The Turquoise Guitar by Jolene Bird

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Jolene Bird's Masterpiece

Jolene Bird and her son Charles drove 12 hours from Santo Domingo, New Mexico to visit me on November 5, 2018 and show me the piece of tuquoise inlay work that she has been working on for the past two-and-a-half years. This is a Fender Stratocaster guitar onto which Jolene has attached pieces of Kingman and Sonoran Turquoise highlighted with Jet. The stars are in Abalone, Mother of Pearl, Pipestone, Yellow Serpentine, and Spiny Oyster. The artistry in this piece is simply breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed.

Consider that this is a three dimensional mosaic, a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle if you will. Jolene told me that each individual piece of turquoise had to be cut, shaped, and ground down to fit perfectly with the other pieces. Each individual piece probably took six to eight hours to produce and there are literally hundreds of pieces covering the guitar.

For an artist, a masterpiece is considered the greatest work of a person's career or a work of outstanding creativity, skill, profundity, or workmanship.This is Jolene Bird's Masterpiece, the culmination of thirty years of honing her talent in working with inlaid turquoise. Jolene says that she will never create another piece this complex and beautiful.

The reverse side is as beautiful and intricate as the front.

Dr. Pickens never saw this creation, but she did know that Jolene was working on it. The last time Jolene visited with my wife she told my wife that she was working on the guitar and my wife told her she wanted to see it and purchase it when it was finished. Dr. Pickens already had dozens of Jolene's other pieces in her collection and was very familiar with her work.

I have no doubt that if this piece were at Santa Fe Indian Market, it would have taken first prize. It will have a place of honor in Dr. Pickens Museum.

I was talking to Jolene about an artist and immortality. Isabella Russell-Ides says in her play "Lydie Marland in the Afterlife" that you don't really die until your name is spoken for the last time and you are remembered by someone that knew you or knew of you for the last time. I told Jolene that 100 years from now, people will be looking at this masterpiece with her name on it in Dr. Pickens Museum and that her great-great-grandchildren will come and say that one of their ancestors created this work of art. That is immortality for an artist.

Thank you Jolene for creating this work of art.

About the Author

Hugh and Dr. S. J. Pickens
Dr. Pickens married Hugh Pickens on December 24, 1984 with whom she recently celebrated 32 years of marriage.

Hugh Pickens (Po-Hi '67) is a physicist who has explored for oil in the Amazon jungle, commissioned microwave communications systems across the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia, and built satellite control stations for Goddard Space Flight Center in Australia, Antarctica, Guam, and other locations around the world. Retired in 1999, Pickens and his wife of 33 years moved from Baltimore back to his hometown of Ponca City, Oklahoma in 2005 where he cultivates his square foot garden, mows seven acres of lawn, writes about local history, photographs events at the Poncan Theatre, produces the annual Oklahoma Pride series with his wife at Ponca Playhouse, and recently sponsored the first formal dinner in the Marland Mansion in 75 years. Pickens is presently in the process of planning the construction of an Art Museum in Northern Oklahoma. Pickens can be contacted at

Pickens' Publishing

In 1996, Pickens edited and published My Life In Review: Have I Been Lucky of What?, the memoirs of Jack Crandall, professor of history at SUNY Brockport. Since 2001 Pickens has edited and published “Peace Corps Online,” serving over one million monthly pageviews. Pickens' other writing includes contributing over 2,000 stories to “Slashdot: News for Nerds,” and articles for Wikipedia, and “Ponca City, We Love You”. Pickens has written the following articles available on his wiki at Research and Ideas.



Science and Technology

Business and Investing

Ponca City, Oklahoma

Pickens Museum


Peace Corps Writing


Phillips 66

Conoco and Phillips 66 announced on November 18, 2001 that their boards of directors had unanimously approved a definitive agreement for a "merger of equals". The merged company, ConocoPhillips, became the third-largest integrated U.S. energy company based on market capitalization and oil and gas reserves and production. On November 11, 2011 ConocoPhillips announced that Phillips 66 would be the name of a new independent oil and gasoline refining and marketing firm, created as ConocoPhillips split into two companies. ConocoPhillips kept the current name of the company and concentrated on oil exploration and production side while Phillips 66 included refining, marketing, midstream, and chemical portions of the company. Photo: Hugh Pickens all rights reserved.

For nearly 100 years oil refining has provided the bedrock of Ponca City's local economy and shaped the character of our community. Today the Ponca City Refinery is the best run and most profitable of Phillips 66's fifteen worldwide refineries. The purpose of this collection of reports is to provide a comprehensive overview of Phillips 66's business that documents and explains the company's business strategy and execution of that strategy.

Safety, Environment, Legal


Strategic and Financial

Business Segments

Stock Market


Refining Business Segment

Increasing Profitability in Refining Business Segment

Detailed Look at Ponca City Refinery

Other Phillips Refineries

Other Locations

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Doctor Pickens Museum of Turquoise Jewelry

Click here to join the Facebook Group for Doctor Pickens Museum of Turquoise Jewelry.

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