Boutique I Like: Illustrated Light Gifts
We see a painting in a home store or at a local market and think, now that’s a work of art that would look great on my wall. But what if we could say the same of the earrings we buy for our lobes? Getting dressed in the morning would get a lot more fun, don’t you think?
Wearable works of art—that’s the idea behind Illustrated Light Gifts, a Fort Collins, Colo.-based fine art photography gallery turned gallery-and-gift shop that creates earrings, necklaces, coasters and more from the founder’s breathtaking landscape and nature photography.
David Clack, the aforementioned founder, hadn’t planned on making a name for himself as a jewelry and décor designer. But since inspiration struck, customers can’t seem to get enough of his pieces: “I’ve been so surprised by how well our products have been received.”
At a boutique in Colorado Springs, I joined the fan club for his earrings—one of his most popular products. Each easy-to-wear pair is made by hand and, though they feature his well-known work, only cost between $20-$40. I caught up with Clack on how the earrings are made. Warning for your wallet: After one browse, you’ll be inclined to buy every pair.
Have you always loved nature and landscape photography?
“I started getting into photography when I was 10 years old and have been pursuing it ever since—I've always loved it.”
What gave you the idea to make earrings (and pendants) from your work?
“I was selling my work at a gallery and the staff members asked me if I’d ever considered putting my images on pendants; I thought it was worth a try. The pendants did well so we started making earrings. We started with literal landscape and nature images, but now the pieces are made from abstract works, where I combine several images together.... Our products are available online and at shops in nearly every state in the U.S.”
How are the earrings made?
“A majority of the work is in creating the image itself, which also now includes artwork from another Fort Collins-based artist, Shelby Hearne. But once that’s ready to go, we print the photo directly onto stainless steel and assemble the metal into earrings.
“To make the abstract images, I take one of my landscape images and sandwich it together with a close-up photo. I’ll mix up to five images together on the computer and then, by changing the opacity of each, I’ll create an abstract.”
The earrings are so light.
“Everyone says that! We used to make the earrings as ultralight clay prints. Stainless steel is another kind of ultralight material.”