Monday, December 3, 2018

Phragmites vs. Saltgrass

These are the last of the new pieces created for my current exhibit inspired by grasses on the shores of Great Salt Lake. Phragmites vs. Saltgrass is a cowl created two ways using the same pattern one large and imposing and the other small and delicate.  

Phragmites is a serious concern in many Utah wetlands around Great Salt Lake. Extensive dense thickets of these tall reeds crowd out native plants such as saltgrass and block sunlight from reaching the water. But despite their invasive nature, they are beautiful in their own destructive ways.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Another work showing in the exhibition Sense of Place at the Alice Gallery are my whimsical Yellow-headed Blackbirds wristlets. These birds are in abundance in the spring at Bear Lake Migratory Bird Refuge on the shores of Great Salt Lake where my exhibition partner Kelly Baisley and I spent a morning surrounded by them. The brightly colored birds nest in the tall rushes and grasses of the wetlands. Their flashy yellow and black plumage demand attention as they roost and fly along the shores.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Inland Sea Foam

Inland Sea Foam, another work I collaborated on with Jewelry Artist Mary Lambert, is on exhibit now at the Alice Gallery in Salt Lake City. This fluffy cowl was inspired by the unique long-lasting foam found at Great Salt Lake. While out at the lake this summer I gathered hopper salt crystals that were large and well formed. Mary made them into beautiful buttons for this piece. They are the perfect accompaniment for this cowl.

Foam is caused by waves making bubbles on bodies of water, although it cannot form on high surface-tension water like very salty lakes. But Great Salt Lake has abundant phytoplankton that create a surfactant or soap-like substance. This surfactant lowers the surface tension allowing large quantities of stable foam during windy days. Another part of the surreal and wonderful Great Salt Lake landscape.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Salt Gatherer

In addition to the exhibition Sense of Place that I have at the Alice Gallery, one of my pieces was accepted in the Utah Statewide Annual exhibition. Salt Gatherer celebrates the beautiful range of pink salt that can be found on the shores of Great Salt Lake. The buttons were created by my jewelry artist friend Mary Lambert out of salt and silver. We gathered the salt crystals together last April and Mary made the most beautiful buttons out of them. The opening for the Statewide Annual is this Friday evening at the Rio Gallery.

Mary also created some cocktail rings out of salt that she made to photograph with the mitts out at the lake. She entered those in the Statewide Annual and they were accepted too! They beautiful and fragile rings that complement my piece so well.

Salt deposits along the shores of Great Salt Lake have been harvested for culinary purposes for millennia. Father Escalante’s journal of 1776 described how Native American Indians used the salt deposits. Mountain man Jedediah Smith harvested Great Salt Lake salt and even John Fremont and Kit Carson commented on how easy it was to pick up salt off the lakeshore. Today salt harvesting is big business but an individual can still find beautiful salt crystals ranging from pink to white waiting to be harvested along the salty shores.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Gniess at Unicorn Point

Another piece I created for the Sense of Place exhibition was inspired by some 1.7 billion year old rocks called gneiss. Kelly and I were lucky enough to go out to the southern tip of Antelope Island on Great Salt Lake called Unicorn Point with our friends from Antelope Island State Park to see these pink striped rocks. The piece is called Gneiss at Unicorn Point and is peppered throughout the pink stripes with small chips of quartz like the rocks themselves.