Words and photos by Kylie Fly.
When I first discovered Jillian Lukiwski and her stunning photography and jewelry, I was living on the little island of Hawaii in the middle of the sea and far away from the Idaho land I grew up on. I was an ocean away from the alfalfa fields, the smell of autumn harvest, the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and wild horses roaming the desert. Idaho’s miles of river bordered by sage, striking bluffs and deep canyons slept in the memories of my mind. Jillian’s striking imagery and silversmith designs would teleport me home when I really needed it. It was a breath of fresh air—and so is she.
Jillian takes the scenic route to Snake River, a public park nearby her home in Idaho.
Jillian, a silversmith, photographer and writer married to a smokejumper firefighter named Robert, lives near the Snake River in Idaho. She runs the farm during growing season while Robert is away smoke jumping for about six months of the year. Jillian says of their home, “It’s beautiful, rugged, and wild. Hardly anyone lives here. We both really love the high desert, grasslands, and prairie.”
Pictured: DE LA VINA DOS SHORTY
As a Canadian married to a Californian, they both are drawn to places that aren’t so obviously beautiful to the natural eye. “Most people equate beauty in nature as the pristine snow-capped mountain. They need their beauty to be obvious so they can simply skirt around it and not submerge themselves in it. Well, the high desert is an obtuse sort of beauty. It’s slow to emerge. You have to be patient with it, coax it, wait for it to really open up for you and render itself exquisite,” Jillian explains.
“The best thing about the Teva brown boots is how easy they are to get on my feet. I like to slip into them and then pop out to check for chicken eggs or run apples to the horses. They’re a great every day, everywhere shoe,” Jillian says.
An essential part of Jillian’s farm uniform: her own handmade jewelry.
It’s true, Jillian’s appreciation for the landscape becomes deeper over time spent surrounded by it. Since moving to the US, her access to public land is as easy as stepping outside her front door. “I can drive to trailheads, I like to run from my front door, ride my horses out into space from the back gates of our property, and walk down the driveway to the river,” Jillian recounts of her everyday routines. “I consider that public land an extension of my living space, because it is.”
Farm chores: done and done. Robert and Jillian get cozy in the Teva Ember Moc.
The antler sheds on her fireplace were discovered while out bird hunting.
Jillian would be the first to admit that her life wasn’t planned out. “It just occurred to me. I kept making choices and eventually they led me to my husband, Robert, our lifestyle, and our farm. I’ve always been a dreamer.” She notes that one of she and Robert’s favorite things to do together is dream. They don’t believe in shortcuts, and that is evident when you visit their farm. It is beautifully maintained and designed both inside and out, with animals ranging from chickens, wild turkeys and ducks to horses, a tiny weiner dog, a sophisticated cat, and a few bird dogs that all roam freely.
“We have a shoes off policy in our home because this is a farm with lots of free range critters running around and there is literally poop everywhere,” Jillian says. “I love the mocs. So does Robbie. They’re perfect to slip into when we come inside, shuck off our boots, and step into the house onto our cold, hardwood floors. If I’m in the house I’m wearing them!”
At her home jewelry studio. Pictured: DE LA VINA DOS ALPINE LOW
For more than a decade, Jillian has been making handcrafted adornments out of natural stones and silver motifs inspired by the intermountain West.
Pictured: DE LA VINA DOS ALPINE LOW
When it comes to life on the farm and creating a home that you can be proud of—hunting, growing and raising your own food—one simple thing rings true. Work hard. Jillian sums it up plain and simply, “We just decide we want to do something, have something, or experience something. Then we simply work really hard and really honestly until those dreams come true. Then we come up with a new dream. We just hunker down and sweat and bleed and toil for it.”
Pictured: DE LA VINA DOS ALPINE LOW
Shop the styles featured in this story at TEVA.COM.