I should look.”

    Just shy of 15, she’s not a kid, but also not an adult. She’s trying to figure out who she is, in relation to the universe. Her friends may be preoccupied with boys and trying to decide how to feel about them. Most of the girls have insecurities about body image. They wonder, are we pretty enough, tall enough, or skinny enough? Is our hair too curly or straight enough? Is anything about us enough?

    She feels boxed in by society and social norms. Everybody gets put in a category because that understanding puts others at ease. But for a young girl like her, she craves freedom and fluidity.

    Still a child in many ways, and dependent on adults, the love affair with her horse provides a sense of being in control and independence. She feels confident and free. Learning to control a 1,200-pound animal is empowering, and that feeling extends to all parts of her young life.

    It’s a sense of adventure and an escape from things she wishes she didn’t have to pay attention to. She’s in control, in a world that otherwise tells her what do to. It’s freedom and self-direction, something every young teen craves.

    How can you describe the connection between a horse and a girl, not yet a woman?

    It’s a feeling, far deeper than words.

    It’s unconditional love and admiration for a majestic beauty, with enviable confidence that’s innate, and that humans can only wish for.

    It’s a best friend who accepts you as you are, no matter how you look. It’s the eyes that say “trust me, I will never hurt you,” from rider to horse, and horse to rider.

    It’s the unspoken words, “we can accomplish anything together, we can go anywhere and need little else to be happy.”

    Others might not understand. Why would we expect them to? The horse and the girl, in their own little world, surrounded by snow but still warm. Unaware of anything but each other. You take me as I am. You don’t question my love, affections, or motives. We’re good to each other, and that’s enough.

    The chill in the air is not a bother. Together in their little world, there is nothing else that matters. The sun on her face reminds her to breathe and cherish the moment. She is where she should be, and she is enough of everything.



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  • Horses!

    Horses!

    It’s every little girl’s dream. Right up there with becoming a princess, nearly every little girl dreams of having a horse of her own. When I was a child I had a total fascination with horses, and with their beauty and grace. I had an intense desire to ride and learn to jump, but aside from a few years of dressage lessons, I never got to do any of these things. Still, the dream persisted for years.

    I can still feel it and remember it vividly. As a child, pure and innocent, I imagined the connection I’d have to my very own horse. Like something out of a dream, I could almost feel the soft, thick mane, the natural woodsy scent and the sweet smell of warm breath while I snuggled and kissed my horse. I even had a book, The Love of Horses, that further influenced my strong desire to have my own horse.

    This connection between a horse and a young girl is powerful. While some little girls collect Barbie dolls, others were meant to ride. My dear friend Julie, owner of Firefly Horse Co. is living out that little girl’s dream. She grew up on a farm, with her own horses, and now owns a beautiful horse farm. She’s grown into an amazing rider, and an equine therapist as well. Through her deep connection to nature and horses, Julie helps her clients, many of them children, approach and cope with life through grace, self-control and compassion. Invaluable lessons for a purposeful life.

    Julie can attest to the lifelong dream and magic of riding and owning a horse. There’s a reverence, and awe, in the presence of these majestic animals, with their strength and wisdom. They are gentle, calm and soothing, but large and powerful at the same time.

    Over the next few weeks, we’ll journey along this path, into a new year. I invite you into this magical world, as Julie’s story unfolds. Together we’ll celebrate our shared connection to nature and mother earth, with kindness, self-love and hope. 

    I encourage, and welcome your interaction. Imagine yourself inside this majestic place, surrounded by nature and beauty. Be still. Stay in the moment. Tell me what you see and how it makes you feel.

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  • Behind the Scenes

    Behind the Scenes

    Once upon a time, my work inspired my photoshoots, and the stories that followed. It was a linear process, like a one-way street. Over the years, as I’ve evolved as an artist, my jewelry and the photoshoots are part of the same story, equally influencing the other. As I visualize new pieces, the story unfolds, influencing the photoshoot. As the photoshoot takes shape, more inspiration flows into my new pieces. Everything is intertwined. One cannot exist without the other.

    Photoshoots are more than just a necessary, technical part of my business.  They are just as creative as my bench work, as I infuse my natural artistic expression, pull back the curtain, and craft a new story. 

    Besides making jewelry, directing my photoshoots is one of my favorite things to do in my business. In the studio, hovering over my bench, I call all the shots. On a photoshoot, I’m just one part of a creative team. This is what I love the most.

    My models are my closest friends, with busy lives of their own, that do not revolve around mine. Every time they show up for me, I’m grateful. It’s rarely a cushy, cozy setting either. I’m usually dragging the team to some remote alley, a cold, frosty meadow, or a damp forest. Even when the weather is harsh, they stick with me and power through, until the job is done.

    Sometimes the inspiration is very practical, when I just need beautiful photos of my jewelry being worn by an amazing human. Other times, it can be creatively fantastical, when I want to create a mood or a feeling, where the jewelry is part of a theme, a larger picture, and not necessarily the center of attention. My photographer is so much more than a technician. She is an artist, and a storyteller. She understands my creative language, and can interpret my vision in her imagery.

    Over the next few weeks, I’ll take you on a journey, behind the scenes. You’ll meet Julie, who, dreamed about working with horses, from a very young age. Like Julie, I also shared this dream. I remember, there was something about the beauty and grace of a horse, that captured my heart. I even had a book titled A Love of Horses. Today, Julie is living out her dream, and I can’t wait to tell you her story…

    Part II: Coming Soon

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  • The Opals of October

    The Opals of October

    The love part…

    Gemstones are amazing! Each with their own juicy, colorful goodness, plus so many shapes and sizes. I also love the symbolism of each stone, and I think about this when I’m in my creative zone. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you love your birthstone. I don’t happen to love Emeralds, my birthstone, and I’m pretty sure my hubby would never wear Pearls (giggle).

    The ish part…

    The meaning behind birthstones, has been somewhat randomly assigned by the commercial jewelry industry, to sell more jewelry. Sometimes there are many different interpretations for each stone, so this is kinda sketchy. So, what if you don’t love YOUR birthstone? Are you just S.O.L.? No way. If the meaning of another birthstone resonates with you, go for it. If you were born in July, but you love the rich golden color of Citrine, don’t listen to anyone’s stinkin’ rules. Buy the damn Citrine.

    That said, I’ve set aside the ish part, and I’ve challenged myself to make small capsule collections of birthstone jewelry each month, in my own edgy, industrial signature style. On my bench right now, I’ve got some beautiful Opal and Pink Tourmaline for October, Citrine for November and Turquoise for December. Garnet, Amethyst and Aquamarine stones are gathering in their trays for the beginning of 2021. I think you’re gonna LOVE the combination of cut, fine stones, combined with gritty, mineral specimens and stone slices. 

    Just for fun, I’ve compiled a list of traditional birthstones, and their meanings below. Several months have more than one birthstone. Keep in mind, gemstones often have more than one meaning or interpretation.

    Before you go, make sure you sign up for my VIP Insiders List to get updates on these new monthly capsule collections. I’ll be sending updates the first Thursday of each month to show you the collection for that month. VIP's get to see it first, so don’t miss out!

    Birthstones by Month:

    January

    • Garnet:  Believed to bring safety to the wearer during travel. Good health, wealth and happiness. 

    February

    • Amethyst:  Strengthens relationships and brings the wearer courage. Personal empowerment and inner strength.

    March

    • Aquamarine: Purity of spirit and soul.
    • Bloodstone:  Brings health and strength

    April

    • Diamond: Everlasting love. Courage, clarity and strength.

    May

    • Emerald: Wisdom, growth and patience. 

    June

    • Pearls: Purity.
    • Alexandrite: Good luck, fortune and love.
    • Moonstone: Love, passion and fertility. 

    July

    • Ruby: Love, passion and youthful energy.

    August

    • Peridot: Strength, shielding from evil
    • Spinel: Eases anger, promotes harmony
    • Sardonyx: Courage, happiness and clear communication

    September

    • Sapphire: Purity and wisdom. Sincerity, truth and faithfulness

    October

    • Opal: Purity, hope and truth
    • Pink Tourmaline: Artistic expression, compassion and love

    November

    • Topaz: Long life, beauty and intelligence
    • Citrine: Soothe tempers, brings calmness 

    December

    • Turquoise: Health and good fortune
    • Tanzanite: Transformation
    • Zircon: Promotes sleep and scares off evil spirits

     
    If you really wanna geek out on all the juicy details, you can read more about gemstones here on the GIA Website.

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  • Behind the Scenes

    Behind the Scenes

    To say this is my happy place, is a total understatement. Imagine a lush birch forest with a little wetland bog, deer happily frolicking everywhere, raccoons, wild turkeys and sometimes pesky mosquitoes. Just steps away from home, my studio is literally 2 doors down from my house.

    Inside it's quiet and super cozy, with a little pot belly stove burning in the corner for warmth. It’s practically a cliche, except it’s very real, and exactly what you’d expect for a little rural Montana art studio. 

    There is no need for a shop front, with only occasional visits from a customer here and there, who comes in to pick something up.

    I share the space with Tammy, a friend and fellow maker, and also Les, my step dad, who is a retired goldsmith. Often, you’ll find him inside, forging beautiful little copper vessels, but usually when Tammy and I aren’t working, because he makes a ton of noise. 

    The coffee is hot, strong and plentiful. The snacks are naughty and decadent, but necessary. Most days you’ll find music, or a juicy audio book playing in the background. It’s comfy, and it feels like home, but without distraction. So much creativity bubbles out of this space, too big to be fully contained.

    Some days I go there, by myself, to sit and just be. Quietly replenishing my mind, my body and my creative flow.

    On any given day, you’ll find Tammy, Les and me, gathered around a bench, solving huge design challenges together. Pencils, sketchbooks and stones strewn everywhere, as we work through a design hurdle for one of us. An outsider might see chaos, but this is our happy place.

    Sometimes I'm in there using loud equipment with my headphones on, listening to an epic fantasy fiction novel, like the Queen of the Tearling trilogy. Time flies in my happy place. At times, you’ll find me sprawled on the floor, doing the stretches prescribed by my physical therapist, to keep me safe and comfortable during my long hours at the bench. This work takes a toll on my body.

    My studio. My happy place. But it’s so much more than that. I never know what will consume me there each day. Some days I have a clear plan, and I carry it out seamlessly. Other days the plan unfolds before me, sprinkling in a few surprises and challenges here and there. More than just a happy place, my studio is a place of peace, healing, creativity, excitement, problem solving and, of course, endless snacking.





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