anthropology, arrowheads, Austin, cabins, Cherokee, conservancy, green homes, grey water, HCC, Hill Country Conservancy, JGuild Designs, Mason, ranch, ranch life, Reclaimed Space, repurposed material, Skype Interview, Texas, The Hump, Tonkawa
A few years ago I was introduced to a kick-back DJ and event conductor for a classic funk and soul Wednesday night in Austin appropriately called “Hump”. With passion for his music, Paco Davis hit it hard on the promoting and pulled the crowds despite the mid-week challenges. Among all the equipment and music geek-out talks, I was soo taken to see there was something else he was deeply in love with- Jenny Guild. Only thing- she lived in NY.
Fast forward three years and Jenny and Paco are happily married, living in Austin. It took some by-phone date nights and many trips between cities but somehow they made it. Things have changed a bit and they have both adjusted to living life closer with each other and even closer to the earth. Paco now works for a group called Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) who partners with private land owners to conserve unique and irreplaceable lands vulnerable to overdevelopment, allowing for proper land care and easement of conservancy. Jenny works in investments and finance by day while her artistic side churns at night. She has carried on her jewelry making love affair from NY to ATX, creating a line of precious stone jewelry called JGuild Designs. Recently I virtually sat down with them via Skype (<3 it!) to discuss their latest JenPac project, Shiloh Ranch, and Jenny’s earthly callings.
Just 9 months into purchasing their dream ranch, the couple has already made headway on making peace with the land starting with nursing it back into shape. Through overgrazing and farming on its unsuitable soils, Shiloh Ranch has had a rough life but Paco notes, “we want to restore it back to more of a native divers condition with more grasses, more food sources for the wildlife…we just want to make it healthier and a more inviting place for the wildlife.” Enjoying the serenity of the great outdoors has meant keeping a low footprint so not to disturb the habitat at Shiloh and in other places. Via the Reclaimed Space builder, they constructed green cabins using repurposed material and designed them to create intimate communal areas. They also use grey water which can go back into the ground and will not harm plant life.
They have also learned at bit of the history. Just as Jenny and Paco now seek to do, the land was once a gathering place for families and close friends. Prior to being colonized by German settlers, the land is suspected to have been Cherokee or Tonkawa grounds. They have found old flints and arrowheads in and around a rock midden, “a low, donut-shaped mound of heat-fractured rocks and other cooking debris that accumulated over time from many plant-baking episodes that took place in a baking pit in the center of the midden.” (Texas Beyond History) Because of the close proximity to the beautiful and essential river, Paco says, “that was a great place to be. [They had to] make great use of that resource and you can guarantee that any place along the river was a place that people spent a lot of time.”
Jenny talks about switching city life inspiration for the country. She had a big part in the building of her new “office”. She often works outside, relaxing and taking in all the bold colors and sounds around her. ”I pretty much have everything I need where I just have to take my torch out there and some supplies…so I have my own little studio on our porch.” She definitely plans on incorporating more of Shiloh and its anthropology into her work.
Aside from naturally pulling your look together, each JGuild Design is a conversation starter. Check out Jenny’s latest bold jewelry pieces inspired by arrowheads and mother earth here.