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Vendor Spotlight: Lichenology

What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own? 
I began creating natural jewelry years ago, when my husband's family decided to sell their beloved cabin above Poudre Canyon. I looked for a tangible way to hold on to the memory of the property, and began collecting small, beautiful artifacts that, when placed together, reconstructed a story about the cabin and what it means to be nourished by a place. 

lichen

Since then, I have used my craft as a way to polish my experiences in nature --juxtaposing materials possessing their own, divergent stories to create a piece with a single, unified future. I have seen that everyone finds their own meaning in these pieces--whether through attachment to the physical locations housing the raw materials, the sentimentality of a kind of wood or stone, or the mere tying together of different histories. Thus, each piece is as unique in form as it is in meaning.

What sort of things inspire you?  Where do you look for inspiration?
A good, old fashioned walk in the woods is the best inspiration, but particularly when I have a thought-provoking book by my side. Nature writers like John Muir, Wallace Stegner, Ellen Meloy, and Terry Tempest Williams have a way of illuminating the seemingly mundane aspects of our relationship with the world and making them instrumental to our understanding of it. My work operates in similar ways, encouraging both me and the wearer to reconsider what we know and feel about our natural surroundings.

When do you feel the most creative?
Walking in the woods outside my house in Breckenridge is the surest way to get me excited about creating. I love finding gnarled pieces of deadfall and wondering about the grain patterns that lay inside. Any time I'm out collecting lichens, too, I am anxious to be back in my shop, pairing them with new woods to see what makes each specimen come alive in a new relationship. The process of creating is equally exciting, allowing me to pair wood and lichens based on their complementary organic patterns.

Where can we learn more about you?  
My website, www.thelichenist.com, is a great way to learn about the materials I use and why I get so fired up about them. Follow me on Tumblr @thelichenist to gain insight into my daily inspirations and creative process.

Shop Lichenology at Jackalope Art & Craft Fair on July 25th & 26th at EXDO Event Center.

Vendor Spotlight: Storytelling Strands

I describe my design style as earthy chic with a rustic glamorous vibe. I am naturally drawn to very raw stones and I think that is attributed to the fact that my husband and I have a daughter, Mo, who graduated with a Geology degree. We were always collecting rocks when she was growing up! She gave me the love of "earthy" gems and each piece of jewelry that I make comes with the history and metaphysical properties of the elements used in the design. 

storytelling

Megan, my oldest daughter, is my source of all things "color" and texture! She is a self-taught, and very accomplished acrylic artist, who paints with an extremely cheerful and vibrant style. She pushes me to get out of my comfort zone by mixing metals, textures and colors together in ways that I would not have thought of on my own. 

strands

I'm certainly inspired by my family, but nature also gives me a boost to the creative process. Whether I'm on a walk with my dog, or a marathon course with Megan (we've completed 7), I find ideas and think about new designs. I want each piece to be meaningful. For example, I've just recently produced some hammered metal necklaces called "Stepping Stones" that were inspired by polished river rocks along a mountain stream. The name Stepping Stones" can symbolize a way to move forward, or heal, or reach our goals. I like to solder three beads onto the metal cutout to represent mind, body and spirit, but some people have customized them for number of children, anniversary dates, numerology, and so on.

I've also started hammering some new rings in Brass, Copper, and Sterling Silver. They are a wide band with a simple, yet dramatic, diagonal cutout and they are named "Pathway" rings. Megan and I were on a marathon course in Couer d'Alene, Idaho when we started talking about letting go of control and letting the path choose us, instead of the other way around. I think a lot of people can relate to jewelry with meaning. It makes a piece very special and can be a fantastic gift for someone. 

You can find other examples of my work on my website at www.StorytellingStrands.com and there is a link to my Etsy shop on that site, as well. Not everything is listed because I'd rather spend time making things that I can show at events like the Jackalope Art Fair!!!

Shop Storytelling Strands at Jackalope Art & Craft Fair on July 25th & 26th at EXDO Event Center.