Aspire To Inspire

TERLINGUA’S FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH

As I mentioned in last week’s post, Terlingua Ghost town was one of my favorite stops on my Southwest Pilgrimage. There are so many things that make this place special, and the people who live there on the fringe are a big part of the mystery of the town. Big Bend is a place where you can go and completely check out of life and live in the present.  This is why people go there and never leave.  Terlingua Ghost town is filled with artists and hippies and people who wanted to get away and “do their own thing”. I’m fascinated by these types of wanderers and pioneers and I couldn’t get enough of their stories sitting down at the coffee shop below La Posada Milagro.

I spent as much time as I could at the coffee shop getting to know the locals, and in the process I was introduced to Paul Wiggins who has lived in Big Bend for over 35 years.  He went to Big Bend after attending Rice University, and like many others that visit, he never left.  He has been creating his one of a kind silver creations for over 20 years and I was seriously impressed when he first showed me a bracelet he was wearing.  His designs are extremely unique and I have never seen silver jewelry like this ever before.  There is a simplicity to his work that speaks volumes about him as a person and how he has lived his life.  He sand casts all of his creations and fabricates them all on his own, sometimes taking months to perfect his designs.  The integrity of each piece is remarkable and within each one, you understand what living on the fringe provides an artist: truth, solidarity and a unique perspective. Paul doesn’t create art for the purpose of popularity, money or success; he creates as an extension of himself and his truth.

img 1963 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

Silversmith Paul Wiggins

img 1921 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

An assortment of cuffs

img 1914 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

The silver concho belt is beyond amazing!

img 1902 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

I covet this belt!!

img 1935 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

Copper and silver pieces reflect his Texas roots

img 1955 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

This is a mini replication of a Native American canteen

img 1941 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

The shapes he creates are very unique

img 1929 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

Paul’s father’s life in the military has a major influence on his designs. This cuff is a favorite.

img 1951 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

The crosses are influenced by the local cemetary’s graves.

img 1907 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

Growing up during the Vietnam war has influenced his design

img 1960 e1371144831461 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

Such a unique piece, this one belongs to me!

img 1962 e1371144883864 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

Paul inscribes his logo, the year and “Terlingua” on every piece he creates giving each piece it’s own mark in history.

img 1970 TERLINGUAS FRONTIER ARTISAN: PAUL WIGGINS, SILVERSMITH   The Sche Report / Margaret Sche

Artisan Paul Wiggins

I feel so honored to own one of Paul’s designs and I’m excited to share his special work with the rest of the world in this post.  You currently can only buy Paul’s work directly from him in Big Bend.  He doesn’t have a website, he doesn’t have a cell phone, and no he actually doesn’t have email either.  That’s what living on the fringe is folks! If you would like to commission a piece from him, you can call him on his home phone (432) 371-2361.  In the meantime, I’m working on a plan to help him get into some stores so more people will be able to own one of his special pieces.

Thanks to my road dawg, Lindsay Lohden, for the beautiful photographs of Paul’s work.  You can follow her eye on instagram @lohdy.

1,772 Comments

  1. oldrsistr

    Those are beautiful — am especially enamored with those cuffs, similar to the work of my friend Billy Moore. What an opportunity to a talented and humble maker!

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