Back in 1999, I was challenged by the owner of a new art gallery in Lamoille, NV, to create some artistic items to sell on consignment there that were unique to the Lamoille area.
In the high desert of northeastern Nevada, we have a definite surplus of sagebrush. I therefore decided that things made out of sagebrush would be fitting mementos for anyone visiting this area. Realizing that fragile sagebrush leaves would dry and disintegrate quickly, I made refrigerator magnets out of cut and debarked sections of interesting twisted woody sagebrush branches. To make them look more like sagebrush, I wrapped them in green florist wire and sage-colored ceramic and glass beads.
To produce another local product, I turned 3″-4″ tall sagebrush branches into unusual lapel pins adorned with small chips of lapis Nevada, carnelian, peridot, or rainbow flourite. The bottom of each stem was inserted into large-hole glass beads to give the pin enough weight to stand upright in its beribboned tiny clear glass vase. The vase was labeled ” Sage Memories, Lamoille Nevada.” The vase was temporarily glued to the bottom of a clear plastic cup and sealed with a clear plastic cup lid. The Sage Memories label on the packaging stated that the pin is made of genuine local area sagebrush. It also entreats the buyer to “Wear this as a pin or stand it in its base as a special memento of days in the sage.” I thought the $8.95 pins would be unique conversation pieces when worn in an urban environment! Of course the locals here just laughed at me for thinking I could make money out of sagebrush.
Unfortunately, the owner of the Lamoille gallery sold very few of these items, as her store was infrequently open because tourist traffic in the tiny town of Lamoille was practically nil. I had written the creations off in my mind, but was surprised to have them returned to me recently with an apology from the gallery owner for keeping them so long.
As a member of the Elko Nevada Area Chamber of Commerce, I place some of my creations on consignment in the Chamber’s gift shop in Elko. Situated 20 miles west of Lamoille, this fourth-largest city in Nevada has a population of about 35,000 and a steady tourist trade due to its location on Interstate 80. I therefore added these sagebrush items to my inventory in the Chamber gift shop, where they have been selling fairly well.
Because these items are one-of-a-kind and unique to the Elko area, I have not offered them for sale on my website. Do you think they would sell to a broader market via my website? I’d sincerely appreciate your thoughts on this.
If you would like to purchase a sage magnet or a Sage Memories pin, email me, and I will arrange for you to pay for it via PayPal or a major credit card.