A Day in the Studio: Indian Paintbrush Designs

By Taylor Barrett

Originally from Santa Barbara, California, Sarah Pardee now resides in Livingston where she founded Indian Paintbrush Designs and raises a family in the small, but unique and artsy town. For a small community of approximately 7,500 people, there are over 10 art galleries in Livingston, nestled in the mountains just north of Yellowstone National Park–impressive in and of itself.

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Pardee finds herself making jewelry that some would describe as elegant and delicate, yet simple and minimalist. Her parents are both painters, but Pardee wanted to go in a new direction, and that’s when she set her sights on metal fabrication and jewelry making, mentioning that she had always been drawn toward three-dimensional work. I had the joy of spending an afternoon with Pardee in her studio, and I can easily say her craft is nothing shy of amazing.

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Moving to the Bozeman area seven years ago, Pardee decided that it was time for a change in pace, and that’s when she delved back into her passion for art and started a local jewelry company. Now, after four years, her work displays incredible quality and craftsmanship all around. From turquoise laid in sterling silver, to an array of mixed metals, there is sure to be a style that catches your eye.

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Pardee can be found at art shows around the state, including the Montana Made Fair, which travels to several stops throughout Montana. Pardee told us that the bulk of her business is from art shows and consignment, but she is currently pushing to sell more wholesale orders to other shops and businesses.

When asked about the industry for handmade goods in Montana, Pardee said that people around the area like handmade, and not only that, but they also enjoy knowing who made it and the story behind the process––adding that everyone just has a desire to help their community.

Indian Paintbrush Designs-8Starting in a metalsmith class in high school, and later continuing her learning in Tennesee––through Indian Paintbrush Designs––Pardee created a way for locals to support something that was sourced and made right here in the Gallatin Valley. Looking at the final product, you’d expect to see it displayed in a hip boutique in Portland or Seattle, but we are proud to know that it was made right here in our backyard. From refined and delicate, to ancient and trendy, Pardee’s jewelry is simply exceptional. Get a glimpse into Sarah’s artistic process, and see how each of her creations take shape.

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