Bishop Visitor Logo

Bishop Visitor's Center

Check it out in the park, Saturday April 20!
By Kendra Atleework

When I first met Amy Wicks, we were mostly upside down.

There was a good reason for this—we’d both enrolled in an aerial silks class, which involves tying yourself in knots and swinging around in the air. (More on that in May’s column.)

Over the months that followed, we continued to take classes together, and I was impressed at how quickly Amy learned to use the fabric. The woman has a way with rope, knots, and cord of all kinds. After all, the Celtic swirls and circles I’d seen on the walls of many Bishop establishments are her handiwork.

Not long ago Amy and I finished a harrowing silks drops class together and ambled over to Black Sheep to chat about the intersections between art and climbing, and how those ingredients mingle to make a great life here in the Eastern Sierra.

It all started with an abandoned climbing rope Amy found in the woods.

Some of us would have carried that rope out and tossed it in a dumpster. More of us would have left it where it lay. But Amy saw a future piece of art. For five years since, she’s been transforming worn-out climbing rope into wall art, dog leashes, jewelry, hot pads, drink koozies, yoga mat holders, bowls, Christmas ornaments, and keychains, to name a few.

The first thing Amy made was a Celtic circle, just like the one you can see on the wall at Black Sheep.

The complexity of Celtic knots and patterns draws her to the form. “I’ve always had an interest in playing around with shapes,” she said. Her portfolio includes an art piece featuring three suspended, multi-dimensional pyramids—all made from climbing rope.

“It’s cool to be able to turn something into art instead of adding it to our landfills,” Amy said. Her work has led her to see the unexpected beauty in what might be trash. Who knew there was so much variety to be found in the aesthetics of rope? Amy assured me that some seem one-of-a-kind. She chats with people at art shows to get ideas for future creations. Her customers have returned, years later, to remark on the ongoing presence her pieces have in their lives.

Amy moved to the Eastern Sierra eleven years ago for the outdoor perks. She knows the landscape where she climbs and backpacks intimately and she tries to take care of it. Beyond picking up somebody’s trash and turning it into treasure, she’s worked seasonally doing Forest Service and Park Service field jobs, including restoration, wildlife, and forestry projects.

“There’s so much to explore that I still haven’t seen,” Amy said of home. “And the Eastern Sierra is a great community to be a part of. It gets better and better the longer you stay.”

Her art has connected her to new friends, and has given her a unique role in the climbing community. “There’s a climbing history here,” Amy said, “and it’s cool to be a link in that legacy.” Her custom pieces are often made from a climber’s beloved but worn-out rope, thus memorializing climbing adventures and love stories between climbers and the rock and mountains that hold them aloft. For a custom project, she’s even woven the ropes of two climbers together. Sometimes the rope she’s using has been slung all over the East Side for fifteen years.

She’s also come to see where climbing and art meet.

“There’s a creative component to climbing,” Amy said. “There’s no wrong way to climb as long as you’re being safe.” There’s intention and care present in each of these tasks. And at the root of both is the pursuit of beauty.

Now, going climbing, Amy thinks of the ropes in terms of art. Her relationship with the tool that keeps her safe on a rock face has become more intimate. “You get to see the inside of the rope, the core. Different colors in the interior of the strands—and you see damage. You see parts of the rope that are normally hidden.”

Whether she’s choosing colors for a pattern or finding her next hold, making art and climbing require a similar dedication, Amy said—a concentration that connects an artist or a climber to the land that provides their inspiration.

What’s next for Amy Wicks? Well, she’d like to do a three-dimensional piece, with wood and welding. You may have placed an order with her at the Mountain Rambler, but this summer she’ll be working with Inyo National Forest, doing wilderness patrol and working on trails. No doubt that trail time will inspire some new designs, Amy said. “It’ll be good to be outside again.”

You won’t find Amy working in a studio—she makes everything on the floor of her living room, which is heaped with rope. In other words, by making a purchase, you contribute to the accessibility of Amy’s furniture. She explained, “the more art I make, the less rope my boyfriend has to deal with!”

She welcomes questions at .

“I don’t have a website because the community interaction is what’s most important to me,” Amy said. She’d also be happy take your worn-out rope off your hands. Once you’re done with a rope, you can pass it along to Amy, instead of resigning it to the landfill.

You can find her work all along Main Street in Bishop: at Nuts & Twigs, the Mountain Rambler Brewery, Looney Bean, Black Sheep Coffee Roasters, Sierra Shanti (for yoga mat holders), and sometimes at the Inyo Council for The Arts.

Better yet, meet Amy and take a look at her wares (this Saturday, April 20, from 10am-3pm) in the park, during the Earth Day festivities. Come say hi at her table near the creek, close to Main Street.

Coronavirus Special Message

Check out the Digital Bishop Visitor Guide!

Archived Stories

Tell us:

Follow Us on Instagram

Join Us on Facebook!

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

19 hours ago

Who loves to get up where the oxygen is thin??!! Mt. Langley is one of the many 14,000' peaks here in our backyard. If you are coming this way, make sure to check out the current guidelines and state regulations. www.bishopvisitor.com/covid/
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen
Thanks, @wanderlena82 for this awesome shot!
... See MoreSee Less

Who loves to get up where the oxygen is thin??!! Mt. Langley is one of the many 14,000 peaks here in our backyard. If you are coming this way, make sure to check out the current guidelines and state regulations. https://www.bishopvisitor.com/covid/
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen 
Thanks, @wanderlena82 for this awesome shot!

Comment on Facebook Who loves to get up ...

I went up to 12,500 at Ski Apache in Ruidoso, N.M. My head nearly exploded.

Yep. I feel so amazing in high altitudes.

Very well done. I’ve never been over 12,000 and that just about ended me.

Why cant we post pics on this site anymore?

Been there a couple of times. Better than Whitney

Congratulations!

BEAUTIFUL

I like those kinds of places. You can get a natural high. I think I've been there before. Hope to get back there soon. <3

Badassery

Great photo! Looking great @ 14k+ ❤️

Definitely has a great view

...would have done it 40 years ago

How come females look so good after bagging a peak, but guys look tuckered out?

Mammoth parade starts at 11:00

Always head up to Whites Mountain for Ancient Bristol Cone Forest.

Awesome

Been up there.

My friend Jack McBroom from Hemet climbed the highest 14 peaks on California in about four and a half days. Not sure that is still the record but I know it was for awhile. Sports Illustrated did an article about him.

Hayden Pester adding this to our list

View more comments

2 days ago

In case you need to do a little reflecting today....

Thanks for the beautiful shot of Honeymoon Lake, @biffnix
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen #MaskWashDistance
... See MoreSee Less

In case you need to do a little reflecting today.... 

Thanks for the beautiful shot of Honeymoon Lake, @biffnix  
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen #MaskWashDistance

Comment on Facebook In case you need to ...

So beautiful California gold 😊😊❤❤

Reflection pix are my fav 🤩

Oh my, unimaginable beauty! Stunning!

Beautiful

So where exactly is this lake?

Just amazing!

Beautiful

Incredible!

See you there 4ofjuly

Can’t wait to get back up there!

I love it!

I like that you can go there even when you aren't on a Honeymoon. Even single folks go there. <3

So which side is up? Lol Great shot 👌!

Maayan Damti

Gorgeous.

Can't wait for August 1st will be there a whole week

Absolutely beautiful

Sharp knife and a shave! Awesome.

That water is like glass!

How beautiful

Hot creek. Much good for skin! Be respectful of native americans!!!!

Amazing

Hopefully we'll be able to go up there Labor Day weekend.

View more comments

3 days ago

The night sky here sure is something magical. 😍

Thank you, @Pat Pester for this beautiful shot!
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen
... See MoreSee Less

The night sky here sure is something magical. 😍

Thank you, @Pat Pester for this beautiful shot!
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen

Comment on Facebook The night sky here ...

Amazing! Don't see this very often!

The stars at night are beautiful. Miss them

Just beautiful. One of many reasons I love going there

Just spent 3 days there. Beautiful as always.

Missed my annual trip this past Memorial Day weekend, the beautiful Eastern Sierras Lake Sabrina South Lake etc were always so peaceful & tranquil to visit!

Absolutely amazing 😉

So beautifulth thanks for sharing 😊😊❤❤

13 days..... I We’ll be there!!!!

South Lake

This is at bishops??

View more comments

6 days ago

Happy Friday!! Ahhhhh, Big Pine Creek, looking sooooo good!
Thank you, @Pat Pester for the photo!
... See MoreSee Less

Happy Friday!! Ahhhhh, Big Pine Creek, looking sooooo good!
Thank you, @Pat Pester for the photo!

Comment on Facebook Happy Friday!! ...

Beautiful!! I wish I would be there!!

Such breath taking beauty! I so 💙 the Sierra's, and have many awesome memories of my times there. Thanks for sharing! 🌞

I love second lake especially for the view of temple crag

Just magnificent!

Great picture love Bishop

I wish the same as you Mary!

Was up there last week. Weather was perfect. Hiked up to Chickenfoot while I was there.

Still having earthquakes?

Been there! Beautiful!

Wonderful picture

Spent fathers day week there

Love the Sierras.

Beautiful!

Remember doing this hike. Gorgeous

So beautiful

Headed that way soon! 🏕

Beautiful

Sure hope to get there soon.

Very peaceful setting.

Breathtaking

Beautiful

What a godly view. On the hwy. drive you can see Snow on top of Mount Whitney mountains, so awesome during in month of June when its hot

Mt. Sill ! Sally Spear Molé. Stephen Busch . Do remember climbing this mountain Stephen ? That was an adventure !

I used to live in the town of Big pine many years ago

I wish !!!

View more comments

7 days ago

We love seeing folks doing their part to #KeepInyoOpen by wearing their face coverings! #lovebishop
Thank you, Chris Bubser for Congress for this cool shot!
#visitbishop
... See MoreSee Less

We love seeing folks doing their part to #KeepInyoOpen by wearing their face coverings!  #lovebishop
Thank you, Chris Bubser for Congress for this cool shot!
#visitbishop

Comment on Facebook We love seeing folks...

Thank you for doing your part. Just get used to it, we're in it for the long haul. It doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution. I would.

Best little town in the West. I hope you're all hanging in there. Stay safe so I can visit this fall!

I love Bishop because of it’s proximity to Death Valley and the Sierras. On a motorcycle!

A family hiking out in the mountains on a warm summer day..... with masks on. This has to be the stupidest photo on FB all day.

Ah, wearing a mask outdoors in the Sierra's. They're obeying their globalist masters. Good little sheep.

What a sad picture that this family appears to be out in the countryside ,away from people, wearing a mask..

You don’t need masks if you are outside hiking with your family.

Makes no sense to go up to the mountains for fresh mountain air just to breathe in your own co2

The masks with the exhale feature on it does not block your droplets from exiting and infecting the people around you.

That is not the Bishop I grew up in. We didn’t live in fear‼️ Bishop as lost it’s way. Sad fir a beautiful area ,

What time does the 4th of July parade start ?

masks are nonsense,, please stop

I really miss living there. Be back soon.

Enough of this bs. No way I would go hiking in the mtns and wear a mask. Just may as well stay in the cesspool known as LA County and breathe the air here with a mask on.

Hopefully the mask wearing works, cause the social distancing and all the sanitizing isn’t...

Wearing masks in fresh mountain air & sunshine. Just can't fix stupid.

More crying 😢 about wearing a mask. Pitiful little babies!!

Guess I won’t go this year👎

Jeeping this 4th of July!

More sheep

Looking good!

Yellow star,mask..same thing advocated by the same types of people.

No more masks.

Missing hometown

Lived in Bishop early 90's. Can't believe what houses cost there now!!!

View more comments

Load more