When Sandra Ley moved to Arizona for a new job, she was worried. How could this seemingly barren, beige desert landscape be a source of inspiration?
"Ever since I was a child, I've been drawn to fashion and the decorative arts -- furniture, textiles and jewelry, in particular," explained Ley. "Though I've never had skills as an artist myself, I have great reverence for creative people, especially those whose creativity is inspired by the land and history in which they live."
These passions led her to earn a degree in art history. Her first position was with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the Decorative Arts department, then she worked with the Museum of Decorative & Propaganda Arts in Miami.
From 1992-2002, she lived a romantic life in Vicenza, Italy working as a translator and copywriter for the gold jewelry industry (and exploring any artisan bottega she could find).
After moving back to the US after her adventures abroad, Sandra earned a Master's in Library & Information Science, circling back to her passions and accepting a position as an academic Fashion & Visual Arts Librarian. Her new location? Tucson, Arizona. And she didn't know what to think.
"I thought this dry, dusty place was the end everything that was beautiful about my life in Italy. It took a while for me to stop feeling sorry for myself, until I finally set out to discover the beauty of the Southwest," said Ley. "And did I ever!"
After spending time in this beautiful part of the world, Sandra Ley discovered the vibrant, cultural wellspring that is the southwest United States. The colors, textures, fashion, history, cuisine, and biodiversity spoke to her and became an unexpected source of inspiration.
Ley, the ever-evolving cultural librarian and fashion academic, started a blog named Wilder Southwest, the "grown up guide" to southwest life and style.
"The Southwest aesthetic, at its best, reflects an indomitable spirit — a wild, rugged, sparse beauty. Seeking out what is still wild in the Southwest, and the creativity she has inspired, have become something of an obsession for me," explained Ley. "Wilder Southwest my way to share everything beautiful I've found with the whole world -- Fashion, jewelry, travel, cuisine, shopping, interior design, film, music and literature. And I'm only getting started!"
I highly recommend keeping up with this awesome blog - Sandra Ley is a fabulous writer, photographer, and is so talented at capturing the desert's magic! Last year she was kind enough to spotlight Rosa Kilgore Jewelry.