Featured Artist: Penny McConnell

Meet Jewelry Maker Penny McConnell

Penny McConnell Featured Artist

As an artist who also designs jewelry, I strive to create work that is timeless yet wearable at any age. And I am truly blessed to be able to do something I love for a living.

Growing up in a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains I could never have imagined I would spend my days traveling the world soaking up ideas that would translate to the one of a kind and limited edition jewelry I currently make. Once in a life time exhibits of the life work of Rene Lalique at the Goldsmiths Hall in London; Exhibits at the Kleingrove in Glasgow highlighting the art of jewelry making literally from the dawn of time to modern computer chip creations; countless exhibits at the Moma as well as hundreds of other museums all over America and Europe have given me a wealth of knowledge of every aspect of Jewelry design and construction.

I use elegant natural stone , hand blown glass often from recycled glass and when ever possible I incorporate exquisite antique glass beads. I believe we have a duty to the planet to reuse and conserve as much as possible and I am so pleased to be able to give new life to elegant glass beads that might have ended their days in landfill.

I sincerely hope you enjoy wearing the small pieces of wearable art I’ve made for you as much as I enjoyed making them. —Penny Lynn McConnell

Tell Us A Bit About Yourself…

1. When I get dressed in the morning… What is this morning you speak of?

2. The clothing item I’m currently wearing the most is… I tend not to trend. I’ve been wearing some version of a kimono with pants, skirts and dresses since my 20s. Sometimes an authentic kimono tightly closed,belted and worn with high heels or one that’s been shortened and the excess material made into a pencil skirt of varying lengths. Depending on my mood and waistline. A beautifully colorful one with a white tank, jeans and cowboy boots in winter or sandals in summer or classic black.

3. The most meaningful piece of jewelry I own is…A sterling cigar pocket knife my father kept to remind him of his father. I have it on a 30 inch sterling chain with a collection of other memorabilia. A coin from my first trip to Europe at 17, a ring from my Mother and a few odd gems for color and balance and because they pleased me. Other than that I wear my own creations. As an artist there is a selfish pleasure in being told daily how beautiful something you’ve created is and I quite often get stopped on the street and complimented on my earrings.

4. The best gift I ever received is… My mothers smile and my Fathers snarky sense of humor. When you wear those two things you are always well dressed.

5. When I’m looking to get inspired I… Honestly, I never have to look for inspiration. There aren’t enough hours in the day for all be creative things I want to do.

6. My guilty pleasure is… Guilt is not a concept I embrace. If someone doesn’t like the fact that I am equally happy reading Plutarch’s Lives or a science fiction novel…I’m pretty sure that’s their problem.

7. The one electronic I can’t live without is… Probably my iPhone but I’m not sure what feature I use most. I sketch, photograph, text,compute, surf the web and call with it in equal measures.

8. If you looked in my refrigerator you’d always find… Some form of Greek yogurt or kefir.

9. If you looked in my handbag you’d always find… My Epi pen. I’m allergic to most of the universe. Including such mundane things a Aspirin, peppermint, and licorice. My sweetie says I’m the easiest person to kill on the planet and it’s proof of his love that I’m alive. ; ) (When you find that person who shares your silly sense of humor keep them! Not in like a locked room or anything because apparently that’s against the law.)

10. My beauty essentials are… A little mascara, some color for my lips and a neutral polish on my nails.

11. I can’t start my morning without… Again, what is this morning you speak of? When I wake, I wake ready to go. I like my first meal to be lite. Kashi with coconut flakes, fresh fruit and some extra nuts mixed in a cup of Greek yogurt is my go to.

12. My favorite drink is… Coke on ice. Not Pepsi, not Diet Coke, I’m not a heathen.

13. My current favorite song is… I don’t tend to have one favorite song. I listen to and sing along with everything from Jimmy Rogers 1920s million seller Blue Yodel to Dinah Washingtons smokey numbers to Italian but never German opera, intermixed with modern artists like the Decemberists and techno folkies like Jonathan Coultan. Although the songs I sing the most are the silly ones we make up and sing to our pets.

14. On a typical Saturday night…We are playing a board game on our iPads or watching a movie. Apparently we are both fuddies and duddies.

15. The one store where I’m always guaranteed to find something I want is… Home Depot. Art or craft or D.I.Y.

16. The best style tip I ever got… Wasn’t given to me so much as observed. When I was 11 or so and I had left the house to go ride my bike and get away from my older sisters lamenting some new hairdo or fashion trend. I noticed a woman in her 60s riding her bike on the same street. She had stunning long snowy white hair swept back in a long thick uncomplicated braid. Her clothing was casual but elegant and timeless. She looked fine in it and in that instant I could imagine the same clothes on me without them looking out of place. I thought, that’s what I want. Simple clothes that suit me and flatter what ever shape I’m in. Hair that doesn’t have to change every 6 months because the media dictates it. I didn’t want to be my beautiful sisters who spent hours reading fashion magazines and desperately trying to fit into Cinderella’s slipper or midi or mini. I wanted to wear what ever I felt comfortable in. For the most part casual elegant is my go to look. But my true rule of thumb is if I’m comfortable and happy. Classic black stilettos to clogs, or cowboy boots, if it suits my body and my mood it works.

17. I love Wyoming and the west in general because…  I like small towns where the baker will spot you a cookie if you forgot your wallet. But I’ve found that same thing in cities as disparate as New York,London and Philly. In the larger city’s it’s a neighborhood ethos. Lots of little communities making up the whole. While I truly adore Wyoming I couldn’t live with out those little neighborhoods either.

18. My biggest jewelry pet peeve is… Poorly made jewelry. A piece that doesn’t hang right or falls apart or just looks sloppy on close inspection.

19. When I want to relax I… Doing what you love for a living is relaxing. I never find myself overwhelmed and needing a break.

20. I wouldn’t be caught dead in…The company of a narrow minded or close minded person

21. I’m currently obsessed with… Ha, a million things and one thing, life, and living it to the fullest. Being the kindest most creative person I can be.