Of the Vastness of the Horizon

The first time I set foot in New Mexico, I didn't consider myself a jewelry person. I was touring the United States in a 15 passenger van, playing guitar in a grungey rock band. The idea of jewelry brought to mind gold rings, or "iced out" chains and watches glimmering with diamonds and crystal. That wasn't my aesthetic.

I didn't consider myself a "desert" person either. But I woke up in an off-the-grid home down a dirt road in Los Cerillos, and I wandered outside where I was blessed by remoteness and solitude. Something like peace.

In subsequent visits to the Southwest, I couldn't get over how much I could see. Growing up in the northeast, surrounded by trees, I was unaccustomed to having an unobstructed view of the horizon in 360 degrees. And there was this mountain, looming out of the vastness, which the sunset painted shades of purple and red, or tinted blue on overcast days. It was a kind of temple. And it drew me to it.

Years later, a local Albuquerque silversmith named Chad Barela introduced me to the traditional jewelry styles of the southwest — Sterling Silver pieces that could be delicate or "masculine" without being gaudy or ostentatious. Rings and cuffs that felt equally at home at a rock show or at a wedding. The qualities I loved about the landscape of the southwest were there in the jewelry.

Chad began tempting me to move to the Southwest and learn the art of silversmithing from him. It would require leaving Nashville, my home for seven years and the natural place for a grungey rock dude to end up. But in 2019, my wife and I moved to Corrales, NM, and Chad Barela taught me the trade of silversmithing. He gave me the tools to start my own business.

I hope my pieces speak to you the way the Southwest landscape speaks to me. I hope something of the vastness of the horizon and the character of the mountains makes its way into my jewelry.

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