Alison Jean Cole

Your name | Your city | Your brand
Alison Jean Cole | Portland, OR

Do you have a secret swimming hole (or favorite)? tell us about it.
Just on the backside of Death Valley there is a crystal clear blue pool hidden among the creosote and cholla. This secret pond is surrounded by reeds and cattails. The water bubbles up from a natural spring under the desert floor and is ringed by blue and purple mountains and fiery desert skies. A dip here at sunset is like no other.

What is your go-to picnic fare?
I always travel with a big jar of cranberries and toasted pepitas at my side. I spend a lot of time on the road-to-nowhere and my go-to lunch is soy eggs with cold ramen and tahini miso dressing and lots of cilantro. I prep road trip food ahead of time and I make a big batch of turmeric and ginger juice with honey to drink. And of course cheap beer cans for the end of the day!

Describe your dream summer ootd (outfit of the day).
I’ve ALWAYS wondered what “ootd” meant! Now I know. 🙂 Ideally I’m in my boyscout shorts and fly fishing vest. I don’t fish. I use all the handy pockets to stash rocks and minerals in so I don’t have to carry a bucket when I’m out collecting.

Desert Island music?
Johnny & Santo, duh! Or the Hawaiian lap steel OG Sol Hoopii. If you have the delight of being stranded on a desert island, there’s nothing more appropriate to listen to for eternity under your lonesome palm tree.

What reading material clutters your nightstand?
I’ve been slowly working my way through a dense thousand page volume on lady miners in the American West. I supplement this slow read with books on atomic bomb history, desert history, and anything written by William Vollmann.

What’s got you on your soapbox lately?
My mother was an anti-nuclear activist in the 80’s and an ardent member of W.A.N.D. She passed the torch on to me. I am deeply concerned about nuclear proliferation in the U.S. and abroad. No one in our generation seems to worry about a radioactive future and I feel astonished that such a horrific threat goes largely unaddressed. Nuclear weapons affect all life on Earth!

Tell us about something you recently learned.
I learned how to file taxes as a self employed business woman and it was THRILLING.

Current obsession?
I’m obsessed with fraudulent rocks. There’s a lot of scam material floating around the rock & gem world, and the chances that you own a fake rock or gemstone are very high! My current favorite is “rainbow calsilica”. The makers staged a fake mine in “Mexico” and forged authenticity documents from ghost geologists. This prized and rare material commands a very high price. But it’s actually just sculpy clay treated with resin.

Who is your art crush?
I am in love with the work of Native lapidary artisans from the Kewa Pueblo in New Mexico. Their use of color and inlay styles are like no other. Mary Tafoya and Daisy & Avelino Reano are my personal heroes and I collect their work. It’s so special to me I can’t bear to wear it!

Find out more
Instagram: @alisonjeancole (for my rock cuts, mineral finds, and flat tires)