Where did they come from?
Where did they go?
Where are they now?
Bill, Michelle and all six children were born in Michigan. Bill was left at birth in a hospital in Battle Creek and adopted from the hospital at six months. Michelle was raised in foster homes after her mother was taken from her at age five and placed in a hospital for 12 years. Her father died of a heart attack when she was 11 years old.
Bill, fresh out of the Navy, a “Sea Bee,” and quiet Michelle, opposite personalities, would have never met so God placed them next door to each other in a very small affordable apartment. Much to everyone’s surprise, they married ten weeks later. Time passed and over time, with their six children Bill and Michelle ventured to Arizona to see Bill’s dad. With no help or support, they met a man by chance in Arizona who took them under his wing teaching them a great deal about Native American Indian jewelry.
Limited Edition Print by Traci Rabbit
Eventually with very little money they purchased enough Indian jewelry to help fill a shoebox of items that turned out to be the best quality possible for extremely fair prices. They began selling their works at small home shows.
Shortly thereafter, a friend of Bill’s let them use a room in his gas station on Cedar Street in Lansing, MI. After successfully selling at that location, they opened a small shop on Cedar Street for the next five years. Eventually they moved into Frandor Shopping Center for 14 years before transitioning to the Meridian Mall for 12 years in Okemos, MI. All six children, daughters-in-law, sons-in law and several grandchildren have all been a blessing in helping to keep the family shop open. To this day, Bill and Michelle and Jon and Lisa run the shop, continuing to go to reservations throughout the United States, hand picking the finest hand made jewelry, pottery, sand paintings, Kachina dolls, animal fetishes from the Zuni reservation, Walrus ivory carvings and jewelry from the Inuit in Alaska.
Their favorite reservations are the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Inuit and Cherokee but it doesn’t stop there. Another favorite place to visit is the Sault reservation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where they enjoy attending pow wows. Bill and Michelle have sold their pieces in outdoor markets in Arizona and have put a store together in Sand Point, Idaho for a couple.
Michelle had always wanted a shop on Mackinac Island and by chance it happened in 2013. Unfortunately around that time, they lost one of their sons, Bobby Carlisle, to an unfortunate accident. Despite having very little when opening the shop on Mackinac, everything seemed to fall into place. When God has his hand in something, nothing can stop it. Michelle now knows why he put them on the island at this time; “he put us here to help us heal.”
Michelle and Bill are blessed and thank all those who have supported us all these years. They look forward to continuing their effort to support many Native American families by bringing you the incredible talents of their work throughout the United States.
In honor of their son Bobby.
Original Painting by Bill Rabbit