A Day in the Studio: Iverson Jewelry Design

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By Taylor Barrett, Max Wellman, Colter Olmstead

Danny Iverson, originally from Shelby, Montana, moved to Missoula in 2010–partly for the scenery but mainly for the artistic attitude and culture of the town. With a slew of other artists and creators to draw inspiration from close at hand, Iverson quickly found a place to work, and a reason to call Missoula home.

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Iverson first started wire wrapping out of necessity: he needed something to trade as he attended the Montana Rainbow Gathering. But as his skills as an artist increased, so did his following. Now one of the eminent wire wrappers in Montana, Iverson finds himself making jewelry as a full time gig.

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Now that he is creating jewelry for a living, this push has also helped Iverson expand his art form into several new avenues. Along with his original style of wire-wrapping, he has now expanded into metalsmithing, and even cutting his own gems from larger raw specimens of his favorite minerals, eventually creating a “hybrid”, where he uses both traditional metalsmithing and wire-wrapping.

We had the chance to sit down with Iverson in his studio and get a closer look at his process. Join us for a day in the studio with Iverson Jewelry Design.

We will also be announcing a giveaway featuring one of Danny’s pieces. Stay tuned for more information!

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The Metropolis – A Photo Series

By Taylor Barrett

It’s a weird time to be alive, no doubt, looking back on my travels and forward to the trips that may just have to wait. But at the same time, it has been somewhat of a forced reminder that we shouldn’t always be in “go mode”. In fact, I find it unfortunate that it takes a catastrophic event to get us to realize as a society that hey, you can stop and look around, you can stay home for no good reason, and it’s okay to take it down a notch and smile at a passing stranger when you’re out and about. It’s good to remember that this is about us, not just ourselves.

In a way it feels like mother nature has swept in and put a halt to the incredible machine that we have turned our society into. When visiting cities, it almost feels like the level of energy in the atmosphere is unstoppable, but that is anything but true. What seems like a fragmented system of disconnected parts is actually much more interdependent than you’d think, with everyone’s social position contributing to the well-being of the whole. This has proved to be an eye-opener for many, and it shows how important each and every one of us is for this world. Even if you don’t have the job you want, the car you wish you could afford, or a house you own instead of rent, we must realize that we all play an important role and that we have each other to depend on–which is what will make us stronger in the end.

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Pike Place Market, Seattle
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Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.
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Las Vegas Boulevard

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A Day in the Studio: Gangbusters Pottery

By Taylor Barrett & Max Wellman

Pottery is one of the oldest human inventions, and it’s exciting to know that Bozeman—and Montana in general—is home to incredibly gifted potters that make and sell their work right here in town. If you take a short walk from downtown Bozeman up Wallace St., you will find the home of Gangbuster’s Pottery, where you can see Ryan Mitchell creating amazing pieces of art on an almost daily basis.

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What I find most unique about Ryan’s work is his studio and gallery set up. When visiting his studio and gallery, you are able to watch him make new pots while simultaneously choosing your favorite pieces to take home. While picking out a dimple cup (which we highly recommend), you might be able to watch it being produced right there on the spot. From living in a society of mass-production and consumerism, it is comforting to know exactly where your products are produced, and not only that, but exactly who is making it and where they are sourcing their materials.

Mitchell puts his heart and soul into his work, and it’s evident. After moving here temporarily to study at Montana State University for a student exchange, it was clear that it was time for change, with Mitchell mentioning, “I came out here on a student exchange program for a semester, and then realized I could just live in the mountains.” After deciding to make the move permanent, Mitchell then graduated from MSU with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. 

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Always having a desire to create and use his hands, Mitchell mentioned that the tactile quality of clay is what drew him toward this particular medium. Also telling us that “being able to create things in whatever shape you want, the versatility of the material, I really just kind of fell in love with it right away.”

Graduating in 2007, Mitchell was farming during the day, working a full-time job, and making pots during the nights and weekends, telling us he “couldn’t not do it.” But after honing his skills, a transition began and Mitchell found himself selling his pottery full-time.

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Gangbusters Pottery is now well established and Mitchell sells pots at his gallery, craft fairs, farmer’s markets, on consignment, and for custom orders. But out of all of the sales he makes, he especially appreciates those who stop by his gallery. Having this space has allowed his business to flourish, with the large amount of growth in Bozeman, the neighborhood has grown, bringing back frequent customers and turning them into regulars. Mitchell mentioned that the biggest compliment he receives is from those who use his pottery every day, telling us that he generally likes to make “functional porcelain tableware,” including cups, mugs, plates, and serving pieces––all built with the mindset of withstanding everyday wear-and-tear.

A lot of the influence for Mitchell’s designs come from the subtle landscapes that surround us in every direction. Sometimes it might not even be a conscious decision, but Mitchell reminds us that our environment has an impact on our perception even when it’s only on a subconscious level. 

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Ryan also went on to discuss his favorite tools while throwing on the wheel, and his favorite methods for glazing and firing his pottery. Mitchell has several wheels for the different stages of the process, and he prefers electric kilns due to the efficiency that they offer.

As far as materials go, Mitchell is proud to say that he sources the majority of his clay and glaze materials from the Archie Bray Foundation, just 100 miles away in Helena. Mentioning that it’s an amazing resource to have in the area, and it feels good not having to depend on shipping everything in from larger cities like Portland. We like to keep it local, and so does Mitchell––we’re lucky to have a potter like Ryan in our town. 

Follow & Shop Gangbusters Pottery –  Instagram | Facebook

http://www.gangbusterspottery.com

724 N Wallace St, Bozeman, MT | (406) 581-8067

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.

Follow & Shop Indian Paintbrush Designs – Instagram|Facebook

http://www.indianpaintbrushdesigns.com

Sally Hats: Exploring Hat Space for Your Headspace

By Taylor Barrett & Max Wellman

Hippies, and I mean true hippies–the dusty dread headed individuals in your parent’s old photographs from when they followed the Dead in college–have always had a do-it-yourself mentality, but this beautiful culture sometimes seems to be fading into the sage smoke of the past; grooving to jam-bands into the fringes of counter culture. True hippies are a rare breed, some may even say non-existent–but they would be wrong.

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Sally Bleck, a Montana native and resident of Bozeman, is one of those long forgotten (but not totally extinct) “hippies.” While there may be some negative connotations attached to the word in contemporary times, Sally proves all of these connotations wrong. She’s not living off of government welfare or walking around barefoot in a mountain commune (although there’s nothing wrong with that), she’s just simply getting back to the roots of what it means to be an individual who has a love for the planet, music, and the people who inhabit this world.

Sally is passionate about rockhounding for minerals and crystals, and has an immense knowledge of all things jam and bluegrass music; she makes her own clothing and jewelry and she can point you in the right direction if you want to know where to see a concert on a Tuesday night. Sally’s a hippie, but not the kind that your parents cringe at when they pass them by in the grocery store. She’s the kind of hippie that reminds you that there’s still beauty and passion in this hyper-capitalist country in which we live.

DSC_0633On top of living a festival kid lifestyle, Sally is also an artist, specializing in needle art–embroidering hats with intricate designs that are deeply influenced by the many attributes of Montana. Whether it be natural or cultural elements of the state, Sally draws influence from everything including hiking and rockhounding, to live music. Sally’s artistic style is born from the festival lifestyle–shown in her desire to pass out minerals to friends and strangers as they dance in a field–and from a utilitarian passion towards art. Her hats, which are quite possibly her most successful pursuit, came about when she realized that festival vendors were overpricing hats that she could design herself, so she started to do it.

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From a young age, Sally was exposed to the Montana music culture, the outdoors, and all that Montana has to offer. From music festivals, digging for gems, and camping, Sally saw the many great characteristics that our state possesses. All of these influences shine through in the intricate designs featured on her various styles of hats–the canvas she prefers for her medium of choice. Her hats often depict scenes that many Montanans encounter frequently: landscapes of rugged mountains, wildlife, sunsets, crystals and gems, geometric shapes found in nature, and even designs for local bands.

Sally mentioned that Montana (and Bozeman specifically), is a great place for a small business like Sally Hats to thrive. Over time, she has engulfed herself in the outdoor and music community, and as a result, a good majority of her customers are from within the art, music, and outdoor scene of Bozeman and the surrounding area, with most of her hats being custom orders.

After originally making patches to trade for crystals in 2012, Sally’s idea evolved into creating hats much like those she had seen at festivals. All of her designs are carefully sewn onto patches and then attached to each hat. The entire process is done by hand: keeping things at the bare minimum. The styles of her hats come in everything from flat-bill snapbacks, to floppy-bill, to Filson Mackinaw–meaning there’s a style for everyone. To design the hats, it simply takes a needle, thread, and “hats, hats, and more hats,” and “all of the embroidery floss in the world.” If you find yourself at any bluegrass or jam band concerts, you’ll likely see one of her hand-embellished hats.

With the simple setup that Sally uses, it is incredible to see what someone can do with simply three things: a canvas (hat), needle, and thread. These designs are something you might expect from a machine, given the precision and complex nature of the patterns. To top off her incredible skill at the craft, she is also self-taught. Sally said she was mostly inspired by nature and music, and the desire to travel and experience the world.

Through this endeavor, Sally was not only able to travel and hear more music, but her artistic endeavors also allow her to enhance the lives of others and their ability to express themselves. Whether it’s highlighting their passion for fishing, their favorite band, or the wildflowers and crystals found in Montana, the love for the earth and its many people runs deep in Sally’s work.

So next time you hear someone scoff at the guy playing guitar on the street corner, or the next time you hear your parents talking about “hippy free-loaders,” remember Sally and all of the work she puts into creating something unique. Remember those who voluntarily clean up your trash at the festival and smile at you as they do it; remember the people like Sally that just want to bring a little more happiness and joy into our lives (something we could always use a little more of).

Follow Sally Ann Creek Co – Instagram | Facebook

http://www.sallyanncreekco.com 

Mitch Sander Art: Limitless Mediums

By Taylor Barrett & Max Wellman

Mitch Sander is a talented Bozeman artist who creates his work in several mediums, from drawing, painting, and spray-painting, to wire wrapping and wood burning–he’s multifaceted. No matter what he’s working with, Sander strives to produce maximal quality. He frequently portrays natural environments and wildlife with color blends and geometric shapes, creating an abstract look at the real world. Primarily influenced by natural features and the complex patterns and shapes within, Sander’s art rarely depicts elements of civilized society, which lends itself to his personality.

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Sander grew up in North Dakota and moved to Bozeman in 2010 after graduating from high school and working full time in Bismarck for about a year. He told us that growing up in North Dakota was a good experience, but as the city grew from the oil boom, Bismarck began to feel less like home. Sander’s then relocated and found a new home: Bozeman, a city that he finds conducive to his artistic process.

These days, Sander’s art usually focuses on aspects of the environment most of us in Montana can identify with–mountains, rivers, and the wildlife that populates the wilderness, themes that Sander started working with after he moved to Montana. He enjoyed all of the new landscapes that Montana had to offer, and it wasn’t until moving to Bozeman that he started painting. He told us that “the new location and scenery brought [him] more inspiration” than the landscape he grew up in, which helped him expand his artist style and form.

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Sander’s first art display was in Bozeman, titled “I Hate Cats”, which represented felines behaving like humans. Afterward, he started displaying his original character as well, an anamorphic white blob, both of which pull a strong influence from artist Luke Chueh’s work. When it comes to painting and drawing, Chueh is a big influence for Sander. Everything from color blending techniques to character development, all helped create Sander’s own unique style. He also referenced Rachel Pohl as one of his favorite local artists, saying that her work was “pretty next level.”

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Sander said that although Bozeman locals tend to prefer realism, his abstract paintings are also well received. There’s a common theme running in Sander’s work, representing human aspects in non-human subjects. This strays from pop-Montana art that depicts rugged landscapes and wildlife, but it still gets at the root of what it means to be Montana: a connection with nature.

Once established as an artist, Sander began to broaden his art with different styles and mediums, such as spray painting, wire wrapping, and wood burning. Having multiple mediums to work with allowed Sander to explore more of his artistic interests. He felt that he never “got stuck in a rut” when there are always more options for creativity. Telling us “there is always room to evolve, expand, and learn.”

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When it comes to wire wrapping and wood burning, Sander was influenced strongly by geometric figures and elements of nature. The idea of wire wrapping stemmed from both the glass blowing and music festival scene. After seeing his friends’ wire-wrapped pendants, Sander figured he would try it for himself.

To no surprise, Sander’s skills were well matched for creating not only amazing wire wrapped pendants and rings, but geometric designs on wood. His commitment for excellence allowed for superior quality pieces with geometric features that would seem physically impossible to create. Of all the different styles of art, he said that wire wrapping was the most meditative due the amount of focus that it required: “[Wire wrapping] makes me feel more like an engineer than an artist.”

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Sander started in wood work due to the desire of creating something to display crystals and and wire-wrapped jewelry. The results are quite astonishing, displaying many different intricate shapes: all of which include original configurations of geometry. Not only are the patterns unique, but the precision of the wood burning and cuts are seemingly perfect.

No matter what type of art it is, Sander is strongly inspired by nature and different animals and elements of our environment. Whether it’s painting, spray painting, wire wrapping, or wood burning, his art displays excellence throughout. The ability to decide between different styles allows for him to collaborate with multiple types of artists, including Lisa Lord, a mirror mosaic, Griffin Foster, a spray paint artist, and other local Bozeman artists, leaving him with endless possibilities.

Sander’s work is currently displayed at Delicious Bakery, including a display of acrylic paintings that includes various animals and color designs. Stop by downtown on Wilson and Babcock St. to see his work in person. Sander’s spray paint art will also be on display at 406 Brewing starting in November.

Follow Mitch Sander – Instagram | Facebook