Made in Carbondale: Nature-inspired jewelry by Colby June
By Nicolette Toussaint
Sopris Sun Correspondent
Inspiration can be found growing in a Carbondale town ditch, next to the Crystal River or where dried leaves curl into the snow. “Almost all of my inspiration comes from nature. I like to find something that’s interesting in nature, a thing that has a shape or texture and that’s the theme for a series,” said jewelry designer Colby June Fulton.
Colby is the creative force behind the Colby June studio, a boutique offering light and graceful sculptured jewelry — jewelry inspired by the details and textures of things that one might collect during an outdoor walk here in the Rockies.
Among the jewelry collections that Colby June has created are the Sticks and Stones line, the Grama and Seed Collections that were inspired by Colorado native grasses, and the Nest collection, inspired by “the beautiful sculptural homes created by birds.”
Colby designs jewelry in her Colorado Avenue studio, a former garage that has been re-envisioned and recreated by Carbondale’s Building Seed architects. She sculpts patterns from wax, and then sends the molds to firms in Denver or Colorado Springs, where they are used to make castings that are filled with silver, gold or bronze. The firms ship the metal castings back to Carbondale, where Colby finishes, sizes and assembles the rings, bracelets and necklaces that are displayed in her studio.
Although the studio is open every Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, the studio finds more of its customers on the Internet than on the street. Colby June is currently busy manufacturing items for her online Etsy crafts store in anticipation of the Christmas holidays. She also plans to open her Carbondale studio to walk-in trade on Saturdays in December.
“I am trying to create a feeling or mood with my design,” Colby explained. “The design is important to me. I am creating a simple, thoughtful design that’s not overwhelming. It accentuates simple details that I see in nature.” For example, Colby’s Compose Decompose line, the firm’s most popular collection, “is a study of sticks and stones.” Colby June’s collections are textural and coolly tactile. “The smooth and lightly textured rocks feel so soothing to the touch, while the detailed branch forms are delicate and sensual,” Colby commented.
The Colby June studio opened in January 2013, next door to Jobody. The space had been a dark garage that was used to store a boat. Colby’s husband, architect Ramsey Fulton, transformed the space, filling it with light. Smooth, pale wood slats now play off the concrete walls, creating a space that accents the textural qualities of Colby’s jewelry.
In addition to a reception desk and display area, the front of the shop contains a knee-high table – a workspace for Colby’s three-year-old daughter, Perry. Toddler Christopher, Perry’s nine-month-old brother, is also a frequent studio visitor.
Prior to Perry’s birth in 2010, Colby worked as a counselor at Carbondale Community School. Colby grew up in Aspen, graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland with a degree in Hispanic studies, and later earned an MA in counseling psychology. She took her first jewelry making class in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and extended stays in both Mexico and Nepal influenced an avocation that, in time, became her vocation.
Colby and her husband Ramsey, who grew up in Grand Junction, chose to settle in Carbondale after living in Denver. They were looking for a connection with nature, for a smaller town close to skiing and for a place to grow a family.
“This is like a perfect space, and a perfect town for the kind of work I do,” said Colby. “There are lots of other creative people around who are also producing artwork. They are fun to be around.”
In addition to being sold on the Internet and in Carbondale, Colby June’s work will be sold at Pitkin County Dry Goods in Aspen, and Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass Village.