Sunday, April 27, 2008


One by One! We're going to run a series of mini interviews, based on questions that we think were originally posed by Gerry of
Gerry's Jewel Box as a basis for getting to know each other (thanks, Gerry). We will go in no particular order, but will do our BBEST to get everyone posted.
The fourth interview in our series is with Here are her answers to the questions:

1. What is the name of your shop/s?
The name of my shop is JN Originals.

2. What kind of items do you sell?
My shop features one-of-a-kind textile accessories. Right now I focus mainly on crocheted wool items that are felted (“fulled”), such as flower brooches, needle books, java jackets, coasters, napkin rings, clutches and tote bags. In the future, I plan to add fabric accessories.

3. How long have you been engaged in your art/craft?
Sewing and needlework have been a part of my life since I was in junior high. My first sewing machine projects were a not-very-attractive gingham half-apron with rick-rack trim, and a gray kettle cloth jumper. Young people today would label these items retro! My mother, who couldn’t sew, asked me to hem my brother’s shorts and darn the holes in my father’s socks with a darning egg as soon as she learned I could handle a needle. I didn’t learn how to crochet until I finished college. For the most part, I am self-taught. I like to read how-to books and magazines, but I also like to experiment, so that is how I continue to grow as an artist.

4. Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson?
If you had asked me this question a year ago, I would have told you that I was a serious hobbyist. Until this past year, in fact, I gave away most of my handmade items as gifts. Though others (especially my husband) encouraged me to begin selling, my biggest fear was that I would no longer enjoy the process of creating--and to me process means everything! To my surprise, selling has turned out to be a liberating experience, since it frees me to put one project behind me and to move on to the next, without having to worry about whether it will fit my brother, match my sister’s home decor or replace my father’s worn-out pajamas. Every new project is a welcome surprise–-even the custom work, since it offers new challenges and learning opportunities. While I have learned a great deal about marketing, photography and selling in the last year, I know there will always be more to learn. I guess that means I’m somewhere between being a hobbyist and a professional craftsperson.

5. What inspires you?
I love color and texture, contrasts and blends. You’ll find floral touches in much of what I do, which in some ways is amusing, since I forget to water plants and they don’t survive long under my care! Buttons, which I collect, often are the inspiration for a project, rather than being the final touch. I get most of my design ideas when I’m performing mundane tasks such as ironing or folding clothes, but especially when I’m in the shower. For that reason, I always keep a notebook and pen nearby to jot down or sketch ideas.

6. Please share with us what a typical day is like in your
workshop or studio?
I’m not sure that I have a typical day or even a typical week, but there certainly is a breakout of tasks that need to be completed, from beginning to end of any project. My time is split between creating, photography, writing, pricing and packaging, and often there are several of these tasks taking place simultaneously. While the covers of several needle books are air drying, for example, I may be photographing a felted bag and writing a product description. While coasters and java jackets are being fulled in the washing machine, I may be updating a blog or assembling the layers of a felted flower brooch.

When it comes to the wool accessories I crochet, there is a typical process. As I’m crocheting, I frequently stop to measure the piece, to pull out stitches, to try different stitches, and then to measure again. Afterward, I “full” the item in the washing machine, which means agitating the yarn product in a hot washing machine with a little bit of detergent. This process causes the wool fibers to interlock, or shrink. Sometimes I have to full two or three times before I get the size I need. I always shape items by hand, and air dry them. Afterward, I work on embellishments, which are frequently felted flowers which must also be fulled. Assembly follows, which usually involves hand sewing.

7. What keeps you company while you are working on a project?
I like to listen to music or watch a movie at the same time that I crochet or sew things by hand. Celtic or Renaissance-style melodies provide the perfect backdrop.

8. What is your favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
Without a doubt, making the individual components of a project, such as crocheting the covers of a needle book or the layers of a flower, are the most enjoyable. Assembly is fun, too. With each step your project takes shape, and what you imagine in your head comes together and emerges–-sometimes in unexpected ways.

9. What is your least favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
The most difficult and also the least favorite task, for me, is assigning a price to what I create. You have to balance the cost of your time and materials with what the market will bear, without having any real sense of what the demand might be. You throw in a pinch of common sense and you hope for the best.

10. Would you care to share any 'words of wisdom' with other aspiring artists or
Feed your Muse by exposing yourself to a montage of different materials and methods. Be open to experimentation, and embrace learning.

Please leave a comment for Judy in the comments section of this blog. What did you learn about our Boomer?


AltheaP said...

Wow, what a great format, great questions, beautiful display.

And what fun it is to know more about JN -- she's always so kind and thoughtful on the forums. And Judy, I love your work!

Beth said...

Wonderful feature on Judy. I love her work and all her color choices.

thewildhare said...

Judy, fabulous feature! I am, as always, envious of those who learned so many things so young - I never was interested in crafting or art as a youngster. I love your insight on letting your projects go once they are complete! What a great way of looking at things. Thanks for sharing your methods, process, and thinking around your wonderful art. I love my JN Originals!

Sixsisters said...

Nice piece on Judy. Love her work and color choices.eudcek

Night Sky said...

I really enjoyed reading about Judy and her craft. The pictures you chose to use are lovely, such amazing colors.

I can relate to the pricing thing! That is one of the things I struggle with, too. SO hard!

I just realized I don't have any JN Original creations! I better do some shopping!

Oh holy crap, I can't read the secret code down there. I hope this goes through!!

Jean Levert Hood said...

She is so talented!! What a lovely interview.

Precious Quilts said...

A wonderful feature on a wonderful person who is truly talented.
Thank you for sharing and allowing us to experience a 'slice' of a day in the life of Judy's!

joonbeam said...

I loved reading about Judy and her philosophies on everything. I appreciate her talents and always look forward to spending time with her on the forum thread. She is so helpful and I love her zest for learning. If she doesn't know something she will find the answer or figure it out herself. Such a giving and interesting person. Thank you for featuring Judy. And Judy thank you for joining etsy and the boomers!

Anitra Cameron said...

I learned that Judy makes darling things! Thanks for sharing her with us. I do love hearing from and about people who don't think we're OLD, lol.

Chauncey said...

great feature on our jn. Her work is classsy and choice of colors, fantastic!

Liv said...

I love Judy's felted flowers and needle books. She is very creative and is a talented writer as well. Her "muse" is alive and well!

midnightcoiler said...

Great work Judy! I like the colors and textures. And love your outlook a combo of creativity and common sense. Think this may be a boomer trait. Guess there are some good things that come with age.