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An Accidental Sabbatical

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Mariele Ivy, the designer behind Young in the Mountains.
Mariele Ivy, the designer behind Young in the Mountains.

Mariele Ivy spent the last five years working for herself, honing her craft of ceramics and wood jewelry in a small studio in the Bay Area for her line, Young in the Mountains. Originally from Montana and Colorado, the 27-year-old was pretty set her in skills—and then she went to Ghost Ranch.

The view from Ghost Ranch. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
The view from Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.

A 21,000-acre retreat and education center in north central New Mexico, Ghost Ranch is best known for being a source of inspiration for Georgia O’Keefe. It turned out to be a game-changer for Mariele, too.

“I went to a weeklong class for lapidary (stone cutting), and I blew the teacher away. I was a natural at it and immediately fell in love with the art,” she says. “I realized that everything I had been doing led me to stone cutting.”

After one week at the ranch, Mariele was already planning a return trip. The powers of the universe worked in her favor, and she was awarded a scholarship for a two-week lapidary retreat at Ghost Ranch.

“I turned the two weeks into a monthlong trip, driving from San Francisco through the Four Corners,” she says. “It really felt like a sabbatical—being from a more rural place, I find myself a little uncomfortable in big cities; I fit in better in the wide-open spaces.”

The creative process: a turquoise and black jade channel bracelet in the works. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
The creative process: a turquoise and black jade channel bracelet in the works. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.

The month away paired with a new understanding of stone cutting changed the way Mariele makes her pieces.

“It’s been two months since I’ve been back, and I’ve already built a lapidary studio and transitioned my work from wood jewelry to stone,” she says. “I really hope to do something crazy and take it to a level that no one has seen.”

Take a peek at some of our favorites from the Young in the Mountains shop below. To see even more of Mariele’s work, click here.

The colors and the patterns of the desert come to life in Ivy's ceramics. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
The colors and the patterns of the desert come to life in Ivy’s ceramics. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
Helena stacking rings by Young in the Mountains. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
Helena stacking rings by Young in the Mountains. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
An inlay black jade and sterling silver bracelet set. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
An inlay black jade and sterling silver bracelet set by Young in the Mountains. Image courtesy Mariele Ivy.
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