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Piper speaks with FEI level 3 course designer Meghan Rawlins and Alexis Kletjian about her luxury jewelry brand, Alexis Kletjian Jewelry. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!
GUESTS AND LINKS:
- Host: Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse Magazine
- Guest: Meghan Rawlins started riding at a young age, competing in the hunters, jumpers and Eventing before beginning her professional equestrian career in 1993. Meghan is the owner of Cedar Vista Stables in Victoria, British Columbia and is certified as both a licensed coach and Equestrian Canada and USEF course designer. In 2022, Meghan earned her FEI level 3 course design certification, making her the only female FEI level 3 course designer in North America.
- Guest: Alexis Kletjian was guided by her intuition to design her first piece of jewelry in 2011 and has since become an award-winning designer and destination for good luck charms, talismans, and Luxuries for your Soul™. Her design aesthetic is influenced by the lore and magic of bygone eras, designed for the modern world. Her coveted pieces have grown a community of worldwide collectors motivated by her trademarked mantra, SHIELD YOURSELF®.
- Pictured: Meghan Rawlins, Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley
- Title Sponsor: Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (THIS) was founded in 1987 to provide specialized insurance for all types of equine risk. THIS places their policies with the highest rated and most secure carriers, meticulously selected for reliability and prompt claims settlement. THIS is proud of their worldwide reputation for responsive and courteous service, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your equine insurance needs and provide you with a quote.
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- Sponsors: Purina Animal Nutrition, America Cryo, Alexis Kletjian Jewelry, ClipMyHorse.tv, Saddlery Brands International, BoneKare, StreamHorse, Show Strides Book Series, Online Equestrian College Courses, With Purpose: The Balmoral Standard, and American Equestrian School
This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.
Piper Klemm [00:00:35] This is the Plaidcast. I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine. And coming up today on episode 331, I talk with FEI level three, course designer Megan Rawlings and award-winning jewelry designer Alexis Kletjian. This episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services.
Piper Klemm [00:02:44] Megan Rawlings started riding at a young age, competing in the hunters jumpers and eventing before beginning her professional career in 1993. Megan is the owner of Cedar Vista Stables in Victoria, British Columbia, and is certified as both a licensed coach and an equestrian Canada and USEF course designer. In 2022, Megan earned her FEI level three course design certification, making her the only female FEI level three course designer in North America. Welcome to the plaidcast, Megan.
Megan Rawlings [00:03:12] Thank you very much, Piper. I’m happy to be asked.
Piper Klemm [00:03:16] Can you talk us through a little bit your journey into becoming a course designer and how that interest developed and and how you came up through the ranks?
Megan Rawlings [00:03:27] Yes, for sure. I started, course designing professionally in 20, I think it was 2001 or 2002. But before that I had done a lot of practicing, drawing on paper, that type of thing. Even though my friend reminded me in high school we did drafting and everyone had different projects. And when I had to do drafting when I was 12 and 13, I was drawing courses on for my drafting courses, drawing horse courses. So it’s always been something of interest to me, but it was something that I started to take a more serious look at as a profession. Sort of in the late 1990s, I was able to work with Peter Holmes quite a bit and he encouraged me to pursue it a little bit more and to look to follow it as a career path as well. So I was fortunate. I got to spend quite a lot of time at Spruce Meadows when I first started and there’s so many different great course designers that are there and it’s a team. It’s actually a very unique situation where you’ve got Leopoldo Palacios. He oversees the other course designers or he was when I was there, and so everyone would come with their courses and the other course designers look at them and we all would get an opportunity to participate in and learn and see how they do and then and then see the result as they’re ridden. And the goal is always to just create the best possible sport at Spruce Meadows. So it’s a great environment to be able to mentor in when I was first starting and then I was able to continue on and do quite a lot at Thunderbird and I traveled down to Wellington as well to just spend a couple of weeks learning and apprenticing. And then after that I started to do a little bit more on my own, which was great, and we did a lot of local shows and do everything from just local shows up from Cologna and Courtney and all over B.C. And then I started branching out from there. So it’s been a journey. When my children were young, I tried to stay at home a lot more. And then as as they grew up, I was able to branch out and travel more. And of course now they’re long gone and grown, grown up children. So I get to travel and I’m very fortunate. I have a great support team at home that allows me to travel and course design and then go home and teach and ride as well.
Piper Klemm [00:06:02] Yeah, we’ve talked a little bit about like how the different, I’ll say, ecosystems work a little bit. So in North America, the use of way fewer FEI classes, we’re getting more and more. How does the FEI course designers license differ from what people think of like in the U.S. as a course designer? Like how do all these kind of pathways intermingle and work together and separately? I think at the upper level of the sport, there’s just a lot of various leagues and things going on and it’s hard to kind of wrap your head around what it means to be a level three course designer and how impressive that is in North America especially.
Megan Rawlings [00:06:46] Yes. Piper So it’s it’s for sure a little bit harder to get your FEI levels in North America versus in Europe or even South America. We have our own rating systems as well, both in Canada. So we’ve got Equestrian Canada that certifies our course designers, you can get a small R or senior card once you’ve done enough years of experience. And then in the U.S., there’s USEF and they certify with the same thing a small R and then a larger. So because of those certification systems, the it’s a little bit harder to to get your FEI with just having most of our course shows rated through Equine Canada or USEF. So there isn’t as much requirement for FEI certification and then to move up and become an FEI level three, you have to have enough credentials and credits, of course, designing certain levels, of course designing two stars and assisting at bigger horse shows and at four and five stars you have to have enough of those credentials in order to be promoted by your federation to then attend a seminar to see if you are able to qualify to become certified as an FEI level three course designer. I think that’s part of why there’s a shortage or there’s less North Americans that are certified FEI level three than there are in Europe and other countries.
Piper Klemm [00:08:13] I want to talk about some of the bigger shows you’ve done in the last few months, which have included both Hunter and Jumper, of course, designing first the Royal Winter Fair, the 100th anniversary. I know hunters are less prominent, shall we say, in western Canada. And and eastern Canada has a lot more history of of hunter divisions and hunter derbies. Can you talk to us what it’s like designing for a horse show that’s so historical and prestigious and important and also has really fast ring changes? You know, there’s a very short about I mean, it is incredible. They they pull in with the tractor and it’s ‘woo hunters! Woo Jumpers! Woo Draft horses!’ You know?
Megan Rawlings [00:08:58] It is amazing honestly the royal and the production that goes into the royal is so special. But you do have to be very organized because it is 50 minute builds. So that’s 50 minutes is long. Sometimes I think we timed ourselves and one of the jump crew did a video like a time lapse thing. I think it was 5 minutes and 37 seconds or something was I don’t know exactly how long it was like under 6 minutes that we were able to completely build one of the hunter horses. As tall as you get meshed as a team. And we’re very fortunate that we have a great team at the Royal. But you do need to be very organized and we take the jumps in the frame and then they go out through the ring, the driving might go and then you rebuild the ring for jumpers. So the team is incredible and they make a huge part of designing at the Royal successful because we just could not do it without such a great team. The but the royal itself is, is so special and it was really an honor to be asked to do the 100th anniversary of the Royal. I started working on my courses quite early on because we do want to be organized and then you want to make sure that everything looks like it’s going to ride well. And so when I’m doing the hunters and the derbies with the indoor feel it so can be a little bit of a challenge to build the Derby with five high options and at least 12 jumps with five high options in an indoor ring. So you want to have a nice plan that helps still encourage the horses to jump well and and jump in a beautiful form, which is what we’re always looking for, for the hunters, for the equitation. It is the same. You want to plan. You’ve got it’s the equitation for Canada is a little different for Equitation finals versus the US, we only take the top 20 riders versus in the US where you have a medal, while you might have 200 riders, in Canada we have only 20, we’ll only accept 20 riders to the Royal because of the time constraints. So it’s it makes it challenging to design. You want to design something that’s challenging for your riders yet still fair and and is going to give a nice showcase for how the riders are riding and give them an opportunity to show off and show their equitation skills.
Piper Klemm [00:11:23] Yeah. We don’t see many hunter derbies in the U.S. in indoor rings and in confined spaces. It’s such a challenge to build. On the opposite of that. You just built the $100,000 hunter spectacular course in thermal in a ring. That is. The opposite. Absolutely massive. Can you talk about that? And one thing I thought was interesting was in the handy round instead of trot jump, you did a trot shoot where riders could show off their transitions, but it was a little bit different than a trot jump.
Megan Rawlings [00:11:58] Yes. So doing the hundred thousand dollars spectacular in Desert Horse International Horse Park was also absolutely amazing. The team once again wonderful. I feel very fortunate. We have such a great team that comes together for doing these kinds of events and the opposite that we got to build the night before. So we had much more time to build than we do at the Royal. But it still takes planning and organization for sure to to create a nice, beautiful jumping course, which I was very happy with. We had some wonderful scores and the horses jumped beautifully, which is really nice for the trot through. When you read the specs for The Spectacular, the hunters is not allowed to do a trot jump. It’s actually in the specs. So I thought, but it does say that you can do chutes or it actually specifies that you can do a chute or something like that, a walk through or a trot through. And I thought it would be interesting too, rather than just kind of have something, you know, a couple of markers to do something interesting, like as if you were on the hunt field trotting through between two fences and then pick up your canter, and continue again, which would be certainly something that you could do on the field. And I feel this handy portion really wants to simulate that hunt field feeling of being able to come forward and go back and then come forward again and show off the brilliance and the turning, because we’re going to you’re going to gallop, you’re going to shorten all of those things when you’re out hunting. If you’ve ever been able to be fortunate enough to go hunting out in the grass fields with horses.
Piper Klemm [00:13:32] And your final jump in the handy as a as a hand gallop, I mean, it was a spectacular class. It was a spectacular display. I mean. People- All of the top couple riders, I mean, they really went for it was exciting.
Megan Rawlings [00:13:44] It was wonderful. I loved seeing them just go for it. And then the horses just jumped in beautiful form. They got to gallop and just jump really high up over the jump and showed what an amazing athletes these horses are- I’m very fortunate to get to work with them and build for these amazing athletes and riders.
Piper Klemm [00:14:04] So back to the jumpers. I feel like from watching the classes, you know, obviously back in the day there were bigger or heavier jumps in the jumpers. We moved towards jumps that are very light and the poles are very light. But I feel like we are coming back a little bit to having a few solid things again on most courses or some really interesting things. I mean, I think there’s a big like Hollywood sign at Thermal that everyone jumped over. What is it like for you picking out materials or looking at the materials you have to work with and deciding what goes where? How do you really try to make the courses both inviting and challenging? You know, you want the horse to be a better horse when it walks out of the ring, whether it’s a winner or not that day.
Megan Rawlings [00:14:51] Yes, I absolutely always want to encourage horses and riders to come away feeling confident whether they’ve had rails or not. We still want to build confidence and create that confident, good quality jumping from our horses as course designers. So that part of that is, is picking materials. And, you know, in the past, you know, in the seventies and eighties, we had a lot of if you look at the jumps material, it would be like five rails in a gate. It would be very solid and impressive looking. So the horses would be careful just looking at it. So then we went to this point in our course, designing where it got very light and fragile, and now we’re going back to being we still have those light, fragile obstacles, but there is now giving some bravery pieces, being being brought back into it. So you’re seeing some gates and some walls, which is excellent. And how those create jumping tests that might the wall itself might not be a test, but maybe the next obstacle is the test is as a result of how the horse jumps the wall, or if you have something spooky like a big gate. And then then maybe then the next jump is three rails. So the gate kind of gets the horses careful looking, and then they just, oh, this is boring as three rails and it a little bit less careful with those obstacles. So it’s interesting how we pick the material and how you build use the material really can make a difference in as a course designer and for example with for me when I’m designing some of the lower levels, you know, when you’re designing some of the meter, and a meter 10, I would never want to put something really spooky on the B or C of a combination and not at A, because then they can look through and look at it and spook at it and it can create a problem. So it’s always being conscious of the course designer, how we’re going to be able to use those obstacles that we have access to as within the course and where we place them is a consideration. Absolutely. It makes a big difference what how something is going to work. Whether we said at the beginning of the course or the end of the course into the line or out of the line makes makes a huge difference.
Piper Klemm [00:17:04] And talk about a ring that’s as big as the Grand Prix ring at thermal. I mean, when we think about FEI classes, it really ranges from the field at Spruce Meadows all the way to these these tiny, interesting World Cup qualifiers to the grass field at Live Oak, I mean, it’s the the terrain you have these specs but but the terrain and the dimensions and the questions being asked just vary so much.
Megan Rawlings [00:17:32] It really does make a huge difference. When we’re building on a grass field. It can be not level of, say, for example, even like the adult Canada ring at Spruce Meadows, which is on the side of a hill, it’s got a slope to it that makes a huge difference. If you set a combination going down the hill versus going up the hill or a line, all of those things make a big difference. And indoors, if you’re setting going away from the ingate into the crowd, that’s going to make a difference versus coming home. And then the types of lines to use will depend on the the arena that you’re in. It makes a big difference if you’re sitting in a big grass ring or a Grand Prix ring like desert, like a thermal or or if you’re setting indoors, like at the Royal, you’re going to get two totally different types of lines because the rings are just very different sizes. And then you’re going to also see different equipment at each horse show that you go to, which is nice. You want to try to help the horses jump well, if every equipment’s the same at every horse show, the horses can become a little lacidaisical about it. Whereas if we have different equipment at each horse show that helps the horses keep their spark and be interested in what they’re jumping.
Piper Klemm [00:18:43] You mentioned your own business and you go home in between horse shows and you ride and you show and you train. We have a lot, of course, designers that both ride and do it themselves. We have many that don’t. Can you talk a little bit about how your training and your own riding influence, your process and how they influence the questions that you ask as a course designer, which are probably, I’m guessing, the same things you’re training at home and lessons?
Megan Rawlings [00:19:12] Yes, absolutely. So the training at home makes it a huge difference for me. I think as a course designer. And also, being a course designer helps me to become a better trainer. You get to go places and see different tests from other course designers. You think, oh, something I might need to try at home and see. And then I also always try to, because I still ride some not as much as I used to, and I don’t show as much as I used to, but I’m still teaching a lot and I think it makes a difference. I go home and I set something. So for example, I went home after a horse show last year and I had an idea for a gymnastic that I wanted to do at the Royal and I set it at home and thought might be a nice gymnastic exercise. And after setting it at home and then schooling it, I thought, Oh, maybe that’s going to be a little bit harder than I had thought it was going to be. I was at a horse show and after I had done that gymnastic, I talked to another course designer and they ended up setting something similar, but a piece of that gymnastic and it worked well at their horse show, but they had a much larger class than I did. So at the Royal with the 20 riders, I felt the gymnastic might be a little bit harder than I had intended after setting it at home. So I chose to use a different gymnastic for my gymnastic phase. But it’s nice to be able to take that information and be able to play with the ideas at home and then and then use them at a horse show. I think it helps to be able to to have that knowledge as a course designer and especially when you’re doing some of those gymnastics and make sure that feels like something, something that’s going to be doable exercise. And then when I’m setting jumpers, I always try to feel that is it something I could ride my five year olds around if it’s an appropriate height, obviously. So if it’s something that I feel that I could ride a young horse around and still feel that it would be something that would be an appropriate track, the distances would be obviously different for a younger horse versus an older horse, but you want to feel that the track itself would be something that you could ride young horses around and still be successful. So you’re trying to set something that’s going to be fair and still challenging regardless of what level I’m setting for. If I’m setting a Grand Prix, I can use different distances that I’m going to use for a five year old class. But the track itself should be something that no matter what age the horses, we could still ride around it safely and comfortably with appropriate distances.
Piper Klemm [00:21:51] That’s a lot of responsibility. I mean, these horses whole careers depend on, you know, their success, learning the basics, those young horses.
Megan Rawlings [00:22:00] Yes, absolutely. And I think it’s our job to help develop those young horses, to become confident, successful horses later in life, whether they become Grand Prix horses or equitation horses or top hunters. It’s still our job as a response and responsibility to help create that confident jumping and good jumping style.
Piper Klemm [00:22:24] Megan Rawlings, thank you for joining us on the plaidcast.
Megan Rawlings [00:22:27] Thank you very much, Piper. I appreciate your time.
Piper Klemm [00:24:17] Alexis Kletijian hand was guided by her intuition to design her first piece of jewelry in 2011 and has since become an award winning designer and destination for good luck charms, talismans and luxuries for your soul. Her design esthetic is influenced by the lore and magic of bygone eras designed for the modern world. Her coveted pieces have grown a community of worldwide collectors motivated by her trademark mantra Shield Yourself. Welcome to the plaidcast, Alexis.
Alexis Kletjian [00:24:44] Thank you for having me.
Piper Klemm [00:24:45] Can you tell us a little bit about your new podcast and what made you decide to have your own podcast and how you got that started?
Alexis Kletjian [00:24:57] Sure. The luxuries for your soul podcast is an opportunity to have conversations with women about what it means to have a well lived life. We live in a material world, but not every luxury can be held in your hand. Sometimes it’s in the moments you share with others or the time that you make for yourself. So my co-hosts, Lauren and I also discuss topics like mental health, spirituality and the stories that have captured our attention in the news that we’ve read in books or on limited series, like a Hulu or a Netflix. But at the heart of it, we are creators, seekers and friends. Carving out that time to have honest conversations through the lens of luxury.
Piper Klemm [00:25:44] So I was talking to one of my friends the other day and. One of the things I say like half as a joke sometimes is like is luxury Minimalism or maximalism? Because some days I feel like luxury is, yeah, you having that white desk with like, nothing on it. I obviously as we discuss all the time I’m a mess, I stuff everywhere. I have papers, I’ve notes things taped to other things. And which I find being a mess to be a huge luxury most of the time 90% of the time. And then like 10% of the time of like, oh my gosh, I wish I had that just surface.
Piper Klemm [00:26:19] So like I do, I feel like luxury can be either having literally everything or having like something very sparse. It can be minimalism or maximalism. And I, I asked my friend the other day, I said, Is luxury having a hotel room by yourself and having that solace and being alone or is luxury like having all your friends in a hotel room and it being like wild and you hanging out and having that community. And and she said, which I thought was fascinating and profound. She said, luxury is doing anything because you want to, not because you have to.
Alexis Kletjian [00:26:57] Exactly. And luxury exists in the spaces in between when we’re very busy and then we have downtime or if we’re not busy at all, and then we get to connect with the people that make us feel aligned with ourselves, that’s also a luxury. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can just be sometimes.
Piper Klemm [00:27:17] I love that so much, you know, and I think it’s such a great thing to think about is like is what is a luxury to me right now in this moment or this week or this month, as opposed to like making it itself finite and absolute. It it’s it’s a fluid liquid that that shapes throughout our lives.
Alexis Kletjian [00:27:35] Yeah. We ask all of our guests. It’s a new podcast, so we only had a handful of guests so far. But we ask our our guests at the end of the episode is, what is your latest luxury? And what does it mean to you to have a well-lived life? And the range of answers so far has gone from an infrared sauna to a rebounder, balancing skincare, tangible products to just really knowing who I am and saying, No, I’m not going to do that thing.
Piper Klemm [00:28:07] As someone who owns an infrared sauna.
Alexis Kletjian [00:28:11] All right.
Piper Klemm [00:28:12] That is a luxury one hundred percent.
Alexis Kletjian [00:28:16] I didn’t know that about you. See, I already learned something.
Piper Klemm [00:28:21] I always think one of life’s greatest luxuries is to get to go out to breakfast with someone. Because going out to breakfast means that, like, you have a moment to, like, breathe and you’re not diving into the day. And I love to wake up in the morning and dive in to work. But it’s a luxury. It’s it’s it’s an exception to like, have that moment to spend time with someone in the morning and have that cup of coffee and, you know, have that diner breakfast. I think that’s such a luxury.
Alexis Kletjian [00:28:46] That is I wake up in the morning and I come to my dining room table, which I use liberally as my own desk. I’ve got stuff strewn all across it. And I sit here and I have my coffee. I look out at the view, I can see the horses, I can see the dogs. And I just think, what is the day have for me? It’s such a luxury for me to be able to decide what is my day going to be.
Piper Klemm [00:29:11] Yes, I love that. And I appreciate that so much. And I think that that’s of all the all the sacrifices that I have to make, you know. Having my own business and being separated from from so many other traditional things. I think that that that’s a luxury that makes it worth it at some level.
Alexis Kletjian [00:29:29] Mm hmm. So many compromises in life.
Piper Klemm [00:29:34] So let’s talk a little bit about your your jewelry business. Your website and Instagram are the destination for good luck charms, talismans and, you know, different, different design pieces. How did you get into jewelry and what did it mean to you before you started creating it? And then how did that change after you started creating it?
Alexis Kletjian [00:29:59] So I went to a fashion design school in Boston, and there was an antique jewelry store in the adjacent brownstone. And I would go in there and I would visit them and I would learn about the stories that each piece had, and I would make purchases for myself on layaway, of course, because as a student, I couldn’t afford to purchase those pieces. But they were so lovely and they took the time to chat with me and educate me. And I believe in treating yourself to whatever you want in life. So that was early on for me. And then in 2011, I began designing jewelry for myself because I, I was I didn’t see anything that I loved out there in the stores. So I designed what I wish that I owned. And I’m really not into traditional jewelry. I wanted something unique, something that no one else had. And antique jewelry became an obsession and just that wonderful education of our eras, of the magic of the bygone eras. You know, just that these pieces, they they hold your power and they house your secrets? And I have so many stories to tell, stories that will never know or hold memories that we cherish and we can pass down to other people. And I just I loved that, the whole storytelling of it. And I love to share whatever I am passionate about. So it moved out of hobby territory when I began creating pieces for other people, and then people started referring, referring me and my social network grew and I just kept reinvesting in myself. I kept trying new styles. I ended up moving to Pennsylvania in the heart of horse country where I am now, and ultimately full circle right back where I started like 12 years ago with talismans. It has just been a beautiful evolution, a lot of emotional growth, and I just enjoy being in the constant flow of ideas and energy and in people. Jewelry can bring people together much like horses.
Piper Klemm [00:32:10] Absolutely. And, you know, I love that that it evolves so organically because I think, you know, that being that transition from being creative as a hobby to being creative for a living, I mean, it’s such a difficult transition to to try to navigate in that. Yeah, I always say about writing that I really at this point, I’m writing when I’m inspired or have something to say. So writing is like very easy for me. But I on the flip side, like writing on assignment is like harder for me than ever. Like, it’s like a professional writer sits down and writes, you know, I, I have my writing is in the hobbyist territory right now because we have so many great writers on staff. We have so many people who write better than I do on staff, and then I only write what I’m inspired, which is like. How almost a hobbyist creates. And then when it becomes a business, it’s there’s so many more things wrapped up in every design and it’s there’s so much more mental energy to organize yourself.
Alexis Kletjian [00:33:18] But I have noticed that when you do write, it is so unbelievably beautiful. I feel it in my soul and it’s so pure. So you write when you’re moved to write and you write exactly what you’re feeling and you put that on the page and that is a gift.
Piper Klemm [00:33:37] Well, thank you. And I do think that’s the luxury of of both putting that putting the time in to learn my craft and then and having the luxury to write when I’m inspired and not needing to produce content until I’m burned out every day.
Alexis Kletjian [00:33:53] Yeah, burnout is a real thing.
Piper Klemm [00:33:57] So I have to I have to tell you that I lose a lot of things. I travel a lot- I’m very disorganized. And so I had recently just lost my engagement ring, which other people found which I hadn’t even known. I lost it, so I wasn’t stressed about it at all.
Piper Klemm [00:34:18] Other people found it before I realized that I lost it.
Piper Klemm [00:34:23] But this had happened like a number of times. And then it came time for needing a wedding ring. And it just sounded so overwhelming because I already lost my engagement ring so many times and I was totally overwhelmed by the whole wedding situation. And so I was like, I was like, Oh my gosh, I can’t do another ring. And so my husband just at my request, just gave me the engagement ring again at the wedding. Cause I was like, I can’t just have more things right now.
Piper Klemm [00:34:56] I just can’t do it. It’s a very Piper story. So I’ve just been wearing my engagement ring or not. Or losing it. You know, for the past, I don’t know how many years I’ve been married, like, five or six years. And so. But over the time, like, here and there, I’ve toyed with the thought of getting a wedding ring. And then it never it never actually occurred. And so then this year it was a big year. So my husband actually ordered me one of your ring to be my wedding ring.
Alexis Kletjian [00:35:33] Oh, I didn’t know that was your wedding ring!
Piper Klemm [00:35:36] Yeah. So I’ve been wearing it as my wedding ring. And it is so beautiful.
Piper Klemm [00:35:39] I’ve gotten so many compliments on it. I haven’t even lost it yet.
Piper Klemm [00:35:44] Which is amazing.
Alexis Kletjian [00:35:46] Yeah. Don’t lose it. That’s. That’s the lucky star ring. You’re not supposed to lose it.
Piper Klemm [00:35:50] It’s been very lucky. I haven’t lost it yet.
Piper Klemm [00:35:53] And it is so beautiful and it is so comfortable to wear. I mean, it’s so thoughtfully designed. It is so comfortable to wear. It is so unique. I love having something that’s so unique that, you know, I don’t feel like other people have are wearing something similar. And it’s actually been fun. And like, I just I get overwhelmed a bit by fashion because it’s not exactly where my brain goes and it just seems like a lot of pressure sometimes. And this this piece has had like a marked impact on my mood. It’s been cool.
Alexis Kletjian [00:36:28] Oh, wow. Thank you for sharing that. I love that. That’s what it’s all about, right? That one piece that you can put on and and it inspires you, empowers you. If even if you lose it, though, like it doesn’t, it’s not going to be a bad omen. Okay. Like we can make you another one.
Piper Klemm [00:36:47] That was part of it too. I thought about that.
Alexis Kletjian [00:36:52] A tighter one.
Piper Klemm [00:36:56] So. Will you describe some of some of the unique necklaces and different things that that you’ve created. And and what are some of the things that inspire them?
Alexis Kletjian [00:37:06] Oh, my gosh. That that is like a huge question. I have made so many things. And it’s interesting that, you know, 12 years later, I am like right back full circle with the original things I’ve I’ve designed. The shield and the ring that you own are like the first two things I ever designed. And I still make them today and I still love them and I own them personally. And that’s what’s important to me, is would I own it myself? Would I wear it myself? If the answer is no, I have to then think like, But what does that mean? That doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I’m not into color. I love diamonds. And as much as I don’t like a traditional jewelry piece, when I do create a piece like the horseshoe necklaces, they have to be classic. They have to stand the test of time. At the end of the day, they have to be worth more than the sum of their parts. You’re talking about jewelry. You’re talking about people’s emotions, their stories, their love, their triumph, their sadness. I take all of that into consideration when I make a piece. Is she going to be wearing this when she jumps that fence, when she clears a new height, when she goes to that show? If it breaks when she goes over that fence and she still has it, when she clears the ground, it’s hanging from her neck. We can repair it. It’s okay that these pieces take you through those moments in life. So I love to create things with diamonds because they’re not soft and they can they can take a hint. They they can take you through a circuit and they’re still going to shine and be beautiful if you don’t wash it every single day. I love when people tell me I don’t take the pieces off like, that’s great. But if it’s turquoise or moonstone, please take it off. Like, it depends what it is. There’s special pieces and there’s everyday pieces. And I sometimes just go down a rabbit hole. I will find a gemstone. And if I hold the gemstone, it’s unique and I can see the finished piece. I know that I should take that gemstone home and give it the life it wants to have. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if I can see a finished piece, I was meant to pick that piece up, create the piece and be the custodian of it until it moves to its next home. You know, we don’t really own anything. It’s all borrowed, and we get to enjoy it while we’re here. And I just love to play, you know, in that in that realm. So the shields are like the protection for adults, like the grounding piece. I was inspired to make the shields through a museum exhibit and at the Met arms and armor. I went to the arms and armor installation and the ornate weaponry. It’s just this exquisite armor that has been worn in battle. And then they had these mounted warriors. I just felt transported to another lifetime. And when you think about all the ways that you need to protect your innermost self and what’s around your projection field. Not only that, but the stories that other people are trying to tell you about yourself. It’s just a lot. And I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a piece of jewelry that was sort of like your personable and impenetrable shield to bounce anything off that’s coming towards you? And so I’m coming back to.
Alexis Kletjian [00:40:40] That with my collections. And I think that they pair really well with the equestrian theme.
Piper Klemm [00:40:49] Absolutely. And sometimes we just need to glance at something to be, you know, reminded of a source of strength or.
Alexis Kletjian [00:40:57] Yeah.
Piper Klemm [00:40:58] Or a way to carry ourselves. I think. I think staring at your face, your own face in zoom is, like, so unhealthy for. All of us.
Alexis Kletjian [00:41:09] Yeah.
Piper Klemm [00:41:10] We’ve like, yeah, we’ve come into this world where we were so anxious and so self-conscious and so many things and anything we can kind of glance at or remind us that we have the power and we, we have the luck of the horseshoe or anything like that, you know, any, any piece that. That makes us sit a little straighter, have a little more confidence, is just good for everyone right now.
Alexis Kletjian [00:41:37] Yeah. And it’s fun, right? It’s fun to get something new.
Piper Klemm [00:41:45] Absolutely. It’s rejuvenating.
Alexis Kletjian [00:41:47] Mm hmm. Yeah. Everyone needs a luxury for their soul. Like I said, whether it’s tangible or sometimes I just like to a window shop, too, because I love antiques. And so, I’m not going to go out and buy all of the things, but I’ll just go look at stuff or I’ll look at stuff on my computer from different sources. And I feel fulfilled. I’m like, okay, that was good. Thanks. I didn’t need to like, have it all in my house, but I feel good just even seeing it or it inspires the next piece.
Piper Klemm [00:42:15] Absolutely. So you have kind of unique a unique pet inspiration that we can all follow along with on your Instagram. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
Alexis Kletjian [00:42:26] Are you talking about timber?
Piper Klemm [00:42:28] I am talking about timber. Not many people have a timber.
Alexis Kletjian [00:42:33] So timber is. Well, she’s a doe now, but when we found her, she was a fawn and she was in our yard and she was a day old, orphaned. And I know she was a day old because she still had an ambilical cord attached to her and little her hooves were like little gummy bears. So she, you know, they would bend when she would stand and she had the wobbly knees. And I know she was orphaned, which a lot of people will say like, no, the mom leaves, leaves their little baby and doesn’t come back for 8 hours. 10 hours. And then when the fawn will bleat, which is crying, she will come back. But she didn’t know how to cry. And she was hiding and no deer ever approached her. My husband was out there with night vision, just watching, watching nothing day after day. And we were just we couldn’t leave her like that. She hadn’t gone to the bathroom either. So he had he was out there in the yard with his baby wipes in his back pocket, like stimulating her, making teaching her how to go to the bathroom bottle fed her. And again, we would put her outside and we try all over again. And no deer ever came for her. So it just broke our heart. And because she didn’t know how to cry, she couldn’t call. They didn’t know where she is. And they don’t have a scent because the mother hides them with their own scent. But she was born in a rainstorm. So we took her in and we raised her with our dogs. And when she became around three months, we were like, okay, it’s time for you to be wild. We taught her how to forage on a leash so that when we did release her, she knew like, This is grass. These are these are trees, these are good spots. And she had instincts because she’s wild. And the day we released her, we all were out on the deck and we’re like, okay, here you go. Her, you know, she was house trained, but she had a harness on so that if she ran away, she wouldn’t be able to survive on her own if she ran away. So we took the harness off everything. Here you go. Be wild. And she took off like a bat out of hell and ran away from us. And we were like, Oh, okay, bye. And then minutes later, she came bounding back, like, full of joy. And from that moment on, she’s been completely wild. And she comes back several times a day. And just this week is the first time that she’s spent extended periods of time away. But she comes home and she wants comfort.
Piper Klemm [00:45:12] That’s amazing. And. And yeah. And you have pictures of her, you know, sleeping on your couch and playing with your dogs.
Alexis Kletjian [00:45:24] We think it’s our greatest accomplishment in life, right? That we took a wild animal, made sure she survived, thrived. And then still she chooses us. She comes home for a brushing. She likes fruit. She thinks my husband is the greatest thing ever. And when the raspberries supply runs out and I’m giving her a treat like she kicks me, I’m just so low on the totem pole in her life.
Piper Klemm [00:45:58] So where can people find jewelry? Where can they follow along with the timber story? Where can people find, you.
Alexis Kletjian [00:46:07] They can find me on Instagram or through my website at alexiskletjian.com.
Piper Klemm [00:46:13] Amazing. Well, Alexis, thank you so much for joining us.
Alexis Kletjian [00:46:16] Thank you for having me. It was fun.
Piper Klemm [00:47:58] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit theplaidhorse.com. You can find show notes at theplaidhorse.com/Listen. Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of The Plaid Horse Magazine at theplaidhorse.com/subscribe. Please write and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!