Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Niblack.
Laura, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m Laura- a wilderness guide turned metalsmith crafting jewelry with silver and stone in the Boston area since 2016. When not tinkering in the studio, I’m likely found galavanting through the woods with my husky pup, nerding out over an edible woodland plant I’ve foraged, or cracking jokes with my husband around the campfire. I am truly grateful to be able to combine my passions into a career that supports my family and fuels my soul.
I’ve always been enamored with two things: art and the outdoors. I grew up dabbling in every creative outlet I could find. I painted, drew, photographed and acted, spending weekends romping through the woods with my sister (getting covered in mud in our backyard creek being a crowd favorite). When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d always reply “An artist, of course!” Naturally, art became the focus of my studies.
I went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and spent my college summers guiding backcountry trips in northern Wisconsin, where I met my husband. This balance fulfilled my passion for the outdoors, but I was frustrated that I did not gravitate towards a specific artistic medium that I could claim as my own. I was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. After graduating, we wed and moved to the Boston area, where I landed in retail management in the fashion industry.
While I loved my job, I often found myself craving a creative outlet. I had always been drawn to jewelry, particularly that which featured turquoise, and decided on whim to take a weekly class in metalsmithing at a local studio for fun.
Much to my surprise, lighting up a torch for the first time completely and utterly captivated me! In the weeks that followed that initial class, my thoughts were completely consumed by all things metal. I devoured book after book, spending many a late night researching new techniques. I spent weekends scouring local markets for gems. I slowly started putting money aside to invest in my own hand tools and workbench, fully intending to keep crafting jewelry as a side gig.
However, after making those first few pieces in my tiny makeshift studio, I was so ecstatic that I had a revelation. This was the medium that truly ignited my soul, one that I felt like my own. Finally! After some serious contemplation, self-reflection, and planning, I decided the risk was worth it. I dove headfirst into entrepreneurship. I quit my job and began my metalsmithing journey, fueled by an insatiable passion for creating, and the pursuit of something new.
Has it been a smooth road?
The hardest part was getting started! I knew very little about entrepreneurship and all of the challenges that came with being a one-woman business. I am truly grateful for the community of other artists and fellow small business owners that I have connected with who have encouraged me and helped me along the way. I had only taken one metalsmithing class and took a big risk in quitting my job to pursue something I knew very little about. I taught myself the rest through hours of practice and a whole lot of trial and error. I researched and learned how to manage all of the hats I have to wear on a daily basis.
I am in the creative department, the marketing department, the sales department in the shipping department, and countless others! However, it has been really rewarding to see how my jack-of-all-trades upbringing really lent itself to creative entrepreneurship. I love being able to see the whole process from beginning to end, and if I ever choose to expand The Wild Pine, I’ll know how to best serve my employees!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Wild Pine – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The jewelry I create is inspired by the vibrant, colorful landscapes of the backcountry, shaped by my own experiences of finding adventure and solace in the flora and fauna of the wilderness. I use recycled silver, incorporating colorful stones that have been curated with intention from all over the world. I have a particular affinity for turquoise mined in the U.S.- vibrant and natural, straight from the earth and into your hands.
I have purposely chosen to utilize traditional methods of metalsmithing: using simple tools and a torch to craft jewelry. This gives each piece a rustic feel, boldly showing the evidence of my own two human hands that have lovingly created a piece of art just for you. Each is one-of-a-kind and unable to be perfectly replicated again. My hope is that my jewelry will become treasured heirlooms, serving as small reminders of the awe-inspiring beauty of our natural world.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I really feel that you get the best of both worlds in Boston. I absolutely love that within a half hour or less, you can access the beach, the mountains, and the city.
Being mountains over city kind of girl, I was really surprised to find how much I’ve thrived while living so close to a bustling metropolis. Boston is a very green city, and I truly love being able to get outside and into the woods on a daily basis! There here are so many amazing natural forest reservations nearby, The Blue Hills Reservation and Wilson Mountain Reservation being our two favorites.
After a long day of hiking, I love that you can just pop in the car and head into the heart of the city to have dinner at an award-winning restaurant. Boston truly has a little bit of everything, and that’s why we never want to leave!
- Website: thewildpine.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @thewildpine