Berry Stained Fingertips

Fabricated ferns, cast New Mexico jackrabbit vertebra, satin polished Snake River rock and cobalto calcite druzy (cut with my rock saw and polished on my lapidary wheel — feels good to be using those tools again), one of my SOS nuggets and a trail of soapy finish, natural rubies.  I call this color palate “berry stained fingertips” and I’m sure you find it appropriate!

Organic elation!  The seen, the unseen, the living and the dead and the cycles in-between!

I’m so glad I had one of these in me this week.  I started this fern and bone series over a year ago and each one has been such a joy to create and a beautiful truth to build.

Thank you to Idaho and New Mexico for making this piece possible.  My lands of love.  My inspirations.  My greatest gifts of place.


Some things may come and go but I think my inspirations are always going to revolve around these things:

Idaho & New Mexico

Catholicism (more specifically liturgy and icons, more specifically than that —> Mary/Virgin of Guadalupe/doves/flames/hearts)

Antique Mexican Jewelry

1930s – 1960s Native American Jewelry

High Desert Light (high desert everything)


Mortality vs Immortality (life and death cycles and energy transference) —>bones —>wildflowers—>ethers

American Country Culture (cowboys and indians, steel guitar, trucks, boots, bandanas, horses, dust, grit, rodeo, love and stars and heartbreak and freedom)


For years I’ve resisted referring to my jewelry style as “Western” but I think it’s safe to say I make Western jewelry.  When I say it is “Of The West” I am talking about a spirit, not a specific look.  I feel the same about my photography efforts.  I shoot the West, my interests lay in capturing the West, so my pictures are of the West.

I heard an interview with John Denver once and he spoke of how his music is classified as “country” but he has never felt like a country music musician.  Instead, he called his music “western” because he was singing of the people and the land of the West.  That portion of his interview really resonated with me as I feel most of my work could be seen in the same light.  Also, just so we’re clear, I really adore John Denver, I am listening to him on vinyl as I write this and it’s beautiful.


I found myself with a clear studio bench this week, for the first time in months (maybe years) and I decided to let myself play, to take hours to sketch and draw and fiddle with shapes and forms and to build a few things off the cuff, to not worry too much about perfection and straight lines, rather to allow myself to color outside of the lines and wing it.  The result is some reimagined settings for motifs I’ve been working with for years.  Rustic statement pieces that hold a splash of the mystic.  This is my love for the high deserts of New Mexico and Idaho rising up out of me and a dash of Catholic iconography mixed in with my simple, hayseed heart.

This is:

+Of The West+

Variations on the Uplifted Necklace — similar configurations with turquoise instead of chalcedony.  LOVE that guy in the center with the bi-layer concho-esque connector component.  Actually, I loved that concho style piece so much, I made a necklace and ring set.  I don’t know why it’s taken me ELEVEN years at the bench to finally make a matched set of jewelry…

I am planning on updating my shop on August 8 at 1PM (Mountain Time Zone).  I hope to see you there!

Metal and Assorted Sundries


IMG_1145IMG_1127IMG_1111 IMG_1104 IMG_1103 IMG_1070IMG_1043IMG_1055IMG_1062I’ve been chipping away at a series out in the studio that is, quite naturally, fly fishing inspired.  I seem to come up with a fishy kind of series in August most years so this is not out of the ordinary for me.  You may remember this series from last summer, which continued into part of the winter and then transmogrified into the Adaptation Series.  It’s so fun to throw my hands up in the air and see where the work leads me!

The results of this new series have been delicate, robust, colorful and whimsical.  There is more to come but I’d like to get the first batch of work in the shop for you tomorrow morning so stay tuned for that!


Robert has been home!  Only for a week long visit.  It’s been a mighty good time.  I’ve been quite focused on him, as you might imagine, but also on us and working hard to heal up the tiny cracks that make their way across the surface of the heart during fire season when we are apart for long stretches.  It has been difficult for us this summer, as it is every summer, the distance has felt enormous, life has been over-full.

Rob will leave for work again tomorrow and then it will be one short month before we begin our off-season together.  We’re making plans and this winter is going to be a good one.

We were up at nearly 9000ft last night and the air was FRIGID.  Can you feel the nip of autumn in the air where you are?  September and October are magnificent months to be Idahoan.  Warm days.  Fresh nights.  The scrub maple begins to burn red in the draws on the mountain, the aspen and cottonwood grow yellow with the frosts.  It’s beautiful here and on the brink of being beautiful-er yet.  I know you can say the same.

Hang tight!  There’s more on the way.



Bog Water Be Darned

[A reminder that all broken things, even we, have a purpose and a beautiful, divine destiny: sterling silver, 23 karat gold, jade & wild bird egg shell]

Did I tell you about the beautiful little nest RW found me, months ago, while we were up at Tiffany Lake with friends?  Well.  He found a beautiful little nest in the marsh there and said, “Jillian!  I have a present for you!”  He’s just so tremendous about bringing me dead things and bones and antlers and shards of remains that he finds when he’s out hunting or away on fires.  He knows I like to honor the remaining bits in some way or another and he knows that nothing tickles me more than a handful of feathers, baby animals or chicks in nests.  He’s a woodsman and is so talented at finding these very sorts of things.  As I was saying, he  called me over to where he was standing and told me to look around very closely.  So I did.  Within seconds my eyes had located the perfect little ground nest, in a tuft of raised grass, directly above the bog water my toes were sinking into (it was terribly cold bog water, my toes were so frozen they were itchy) and I screamed.  I couldn’t help it!  The nest held four beautiful little speckled eggs and they were utter perfection.  Perfection!  I couldn’t stand it!  I folded down to my knees — bog water be darned — to take a closer look and our friend’s dog promptly ran over and squashed the nest beneath her feet (oh woe was me, I nearly cried).  Two eggs survived.  Two eggs were destroyed.  I carefully collected what I could of the broken egg shells and said aloud, “I will do something with these.

And so, now I have.