Jill Zeidler Ceramic Art
Jill Zeidler, owner of Jill Zeidler Ceramic Art, creates with her hands. Unlike a lot of ceramic artists, she does away with the wheel, and prefers to sculpt her both beautiful and functional pieces with her own strength; pieces which you can find on display at her gallery and studio in the Big Horn Shopping Center or at the Big Sky Farmers Market on Wednesday evenings.
The Waterbury, Connecticut-native went to Northern Arizona University for a degree in ceramics, then Montana State University for a national student exchange program. While in the area, she fell in love with the mountains—as well as her now-husband—and they agreed they would return one day. Now they’ve called Big Sky home for about 18 years, during which time Zeidler made her artistic mark on the community.
Before there was a high school in Big Sky, Zeidler taught at Ophir School alongside Sharon Holtzman in her Art Around the Corner program. She credits the local community for their support in her artistic endeavors and encourages area residents to shop local whenever they can.
“I don’t think that I would have the business that I have now it if weren’t for the community, and second homeowners,” Zeidler said.
Her process is very decorative—Zeidler uses a handprint technique and Chinese tissue transfers alongside contemporary colors. The imagery she uses—constellations, birds and flowers—are derived from things that bring her joy. After a stint during COVID of taking a lot of custom orders, she’s eager to get creative again, drawing from the surrounding nature for inspiration.
Sister’s Gluten Free Bakery
If you have a gluten allergy or are a celiac, you probably understand the struggles of trying to find a good, consumable cinnamon roll. Karen Miller, owner of Sister’s Gluten Free Bakery, has taken it upon herself to solve the gluten free cinnamon roll—and other baked goods—problem once and for all. Spurred by her own gluten allergy and a strong partnership with Montana Gluten Free Processors, where her father works, Miller began baking when she lived in Boise, Idaho, and opened her storefront in Belgrade shortly after returning to Montana six years ago.
The Montana native has since been slinging delicious, nutritious, and gluten-intolerant-friendly breads, cakes, brownies, cookies … you name it. It’s no wonder there’s often a line in front of her booth at the Big Sky Farmers Market.
Sister’s uses Montana Gluten Free oat flour made locally in Belgrade from a certified gluten free oat developed by students at the Montana State University plant lab. Because recipes take a lot of tweaking and reworking, and the nature of baking gluten-free is such a detailed science, Miller’s product cannot be duplicated on a larger scale.
“Everything I do is an artisan style because you’re not going to be able to mass produce this style of bread,” Miller said. “You have to make it, form it, let it rise, and form it again.”
Her goods are also free of preservatives and baked with farm-fresh eggs. Because the oat flour is minimally processed, her products are more nutritious due to higher levels of protein, fiber and added oat groat, a fiber-rich cereal grain. In addition to make tastier gluten free options, Miller hopes to also make them affordable and enjoyable for all, allergies be damned. She says one of her regular customers once told her, “It used to be his bread, and now it’s our bead,” proof that no matter if you’re gluten free or not, Sister’s is enjoyed by all.