When Jeep’s eyes opened in this life, the face he saw was his mother Enid. To him, she was just “Mimi”. In this story, he recalls the ranch in Medina, Texas, the intimate moments of family, life, work and art. His stories and memories have been augmented by the firsthand accounts of others in Enid’s life, the people who worked with her and for her in the business, her mentors, and her confidants.
After a hard-headed and self-proclaimed “rebellion” against all he had known in life, Jeep spent several years serving in the US Marine Corps.
Eventually, Jeep found his way back into the arts. His hands, deft and skilled by training, interest, and excellent genetic history, ventured into making jewelry. Soon after, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior.
“From that time on, crosses and other Christian symbolism became the focus of my designs. In the beginning I worked by myself and the quality of my work was important to me. It wouldn’t do to make jewelry that represented Christ be of inferior workmanship. I had an eye for detail, and was naturally gifted with my hands so my work began to improve. The early forged, somewhat crude pieces, which I personally liked, began to take on a finer quality. Made by hand, each piece was unique. When I designed a piece that I particularly liked, I wanted to duplicate it; so I made patterns. Even in this, each piece was a little different.”
Jeep went on to build a business that spanned the country, employed many, and endured for more than 48 years. Today, his workshop has become like the one in the beginning — small and simple. He has turned his attention to ministry, working his land, and writing. He and his wife, Dana, live a full life in Fredericksburg, Texas.
This is the story of Enid Collins, the famed handbag designer of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The setting is Spring Valley Ranch, the 400 acres of rugged but beautiful land that she and husband Frederic Collins bought sight unseen in order to pursue a dream of ranching — a dream that wasn’t to be. Instead, out of their need to survive, they did what they knew how to do, they made things.
In many ways, their remote and rugged lives were far from ours today. In other ways, they were not that different. They succeeded, they struggled, they lived. We begin as spectators watching from a distance but through this story we are beckoned closer — to see what they saw and, indeed, read their journaled thoughts.
Through this human story you are invited to examine your own life, to question. You are invited to a place of deeper meaning and purpose.