Making art was inevitable for Molly Quinn, a Moab local who makes earrings and postcards under the business name Coyote Crafted.
Her beaded earrings are gorgeous, depicting the colors and images of the desert; her roadkill rattlesnake vertebrate hoop earrings are both edgy and creative; her postcards depict desert landscapes with whimsical drawings. Quinn said she started doing her art full-time one year ago in May 2022.
Now, the business is thriving. Her earrings are everywhere, on the ears of locals and in beloved shops like Moab Made and Adobe Garden Apothecary (she also updates her online shop a few times a year). Quinn always liked creating art—her former career as a research scientist and raft guide led her to a lot of inspirational landscapes, she said—and the shift from making art for fun to making art for profit was a large one. But she always aims to share her love of the desert in the art she makes, she said.
“What I’m trying to capture is the feeling I get from being in the desert: When you’re just staring out into the canyon-filled landscape and it’s just so beautiful that your brain can’t even comprehend it,” Quinn said. “You realize that you’re so small, but yet you’re connected to everything. That’s the feeling I draw when I’m creating.”
Quinn learned about beadwork in fall 2021. She had already been making hammered jewelry—she hammers all the hoops for the rattlesnake vertebrate earrings—and was trying her hand at digital art. But she was quickly overwhelmed by all the options, she said: the color options, the line weight options, the sizing, every choice needed to create a drawing. Making beaded earrings gave her a set number of colors and a set medium.
Plus, she loved being able to make wearable art.
“It was the perfect way to express my love for the desert,” Quinn said. “And being able to make an image that you can then wear as jewelry is just a connection I like between art and expression.”
Her beaded earrings depict familiar images like prickly pear cacti, moonflowers, and ravens (those were done in a collaboration with another local artist, Pine Bones), but they also depict geometric shapes with desert colors like oranges and greens and turquoise.
The earring pairs range from two to four inches long, made with hundreds of beads. Quinn sketches her designs on a grid, which allows her to visualize each bead. With the sketching process and then the process of creating the earrings, each pair can take anywhere from an hour to six hours of work. Quinn will listen to audiobooks and podcasts while she works (one of her favorites, she said, is the Science Moab podcast).
The business hasn’t been without its challenges. Quinn said that in her previous work, she thrived on having set schedules and to-do lists: specific itineraries for raft trips or specific data points to collect. Now, she makes her own schedule and has to find the creative flow every day, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike. But it’s absolutely worth it, she said.
“I’m in awe everyday that I get to do this,” Quinn said. “I love every part of it, even the hard parts. It’s empowering to realize that I can do this. My favorite parts are just seeing the joy that my work brings to people … I’m not creating just for myself, I’m creating to connect us all to each other and to our landscape.”
You can follow Quinn’s work on her website, www.coyotecrafted.com, and on Instagram (@coyotecrafted) and Facebook (@coyotecraftedmoab). 5% of sales are donated to regional nonprofits.