Laura Vietti – Works of Wyoming Gift n Gallery

Laura Vietti

I am a third generation Wyomingite and avid rock-collector. I grew up in Thermopolis, Wyoming where I learned to find my first fossils and haven’t stopped since. My love for fossils and rocks grew as I worked at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, then blossomed as I got my undergraduate degree in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming.

After graduating, I then took some time off from geology to learn about coffee and rainforests as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, but ultimately looped right back to rocks and ended up working with a rare Honduran opal.

After returning from the Peace Corps, I then worked as the first collections manager at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, and then moved on to complete my education in Paleontology by earning a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.

For my Ph.D., I studied how microbes degrade bones underwater to better understand how bones become fossilized. Soon after defending my dissertation, I was hired by the University of Wyoming for my dream job as the UW Geological Museum Collections Manager where I still works today.

 

As a Wyoming native with a passion for walking Wyoming’s prairie, I’m always on the hunt for rocks, fossils, and bones.  Naturally, I started thinking of ways to use my found treasures and started making earrings for myself and friends from a variety of mediums including bones, rocks, bullet casings, and fossils.

Recently, through my work as a paleontologist, I’ve entered the world of 3D scanning and printing fossils as a means for sharing our research specimens with the world. As I’ve become more comfortable with the technology and 3D printers, I’ve started to with making jewelry from tiny 3D prints of skull models. The detail on 3D prints, even tiny ones, is absolutely incredible.

Although I don’t sell earrings made from scans at my work, there’s a wonderful variety of models available on the internet I can customize and print just for this purpose. Everything I do is self-taught (thanks YouTube), along with help from my family and colleagues in the 3D printing world like the Innovation Wyrkshop (open to anyone!) here in Laramie, Wyoming.

I hope these designs give as much joy as they do to me when making them, and you can take a little bit of Wyoming home with you.