Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Artist of the Month~Jenny's Pretty Things

Believe it or not, folks, fall is coming!

For many around the north east, summer has hardly shown an appearance. With rainy days and damp, chilly aftermath, the heat and stickiness of the 'hottest' part of the year did not make much of an impression. At least here in VA, we could still be getting months of Indian summer. With blue skies and warm days, it is the perfect time to start thinking about back to school, Halloween and the holiday season ahead.

I have been bulking up on shows and fairs and festivals, so there is little excuse to not come out and see me.... stay tuned to this blog for more shows being added all the time.

Right now, check out the September Artist of the Month~Jenny's Pretty Things.

Jenny Sammons, the creator of Pretty Things, is in herself a pretty thing. Beautiful on the inside and out, she strives to bring joy and love into the world with her creations. Whether making a custom necklace for a lucking bride-to-be or producing an unique bracelet, she infuses each item with peace and happiness, touching each person that wears her jewelry.

Q~How did you get started?

A~I’ve always been creative but I sort of stumbled upon jewelry making. I had a stone that I wanted to turn into a pendant so I went to the bead store and discovered beading. I go so many compliments on that first piece that I was encouraged to continue.

Q~Why do you continue?

A~I love being able to use my creativity and raw skills to make money. I think I’m very fortunate to be able to make money doing what I love. What keeps me going is my hunger to learn and the fact that I find jewelry making and gemology fascinating. There’s always something new on the market and I love learning and building my skills.

Q~What is your greatest success story?

A~I’d have to say that working with the Red Tape is the biggest and most significant thing I’ve done. The Red Tape Jewelry is a jewelry line that I created while working at the National Archives. The product development team was looking for ideas for products to be made out of this historic material and they liked my idea of making jewelry with it. Before the Civil War they would bind documents with red cotton ribbon that they called tape. In order to have access to a document one would have to “cut through the red tape.”

I am making earrings, pendants, cufflinks, and lapel pins with the actual red tape that comes from historical documents at the National Archives; the very same red tape that one would have to cut through. Being able to work with this historical material is a success within itself. The fact that it’s selling is even better.

Q~What is one of your greatest failures?

A~One of my greatest failures happened about three years ago. I was arriving home after a long hot day of vending at Eastern Market. I was terribly tired and figured that I could unload everything the next morning when I had more energy. So I went in the house and left all of my gear in the car. The next morning I came outside to discover that my car had been broken into and everything of value had been stolen, including my jewelry case with all of my work inside. I was devastated. They even took my hand truck, which I’m sure they used to wheel everything away. It took me a few weeks to rebuild my inventory to where I could make a decent showing at the market. You can believe I never left anything of value in my car after that.

Q~Where do you get your inspiration?

A~Inspiration comes from looking at other people’s work, from beading and fashion magazines, art, and nature, but mostly from the process of creating. I find I’m most inspired when I’m in the middle of a project and I suddenly see a design that I hadn’t thought of before. For me, work begets creativity.

Q~Why do you make what you do?

A~I make jewelry because I love creating in general and using color combinations. There’s no end to the combinations that can be made with beads. I also find that it teaches me patience as I am usually working with a lot of tiny parts. Once I establish a pattern and get in to a rhythm, I’ve discovered that jewelry making can actually be very healing and meditative. Also, I find working with my hands to make nothing into something incredibly gratifying.

Q~Where is your favorite place to sell?

A~I really enjoy having trunk shows. I love getting to know my customers and working with them one-on-one to chose designs that suit them. I also love the intimacy of a trunk show.

Q~What is one thing you love about your business?

A~I love the freedom and flexibility that come with working for myself. I don’t have to depend on anyone else for anything and I’m on my own schedule. I also love that I’ve been able to make money doing something that I love.

Q~What is one thing you loathe?

A~I really dislike math and doing my accounting. Sometimes I wish I had more of the left brain capacity that would help me make more sense of it all.

Q~What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~What is your guilty pleasure?

Q~What is your answer to that question?

A~Miniatures and dollhouses. I have an old dollhouse that I built from a kit when I was ten. About two years ago I dusted it off and began remodeling it. I’ve been in love with miniatures ever since.

Q~Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~Probably the Pacific Northwest, maybe Portland or Seattle.

Q~What is your dream about your art?

A~My dream is to use the skills that I’ve learned along the way to teach and empower others to do what I am doing. I’d like to go back to school so that I might become an art teacher and inspire others as I have so been inspired.

Q~What is next?

A~This is going to be a busy fall and winter for me. I’m currently working on an order of Red Tape Jewelry and a few other special projects and repairs for regular customers. I’m going to be teaching a jewelry making class in October to benefit the Emergence Community Arts Center, as well as having a few trunk shows in preparation for the holidays.

Jenny's Pretty Things can be found at http://estore.archives.gov/category.aspx?categoryID=85,
jennysprettythings.etsy.com and

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