Artisans of the West – Jan Daley

Our March 2013 issue featured the Ultimate Artisans of the West. Over the next few months, we’ll profile some of the talented artisans we met, and whose work we fell in love with. To see the full feature, order the back issue.
 

Back home, with a studio window that faces the western hills, Daley draws inspiration from her surroundings on the ranch.

Jan Daley

Granum, Alberta
Silversmith

Jan Daley is a relative newcomer to the business of being an artisan, with her Juniper Creek sign hanging just a scant two years. Yet the craft didn’t emerge as an epiphany of middle age, but more like a coming of age for a long-harboured passion.

A freehand native etch wrist cuff.

“From a wee girl I’ve always had an interest in metal, wood, and stone and all the artistic avenues I’ve explored through my life have absolutely led to this right here, right now. About 25 years ago I picked up some goldsmithing textbooks and not understanding a word they held, they were set aside. Perhaps the timing wasn’t right. A few years ago I ran across those books and away I went. Fortunately, everything has fallen into place and each of the other artistic avenues has played a contributing factor.”

An oxidized flower concho.

Jan and her husband Mark Daley are deeply immersed in the ranching community. If you were to drive into the foothills of Southwestern Alberta west of Granum and into their ranch, you would most likely find her helping out on the family ranch or in the practice pen working her cutting horse. Her father, Kerm Stav, was the first cutting horse champion of Canada and she’s carried on the torch, with a fierce competitive edge in the same sport.

Combining silver with such natural elements as stone, wood, bone and horsehair she creates pieces that compliment both contemporary and western lifestyles.

Back home, with a studio window that faces the western hills, Daley draws inspiration from her surroundings on the ranch. Combining silver with such natural elements as stone, wood, bone and horsehair she creates pieces that compliment both contemporary and western lifestyles.

Camelite lattice garden wrist cuff.

A ranch gal for all of her life she carries a strong opinion on what western culture means.

“We could spend days talking about this one. It’s keeping your promise on a handshake, which, unfortunately seems to be fading.  It’s respecting and getting to know your neighbour as you would have them respect and get to know you. When people offer to help its because they really want to help, don’t deny them. It’s long days in the field whether on horseback or on tractor. It’s sleep-deprived stormy days and nights calving cows. But when the heat from the sun starts to inject its power into the spring days, it’s hearing the cows rip the new blades of grass as their calves lay soaking up the rays. It’s a newborn colt finding its first legs. It’s the joy and pride of watching the next generations carry on the western tradition.”

Ribbon rock scarf slide.

See more of Jan Daley’s work at Juniper Creek.

~ Ingrid Schulz