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Prairie Grass and Wildflower Jewelry by Gayle Dowell

Updated on June 22, 2017
Gayle Dowell profile image

Gayle Dowell is a jewelry and watercolor artist. She currently teaches art to a homeschool co-op highschool class.

Inspiration for my Jewelry, the Flint Hills Prairies of Kansas

I grew up in Oklahoma. I've lived in Kansas now for 19 years. The Kansas prairie is my backyard. I can wake every morning and take a walk across the prairie and find new grasses and wildflowers awakening to a new day. I go out throughout the year during the different seasons and see the transformation that takes place on the prairie. Time is lapsing, and I feel a sense of urgency to capture these fleeting moments and plant life in my jewelry creations. This urgency gave way to the creation of a new line of jewelry, Kansas Prairie Grass and Wild Flower Jewelry by Gayle Dowell. Come and walk with me across the prairie and see for yourself the beauty of nature.

All photos taken by Gayle Dowell

See more of my jewelry at Gayle Dowell - Prairie Jeweler.

Butterfly Milkweed on the Kansas Prairie

When I look across the prairie in early June, it is as if the sun has come down and kissed the earth. I can see spots of bright orange contrasting with the green of the grasses. Butterflies and other insects are attracted to this neon orange color of the Butterfly Milkweed, and the air is abuzz with the sounds of busy insects. This has to be one of my favorite of the prairie wildflowers of Kansas and one that makes a wonderful jewelry pendant.

Click to purchase seeds: 30 ORANGE GLORY BUTTERFLY WEED MILKWEED Asclepias Tuberosa Flower Seeds


Butterfly Milkweed Jewelry

Butterfly Milkweed Jewelry
Butterfly Milkweed Jewelry

Kansas Prairie Grasses and Wildflower Field Guide

A good field guide is a great companion to a walk and study of plants on the prairie. There are so many grasses and flowers that it is hard to keep them all straight, but with enough time and a great field guide, it can be an enjoyable journey of learning.

Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas: A Field Guide
Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas: A Field Guide

This is a great resource that has clear photos of each of the grasses and flowers found in Kansas. Information on each grass and flower is detailed with each photo.


Fetid Marigold

Many may consider the Fetid Marigold a weed as these flowers grow in disturbed soils of the prairie. Although not much to look at, they do add a unique sense of beauty as I walk across these flowers and they give off a strong marigold smell. I love these flowers for the unique texture they give to my jewelry creations.

Fetid Marigold Jewelry

Fetid Marigold Jewelry
Fetid Marigold Jewelry

Riverbank Grape

When I go out on a hike, I'm always looking for plants that have great texture to use in my jewelry designs. I came across this Riverbank Grape on the Konza Prairie in May. It has wonderful texture right before the flowers bloom.

Riverbank Grape Jewelry - Handmade by Gayle Dowell

Click thumbnail to view full-size

American Germander

Hiding in the thicket of a wooded area on our property, American Germander grows strong and upright reaching toward the hot Kansas sun. Small delicate flowers growing in clusters along a thick heavy stem, these made beautiful impressions in metal.

American Germander Jewelry

American Germander Jewelry
American Germander Jewelry

Yellow Sweet Clover

Abundant around our home this past year, Yellow Sweet Clover covers areas of earth in a blanket of pastel yellow. I captured the buds of this plant in metal before it flowered in June, making beautifully textured pieces.

Yellow Sweet Clover Jewelry

Yellow Sweet Clover Jewelry
Yellow Sweet Clover Jewelry
Clasping Coneflower
Clasping Coneflower

Clasping Coneflower

The clasping coneflower has to be one of my favorite of the prairie flowers. Their petals droop to their sides as if straining upward to reach the sun. Full of beautiful yellow, oranges and reds, they give a flash of color in late spring to late summer.

Clasping Coneflower Bracelet

Clasping Coneflower Bracelet
Clasping Coneflower Bracelet
Asters before bloom
Asters before bloom


These asters were photographed in September right before blooming on the prairies of Kansas. Asters come in many varieties and many different colors.

Asters Before Bloom

Asters Before Bloom
Asters Before Bloom

Asters Mid-Winter Cuff Bracelet

Asters Mid-Winter Cuff Bracelet
Asters Mid-Winter Cuff Bracelet

Have You Walked the Prairies of Kansas?

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    • Gayle Dowell profile imageAUTHOR

      Gayle Dowell 

      4 years ago from Kansas

      Thank you Margaret. I got into metal clay largely because of your wonderful how-to articles. So you can say that it is all your fault! :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Gayle, you know I'm a huge fan of your beautiful botanical jewelry. Thanks for sharing more of your inspiring work!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow! I haven't seen this type of jewelry before. Beautiful and unique. I especially LOVE the cuff bracelet!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      Fantastic jewelry creations. Hard to select just one favorite. I love the spirit and design of your works of art. The yellow sweet clover earrings are exquisite.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These are amazing! So simple but I love the detail.

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 

      6 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Not in Kansas but I love seeing my local native prairie flowers on walks in my area. Beautiful jewelry!

    • ofdifferentsorts profile image

      Paul Franciskato 

      6 years ago from Junction City, Kansas

      I live not very far from the Kansas Prairie and occasionally like to hike the Konza Prairie near Manhattan. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is nice too!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      What beautiful jewelry you are creating. I think it is so important to be in touch with nature and to take time to appreciate every little wildflower and the beauty of grass seed heads. I try to capture those with my camera.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These natural pieces are amazing.. I bet they would be amazing with lacquer as well.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a beautiful jewelry! Thank you for sharing.

    • christylsalas profile image


      6 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Your jewelry is gorgeous!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful jewelry, I especially love the yellow sweet clover earrings!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yes I have, and I enjoy it every time. Well done. Gorgeous pieces.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      Wow! Your jewelry is really beautiful!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      nice jewelries? what are they made of? are they made with clay or metals or metal clays?

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Your jewelry is beautiful! You've captured the plants so well!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      No - I live in Colorado and we also have some prairie. I LOVE your jewelry designs. Well done.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      6 years ago from Iowa

      Really lovely jewelry. SO lovely to see nature inspired works.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What lovely pieces of jewelry - I can't say I've walked through Kansas, but I'd love to. I wish I had more places to be inspired by nature, but there's not a whole lot where I am, and what there is, is mostly swamp.

      Not that the greenery isn't lovely, just doesn't inspire me too much. :)


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