Inside the Local’s Studio: Colby June
With a childhood in Aspen and current home base in Carbondale—and extensive world travels in between—jewelry designer Colby June Fulton has always found inspiration from her surroundings. Launching her handmade line in 2010, she works primarily with precious metals, and the occasional gemstone for a pop of color, to create organic and simple shapes—many of which resemble the treasures she personally hunts for outdoors.
The brand-new Bone Collection includes Fulton's signature layering and stacking style, with a modern take on the warrior spirit of women. She used the texture and shape of a small bone as a starting point in creating 23 fierce new pieces in silver, bronze, and 14-karat gold specked with diamonds, sunstone, and onyx.
“The bone was still jagged at the top, with a beautiful but unusual texture that both pushes you away and pulls you in," says Fulton. "The push and pull of nature inspires me daily, and I tried to bring that conflicting emotion of desire into this collection.”
We caught up with the 38-year-old designer at her studio for a first look at the new line before its official debut at Carbondale’s First Friday (July 1) at The Launchpad, where guests can meet Fulton and shop for jewelry.
What’s the story behind your beautiful space?
We moved from SAW (the artist cooperative Studio for Arts and Works) in November 2012 to our own space. SAW was moving locations, but there were a few months that they would not have a space and we needed to operate during the holidays. We work in the back, but love having visitors in the front showroom area, which has a jewelry case where you can browse and buy.
What elements of your workspace inspire you most?
I have an incredible workspace. My husband is an architect [Ramsey Fulton] and was able to transform a large garage space into something super functional and beautiful. We have great light in the showroom, and our high ceilings and textured concrete walls make the workspace flow nicely and feel very comfortable.
What about the Roaring Fork Valley inspires you most?
Colby June is inextricably entwined with nature. The designs you see in my collections are inspired by the tiny details I encounter daily in the Colorado wilderness: from the seedpods on a stalk of grass to the texture of a fallen piece of bark. Colby June is conceived by tiny moments—the unobvious, the subtle. Those unassuming details of nature continue to serve as my greatest inspiration.
Describe the Colby June aesthetic in one sentence.
Colby June is nature-inspired jewelry with a focus on simple forms and complex textures.
Take us through your creative process for the new line.
The creative process for each line of jewelry is a long one. For the Bone Collection, I was inspired by a small bone I found walking along the banks of the Crystal River over a year ago. I made the first mold of the bone in October and in January, I decided to use the bone for our summer collection and began creating the pieces.
I spend a lot of time in my head thinking about pieces and the theme for each collection. I keep a sketch pad nearby to make rough sketches of my ideas, but the details of the pieces happen in the moment while I am working with the wax. In those initial weeks, words cannot describe the collection yet. I’m simply evoking a feeling or a sense of something through my physical pieces. It’s a highly visual and surprisingly non-verbal process.
Once that phase is complete, I get feedback from my partner, Amanda Redmond, on the final designs, and we dive into the story creation. The collaboration of a brilliant group of creatives brings the narrative of the collection to life. From our photographers to the models, our PR team to the stylists, each person tells the story through their own lens. The collaboration of everyone makes the whole greater than its parts, and I am incredibly grateful to work with the team I do at Colby June.
What’s your favorite piece in the collection?
The silver Eye of the Leader necklace. This was one of the last pieces I made in the collection, and it was a spontaneous moment of inspiration, more of an experiment than anything else. I was surprised by how much I liked the finished piece, which is something you can wear every day yet it really captured the jagged intensity of the bone that inspired the entire collection.
Where do you source your materials?
We are very conscientious of how we source . We use conflict-free diamonds, fair-trade sapphire, and turquoise and Oregon sunstone that is mined in the U.S.
After the launch of a collection, I typically feel a little depleted and need time to regroup. Hopefully, I can spend some time this summer out in nature with my family and alone, which will inspire the next collection. Right now, I have no idea what the next collection will be, but there are always little design ideas floating around in my head.
Outside of the designer’s Carbondale studio, you can find Colby June jewelry in town at Pitkin County Dry Goods, O2 Aspen, Aspen Outfitting, and the Aspen Saturday Market; in Snowmass at Anderson Ranch Arts Center; in Basalt at Midland Clothing; and in Carbondale at True Nature Healing Arts.
1136 Colorado Ave., Carbondale
Tuesday–Friday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; or by appointment
Vital Films captures the creative process behind the Colby June Bone Collection campaign