Monday, May 20, 2019
Moon Shine Boutique Offers Locals’ Gifts to the Tourists
Erica Thorson finds a plethora of fun pillows in the back room.
Saturday, February 23, 2019


Leah Merklinghaus decided Sun Valley could use an artist’s co-op a few years after moving to the Wood River Valley from Seattle.

So, in 2016 she opened Contemporary Cottage on Hailey’s Main Street with a passel of artists and craftsmen selling everything from unique bird houses to her own T-shirts and towels imprinted with Sun Valley images.

The gift shop proved so successful and the waitlist of artists wanting to take part grew so long that she began searching around for a location for a second shop. She found it in a storefront just off Ketchum’s Main Street on Sun Valley Road that until recently housed Ketchum Pawn.

Jennifer Biondi has turned ski tips into shot glass holders, bottle openers in which the cap drops into a Mason jar and more.

She named it the Moon Shine Boutique at the suggestion of Tara Bell, who provides stoke knit hats for the new co-op.

“It turns out back in the day that this was the red-light area of Ketchum with brothels and all,” said Merklinghaus. “So, the name fits historically.”

The shop features a variety of items from hand-painted signs touting “Just Sitting Here on the Corner of Awesome and Bombdiggety” to perfumes, throw pillows, cutting boards, candles and hoodies boasting the words “Ski Bum.”

“I like that so much is repurposed and I like that it promotes local artists,” said Erica Thorson.

Elise Stelling couldn’t stay out of her mother’s jewelry box as a child.

Artists take turns manning the store so no one has to tending the cash register seven days a week.

Jennifer Biondi, one of the craftspeople featured in the new store, started out making art and functional items like bottle openers from recycled bicycle parts. Now, she’s expanded into items made of repurposed ski gear, given the fact that Sun Valley is as much a ski town as a mountain bike town.

“The shop has only been open for a short time and it’s already becoming the local place to shop, the place to shop for locally produced gifts,” she said. “The price points are unbelievable. And you can find something here for anyone, whether guys, gals or children without having to go to Twin.”

Twenty-four-year-old Amanda Stelling is showing photographs that she’s manipulated with a chemical process to come up with otherworldly landscapes.

Leah Merklinghaus has found a niche with artist’s co-ops in Hailey and now Ketchum.

Her mother Elise Stelling is selling her hand-crafted sterling silver and copper wire jewelry embellished with gemstones and beads at the new shop.

Stelling learned the craft of metalsmithing after moving to Sun Valley in 1981 and soon found herself casting 14k Sun Valley Sun pendants. She now makes sterling silver lacy rings—just like snowflakes, there are no two alike. And she works in precious metal clay, using Idaho sage as a texture.

“I’ve been making jewelry since I was 12—I sold my first wire-wrapped bracelet to the Avon lady,” said Stelling.


Sandra Forster and Erica Thorson check out vintage remix cashmere sweaters.

The shop features Leah Merklinghaus’ Flying Squirrel clothing items; Julie Molema’s JAM Design scarves and clothing items; Kira Gray’s Wood River Naturals; Jennifer Biondi’s repurposed ski and bicycle items; Elise Stelling’s jewelry; Tara Bell’s stoke hats; Kessy Heath’s Crown&Cottage items; Nancy Ferries’ Famous Potatoes gifts; Jean Rosser’s repurposed antiques; JoAnn McNamara’s Snow Bird items; Lizz Haggerty’s Lizz Design, and Susan Rahmann’s Rahmen. Also showing: Amanda Stelling’s photographs.


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