Adventures with Jay King: How I Fell in Love with the Great Outdoors
Well, here it is… September once again. This is a memorable month for many reasons. At the top of the list is that fifty-five years ago my parents had a brand new bouncing boy to add to their young family, and someone to torment my older sister. Which, by the way, I still do to this day, and quite well if I do say so myself. I was born in a very small farm and ranching community in Kansas where my father grew up. Although my grandfather did work in the oil fields as a Wild Cat Oil driller when he was young. He and my grandmother settled in Kansas, and had a small farm where they raised their three children later on.
I can remember spending my summers with them and learning the ins and outs of farm living. They literally raised almost everything themselves, and really lived off the land. I can remember my grandmother canning fresh vegetables and fruit for the winter. They also made all their own sausages and smoked their own meat in a large smokehouse out front of the main house. As a young child I remember being given the job of collecting the eggs from the hens in the morning. It was usually dark and you never knew what would be in that nest when you reached in. On more than one occasion I’ve reached in and grabbed a bull snake. This will get your day started off real quick and wake you right up. I had a great childhood and this is where I learned what Mother Nature could provide, and learned to love the great outdoors. My father moved our young family to what I consider my home state, New Mexico, when I was just six months old.
I have to say, I think this is one of many great things my father did for us. New Mexico is a great place to grow up. If you have never been there I highly recommend it as a state to visit in the good ole U.S.A. It has so much to offer. I can’t even list it all in the space available. If you love the outdoors New Mexico has it all, pretty much. The only thing it doesn’t have is an ocean. I guess that’s why I’ve always maintained a home in both Florida and New Mexico for my entire adult life. I really have the best of both worlds, and also get to travel the world doing what I truly love. Finding new Mine Finds and designing jewelry with my discoveries.
That brings me to the August show. All I can say is, “Wow!” I’m still riding high on the rush from the event. It was just crazy. First of all, the day before I left my home on the east coast of Florida to go to St. Petersburg, where the show is live, we had hurricane Irene arrive. Oh boy, what to do? Batten down the hatches or hope your friends will do it for you if the need arises? Since I have good friends, most of who are responsible adults unlike me, I decided to leave my home in their trusting hands. Turns out, Irene stayed out to the east and hit the Bahamas instead. Just so you know, if you fly out of my hometown airport, once you get to 12,000 feet you can pretty much kill the engine and glide to the Bahamas if the need arises, but that’s another story… To say the least, it was interesting. When I got to HSN, Diane Gilman needed to catch the last flight out to go to her home in New York, so I did the eight o’clock spot on Friday. I haven’t spoken to her, so I hope her home was spared. After that it was just crazy and full bore. We had so many new great Mine Finds, and tons of new designs and great deals on limited-stock items. The time just flew by, and we sold out completely on the lion’s share of what we were able to offer. I also got to talk to so many viewers and had so many great calls. I love this part of the show when you can talk to everyone and get their direct input.
One of the big events was the release of our brand new line of designs that incorporated native copper. I was just overwhelmed by the response. It was incredible. Like they say, necessity is the mother of invention. I’ve never worked in any metals except silver or gold. Copper was something totally new and different. It took a lot of effort to bring this to the mix. Copper is a whole different animal and our silver-smiths had quite the challenge when learning to work with it. Even many of my most-experienced smiths just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. The designs were a lot of fun to do, and it opened a whole new window of opportunity for us design-wise. What’s really amazing are so many of the natural roughs and materials we work with actually work wonderfully with copper, even more so than with silver in some cases. I can assure you we plan on remaining true to our brand. Focusing on natural materials set in sterling silver, but we will add a few handcrafted copper and copper silver designs to the mix in future shows.
This month will be interesting as I plan on traveling out west to visit the Kingman and Sleeping Beauty mines to do some filming and look at new and old materials available. I also have many new materials lined up to look at with miners who have contacted me recently with their new finds, and some turquoises that were mined in the 70’s. So can’t wait to get moving in that direction.