Jillian Lukiwski – Art and Adventure in the American West

Jillian Lukiwski, in the backcountry

Jillian Lukiwski is a writer, photographer, and silversmith who lives near the banks of the Snake River in south central Idaho. Her quiet confidence and deliberate approach to living have allowed Jillian to blaze her own trail, creating a rewarding career and an authentic life centered around Idaho’s unique landscape. When not working, Jillian and her husband Robert enjoy the western lifestyle from every imaginable angle—bird hunting with their german shorthair pointers, big game hunting, fishing, running, horseback riding, mountain biking, caring for their farm animals, and cultivating their land, to name a few.

Big western landscapes have always been an important part of Jillian’s life—her father worked for Canada’s National Park Service, so she was raised with a deep appreciation for the outdoors and adventure. From an early age, she was riding—and falling off of—horses, shadowing her father in the backcountry, and building a personal foundation of self-sufficiency and toughness. As a young woman, she applied that ingrained tenacity to writing, photography, and creating jewelry, and has since built a loyal following of admirers and customers around the world through her website, The Noisy Plume.

We had a fun conversation and managed to cover a wide range of interesting topics. We discussed her life path that eventually landed her in southeastern Idaho, and we chatted about the unique nature of that region. We talked about her creative process, how she’s been mostly self-taught in all of her art forms, and how she is able to manage the distractions of social media and the online world. We chatted about the importance of being uncomfortable, and how self-imposed physical and mental challenges can help to inoculate yourself against the inevitable difficulties of life. Jillian is a voracious reader, so we had a great discussion about books, as well as how reading has contributed to her success as a writer.  Be sure to check the episode notes for a full list of everything we discussed.

This was a fun and inspiring interview, and I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!

All photos courtesy of Jillian Lukiwski


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

2:50 – How Jillian describes her work
3:20 – Jillian’s home in Idaho
4:40 – How she ended up in southeastern Idaho
7:00 – Description of Pocatello and the surrounding landscape
9:10 – Growing up in Canada’s National Parks
10:50 – Childhood in the outdoors
13:00 – Lessons i toughness learned from her father
16:40 – Jillian’s university experience
18:50 – Jillian’s drive to be her own boss
19:45 – Her early attraction to jewelry
21:00 – First silversmithing class
22:50 – Being a self-taught artist
24:25 – Her quest for original ideas
26:20 – Avoiding social media distraction
28:20 – Daily routines and must-do activities
31:10 – Running
35:20 – Hunting and her relationship with her bird dogs
40:00 – The reality of posting hunting images on social media
44:10 – Why Jillian seeks out discomfort
48:35 – Stories of suffering and benefits of those experiences
50:30 – Advice for those seeking a life similar to Jillian’s
52:15 – Favorite books
56:20 – How reading has affected her writing
59:45 – More books
1:01:00 – Favorite movies
1:03:15 – Unexpected talents
1:04:30 – Most powerful experience in the outdoors
1:06:45 – Favorite location in the West
1:09:20 – Biggest challenge facing the West
1:12:00 – Jillian’s request of the listeners
1:12:59 – Connect with Jillian online
Information Referenced

20 Comments on “Jillian Lukiwski – Art and Adventure in the American West

  1. Another great podcast. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while & really enjoy her posts. Look forward to reading her book. 🙂

    • Thanks so much! Jillian’s an amazing woman. So glad you enjoyed the interview… I sure did. And yes, I’ll be looking forward to her book as well!

  2. I love the Noisy Plume! I just discovered your podcast today and I am now on my fifth episode- great content 🙂

    • Thanks so much Brittny! Really appreciate your listening… and I’m glad you’re not completely sick of me and my southern accent after 5 episodes!! Thanks for reaching out.

      • Thanks Ed for this interview. It’s my first listen of your podcast. I so appreciated your questions, and her answers. I feel inspired to stay on my path to a more authentic life. It’s a bit lonely at times, wishing for my life partner to do this with (I know he is out there!), it’s not that easy as a woman on my own. I will adapt it to fit me right now. Oh!, & I could hear your voice all day long, everyday. Keep up the good work 🙂

        • So glad you enjoyed it Michelle!

          Oh, and years ago I randomly sat down next to a cute girl in the Dallas airport… fast forward 12 years, that cute girl is now my wife and we’ve got a daughter and another on the way! Cool stuff happens when you least expect it! Keep doing your thing!

  3. If anyone can find the book she discussed at 55:28 please share! Another wonderful podcast. They have all helped me think of conservation and adventure in new ways while learning detailed information. Thank you.

    • Thanks Cole. Yes, I don’t know the name of the book but will update the notes as soon as I figure it out. So glad to know you’re enjoying the podcast. Really appreciate your interest. Be sure to tell any of your like-minded friends to tune in too!

  4. I think the book she can’t remember is “where rivers change direction” by Mark Spragg. This is a beautifully written memoir of A boyhood on a Wyoming dude ranch.

  5. I just LOVE this lady! Jillian @thenoisyplume is my true western heroine! She ignites all my senses through her many creative talents; and she encourages my faith in living a rich & authentic life. She stays true. She stays mindful.
    Such a joy to hear her voice, her laughter & listen to her inspiring stories on this podcast, thank you! and Jillian, if you swing by here again…LOVE you girl!

    • She is a one-of-a-kind, impressive woman, no doubt. Thanks so much for listening and for taking the time to leave a comment!

  6. My all-time favorite episode, Ed. Jillian’s words and the way she speaks about her writing made me listen to this episode three times or more. I really enjoyed her and found her story so interesting.
    I Have been listening since you interviewed Teal Blake, my favorite artist! And Duke Beardsley, too! You have a host’s voice that is welcoming to the ears and you ask great questions. I have subscribed and share your episodes frequently with family and friends. Please, keep interviewing incredible people and creating such great content. You have my ears.

    ps– Keep public lands in public hands!!! <3

    • Hi Polly! Thanks so much for being a long-time listener and for taking the time to comment! Very glad to hear that you enjoyed Jillian’s episode.. she’s a wise woman. Thank you also for sharing the podcast with your friends and family… I really appreciate that and it helps me out a lot. Hope you enjoy the upcoming episodes as well. Thanks again!

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