Our first stop during my recent ‘grand finale’ tour of Wyoming with The Bridge traveling exhibition was Laramie, WY. While checking out the town’s modest commercial center I wandered into a store called Jeny Originals. The first thing that I noticed was an entire wall covered in a rainbow of hand-dyed wool like some giant textile installation.
I struck up a conversation with the store’s namesake, Jeny Stoesz, and learned about her family’s love for Wyoming’s natural beauty and how their deep connection to the state inspired a unique family business.
The Stoeszes believe Wyoming is God’s country and I can see their point – the scenery is pretty awesome. The family wanted to create products that could ‘leave with visitors and at the same time remain in the state with its residents’ and thus was born Jeny Originals yarns and weavings.
Mike Stoesz was a prolific photographer of his beloved Wyoming. Jeny draws inspiration from her late husband’s photographs to hand-dye wool and acrylic skeins with gloriously nuanced shades of color and texture that remain true to the original photograph’s palette. The color combinations that make up The Wyoming Collection have even been patented and are christened with evocative names like Bent Aspen, River Flood, and Rock Creek.
Jeny is a true artist, interpreting the beauty of her late husband’s nature photographs through the medium of wool.
Jeny Originals has just moved to a new, more streamlined location in Laramie. More information at jenyoriginals.com.
Wyoming was the last stop on The Bridge exhibition’s global tour. Learn more about The Bridge project and my role as both participating artist and co-curator. While you’re checking that out, I’ll just slip into those new cowboy boots…