I had this massive stone in the works for nearly a half-year, and didn't really know how to make it into something I loved....Until! I remembered I had these vintage bolo tips from the PowderHorn Trading Company and Pawn in Kalispell that closed a few years back. It was my favorite place to go sniff around for inspiration. I miss that place. It was one-of-a-kind and with the best characters that ran it, with the wildest stuff. Beaver pelt, old Indian trade beads, fake feathers made of wood and hand-painted to look nearly exactly like the OG, black and white instructional manuals for building your own cedar boat, shot glasses with frogs on them, an intricately beaded set of moccasins that was over 100 years old, old guns and new guns and a rifle with very old and gorgeous scrimshaw inlay. There were pieces of funky furniture, bedazzled belts, bad diamond rings, and even worse tennis bracelets that never made it into the heirlooms of late family gone. The best part, though, were the cantakerous old men that mingled about with styrafoam cups of black Folgers and the sweet older gals coming in with a beading project they wanted to have done for a Granddaughters birthday upcoming. It was, and still is, the best kind of Montana, in my mind. It was that generation of pawn-shoppers and bead-seekers that made that place....one of a kind.
I am afraid, after years of growing into Targets and Super Duper Wal-Marts and fancy tee shirt shops next to trinket Kitchen shops set in idyllic ski towns, that these dusty and authentic places where business was more than tourism, they’ve become more and more rare. The grit is slowly retiring, finding their purpose in grandfathering, or making tiny bird feathers out of wood, or using some of those guns to get themselves that 5-point buck that has eluded their grasp for nearly their entire lives.
Call me nostalgic, but I'd take a dusty pawn shop filled with grumpy old men over a plastic filled dollar store filled with grasping consumerism....any day.
This piece is all about honoring big personalities, dusty boots, and big bolo-wearing characters. In the best way the West knows how. It's borne from the best pawn shop and vintage bits...A BOLO for the BEST OF 'EM.
Chinese Turquoise MEGA stone set in Sterling and Fine Silver, with Black braided leather cord, and vintage Sterling Silver Bolo tips stamped and designed for an era that loved their spurs and their styrafoam Folgers.
OOAK for 2023.