When you’re pulling together an outfit, the right accessories — earrings, scarf, necklace — make all the difference. So when jewelry creator Lynn Gardner dresses for her day job as an escrow officer and can’t find the right earrings, she goes down to her studio, puts together the perfect pair, and heads to the office.
“Life is too short not to wear art,” the Sandpoint, ID artist says. Unique, customizable, and vibrant, Gardner’s torch-fired enamel pieces are, as she describes it, “where color meets metal.” Frequently collaborating with her husband, Mark, who began his art career in high school as a jeweler’s apprentice for the princely wage of $1 an hour, Gardner operates her business under the name of Lonesome Dove Designs, maintaining an Etsy shop under the same name.
It has nothing to do with Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, the book, or the movie, but everything to do with an actual bird.
“When we lived in Arizona, I used to have an aviary in my studio with two diamond doves in it,” Gardner explains. “When one died, the other called out continuously for its mate. So I named my business Lonesome Dove.”
An aviary is a fairly unusual accoutrement to a studio, but Gardner loves animals. Upon moving to the much colder climate in Idaho, she disbanded the aviary except for a 28-year-old Cockatiel that rode in the front seat with Mark during the move, singing, non-stop, the Andy Griffith theme tune. At his new home, the bird was joined, eventually, by a new menagerie — six chickens (not in the studio), two black labs, two cats, and six horses, one of whom is a Belgian draft horse named Bob, adopted in a near-starved state from owners in Arizona.
“Bob’s been trained to drive, but honestly his harness weighs a ton,” Gardner says. “I don’t like riding him as it takes a ladder to get on him and then it’s like straddling a sofa.
“So Bob is just basically a big yard ornament that eats a lot!”
But Bob, like the lonesome dove, has his part in Lynn and Mark’s art business. Visitors to their studio and students of the couple’s jewelry and pottery making classes enjoy the gardens and landscape on the Gardner’s 10-acre spread, after which everyone wants their photo taken with Bob.
“After a few hours of that, he hides in the back of his pen,” Gardner says.
Outside of the barn, Gardner finds inspiration for her jewelry in nature, and five acres of aspen and fir in the back of the property are a haven where she walks, meditates, picks up rocks and leaves, and plans what she will create next.
“My son has built trails winding through the forest and made benches for me to sit upon and reflect,” Gardner says. “Mark and I often find ourselves taking a bottle of wine and sitting on the bench watching the leaves.” Each is inspired differently, and the collaborative work they do reflects their individual personalities.
“Mark is very architectural and is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. I am inspired by hobbits . . . I love the quirky. When we collaborate on pieces, we have a lot of fun doing it.” Much of the jewelry is a tandem affair, with Mark creating the setting and hand-forged clasps or chains, and Lynn responsible for the enamel and color work.
Recently featured in Belle Armoire Magazine, a publication showcasing wearable and hand-crafted fashions, Gardner is represented by galleries in Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona. Active members of Art Works, a local art cooperative that taps into the tourist industry of the area, both Lynn and Mark take turns with other members in staffing the gallery’s retail store.
“The other day, when it was Mark’s turn to work, he was just ready to close up when a young couple came in, walked right to my case, and said they had to have one of my pieces as a gift for their mother who collects my work,” Gardner says. “That was a thrill!”
It is a thrill that she and Mark regularly, and gratefully, feel.
“We make each piece knowing that the right person will come along and be enamored with their purchase,” Gardner says.
“Nothing pleases us more than to be approached by someone wearing our work.”
Lynn Gardner is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, November 7 through Saturday, December 10. She will be at the gallery Friday, November 25, from 3 to 7 p.m., as part of the Christmas Kickoff Celebration. Free refreshments will be served.
Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.
Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists. Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!