Connecting with Art By Liz Arnquist

Beth Millner Jewelry Brand Ambassador Liz Paddleboarding

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I had the opportunity to experience many world-class museums. My dad and I loved the Science and Industry Museum. I wanted to touch things, build things, and see how things work. That's how I experience the world, by becoming immersed in it.  My mom and sister loved the Art Institute. I'll be honest, I didn't get it. I didn't feel a connection to pieces from long ago, of places I have never been. I am almost embarrassed to admit, I didn't develop an appreciation for art until moving out west. It started with an artist who created watercolor paintings of local mountains. I was in awe. I instantly felt transported to my own adventures on that mountain.

For the first time in my life, I experienced a deep connection with a piece of art. During my time in Washington, that appreciation expanded to pottery and jewelry. It was around the same time as the pivotal painting experience that I made my first trip back to Marquette after graduating from Northern Michigan University. My college roommate and I were looking for a way to take a piece of the U.P. with us, as we had both moved away from the Upper Peninsula in the years following graduation. She decided on a tattoo⁠—Marquette has some of the most talented and professional tattoo artists I've ever met! That didn't feel quite right to me, but perhaps it was my inability to commit or my aversion to pain. It was then, I remembered Beth Millner. That funky little shop on Washington St in downtown. As an NMU student, I had always admired her work. I pulled up the website and as I scrolled through the pages I experienced the same feeling I had when I first saw the watercolor paintings of Washington mountains. It was like every piece, every little work of art, transported me back to Marquette. Jumping off of Black Rocks, watching the northern lights dance over Wetmore Landing, the feeling you get watching the sunrise above Lake Superior from the top of Sugarloaf. I was absolutely in awe of Beth's ability to encapsulate not only the natural beauty of the Yoop, but also the emotions and experiences of anyone who is lucky enough to spend time there. As someone who was learning to develop an appreciation of artistic endeavors, I was blown away.
Mini Upper Peninsula Pendant by Beth Millner Jewelry
After combing the website, I knew how I would take a piece of the U.P. with me: the Mini Upper Penisula Pendant. In the two years since purchasing the pendant, I have literally worn it every day. Skiing, hiking, paddleboarding, camping; you name it, this pendant has been with me. It is a true testament to the craftsmanship of Beth Millner pieces that it still looks as good as it did the day I got it. My heart fills with joyand sometimes a good laugh when people try to guess what the U.P. is (I've heard Batman, a trombone, and a lock)whenever someone asks about my necklace. I am happy to share that it is not only my favorite place but made by one of my favorite artists. It may have taken me almost two decades to connect with art, but I am constantly awed by the creative talent of those around meespecially those like Beth who manage to transform the beauty of the natural world into a wearable piece. 
Mini Upper Peninsula Pendant by Beth Millner Jewelry