While looking for the perfect birthday present for my partner last fall, I stumbled upon Gatehouse Designs by local metal artist Peter Kurst, who designs and creates earrings, bracelets, bangles, cuffs, pendants and belt buckles out of metal. Whether it's the bark on a tree or the outline of a mountain range, every piece he makes reflects nature.
My partner is from Missoula, Mont., so I asked Kurst to make a cuff with the outline of Montana Snowbowl, a ski resort outside of Missoula and one of our favorite places to ski. The cuff, about an inch wide, is made of silver and shows off the resort's ski runs, the mountains' outlines and even the tree stands, while clouds float in the background.
Kurst got his training in metal arts at Boise State, learning from Associate Professor Anika Smulovitz. Kurst's pendants and cuffs illustrate landscapes from the Sawtooth Mountains to the Boulder-White Clouds, from Seven Devils to the Owyhees.
"I'm inspired by the mountains, the canyons, anywhere outside of the city," Kurst said. "The clouds, the ski, the dirt, the rocks, the trees."
He works with sterling, recycled and fine silver, as well as 10- and 14-karat gold. His jewelry is available at Idaho River Sports and Precious Metal Arts ($40-$300), and for custom orders like mine, contact Kurst at email@example.com or check out Gatehouse Designs' Facebook page.