My name is Bailey and I am the creator behind Montana Clay Creations. I am born and raised in Montana, and have lived here my entire life. When I graduated from high school I moved to Missoula, a college town and a blue island in a red sea. I've lived in Missoula for six years, and spent most of that time in school. This last spring I graduated with my Masters in Political Science, and my undergraduate background is in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Missoula is an incredibly special place to me. It is surrounded by mountains and nestled in the most beautiful valley. Its two hours from Glacier National Park, where my partner grew up, and sometimes less than five minutes from wilderness trails. When I was younger, I never appreciated living here. I felt stuck, and I thought I was missing out on opportunities. The truth is, living in Montana, like any other place, you get out of it what you put in. I began to appreciate this place when I began investing in it. Now I can't imagine leaving.
Montana Clay Creations was born out of boredom and loneliness, honestly. The summer of 2019 I was a recent graduate and most of my friends had moved away for work or other opportunities. I was waiting to start graduate school in the fall and working at a local tap house. My partner and I had just moved into the teeniest studio on the edge of town. I have a background in art and painting was my usual hobby, but there wasn't any room on the walls for more artwork. I did some browsing on Pinterest for different kinds of art that I could teach myself, and I decided on jewelry making. I had some friends in Missoula doing metal-smithing and precious stone work, and so I chose to go in a different direction with polymer clay. I didn't know anything about the medium, and I spent months teaching myself how to use it.
I didn't even consider selling my work for a very long time- I was mostly wearing them myself or giving them to friends as gifts. But over the first few months of making, I had lots of people ask me where I got my earrings, if I was planning on selling them, and encouraging me to do so. It wasn't until I was 3 months into grad school and had to quit my job bartending that I really considered it. My partner was in between jobs at the time, and my TA stipend wasn't really cutting it- our wifi getting turned off was the final straw that pushed me to try to sell my stuff.
The response was immediately overwhelming. Within a week I had made enough to pay my bills and a month of rent. I was so overjoyed, I hardly knew how to react! From that point on, Montana Clay Creations was born. Since then, it has blossomed into one of my most treasured accomplishments. It means so much to me to be able to decorate your ears and have the platform that I do now.
If you're new to Montana Clay Creations and thinking about buying a pair, know that each purchase you make goes helping me pay bills and my rent, but also goes back into the Missoula community. And that's a pretty cool thing, I think.