Like many Tahoe locals, two decades ago Revive Tahoe owner Allie Broadhurst came to South Lake Tahoe for the snow, stayed for the summer and never left, discovering she was an artist at heart.
In 2004, she unleashed her creative spirit when her grandfather-in-law gave her a box of copper flashing. She acquired a ball-peen hammer and made three copper bracelets. She shared with me a photo of her first copper cuff laying on a piece from the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
“The first image is my very first cuff ever made and still my favorite. The patina was a mixture of a small amount of salt from the flats then polished off to resemble the mountains and sealed in,” she says.
A few years later when she started tinkering around with reclaimed copper, her family gave her an air compressor for Mother’s Day. She used that along with a siphon hose to sandblast the Keep Tahoe Blue logo onto a wineglass. As she kept honing her craft, her friends and family kept asking for bracelets, earrings and engraved glassware until she realized that she had created a business.
That same year, she showcased her goods at the Zawadisha Holiday Bazaar, which raises money for a fund that provides loans to Kenyan women. She participated in the annual Made in Tahoe Festival in Olympic Valley and started selling her jewelry and/or etched pieces at GaiaLicious Boutique, On Tahoe Time and the Landing Resort & Spa in South Lake Tahoe, Trunk Show in Tahoe City, and Blue Wolf Studios in Kings Beach and Reno, Nev.
“I’m a rambling artist and a collector of tools. I’ve never had any formal training. I’m just figuring things out through the process and some things stuck, so I made it into a business,” Broadhurst says.
“I’m a pretty earth-friendly person and I don’t like to use chemicals in my daily life,” she says of her environmentally safe practices.
To make her jewelry, Broadhurst takes on unusable copper from electricians, roofing companies and other contractors and then she cuts, hammers and refinishes it into unique wearable art.
“It comes to me pretty gnarly from the aging and then I work with that by cleaning and sealing it off,” she says.
In her process, Broadhurst will make a recipe of salt and vinegar to create a patina finish and then soak the material, spray it or suspend it to get a desired look. Her copper comes to her in all colors which she works with — sometimes she uses tobacco to give it a blackened, antique feel.
To create her etched glassware, Broadhurst uses two processes: one in which she sandblasts an image onto the product and another in which she uses a diamond bit tool to hand-cut images. Her biggest challenge she says is to stay inspired: “I’m constantly learning, adjusting and rotating my collection.”
She loves to travel and gets inspiration from nature. On a recent weekend trip, she and her family went to Mount Shasta to watch her son compete in a mountain-bike race; she got some ideas for her next project of etched olive-oil bottles to be sold at Pineapple in Tahoe City. She also gets inspiration from the material itself whether it’s reclaimed copper or something she finds in her backyard.
“The definition of ‘revive’ is to bring new life or energy to. For me that means bring new life to the copper and let the copper jewelry bring new energy to you,” she says. “The ‘Tahoe’ in Revive Tahoe is where I live and work, but also the place where a lot of my inspiration comes from. Walking, being out in nature, living in Tahoe — we have everything here — the golden-hour sunsets with the light coming through the trees ….”
Her favorite part about being a business owner is who she gets to meet, from visitors who are wearing her jewelry to repeat clients who keep coming back for more.
“I just want to keep spreading the love of my jewelry, creating new jewelry and staying inspired,” she says. | revivetahoe.com