Where is Home?
What is it that you design and create?
I create lampwork glass focal beads and memorial art glass beads and hearts. I love to make floral beads, as well as richly colored organic beads.
Creating memorial beads has added a meaningful new dimension to my art-making, and has become a significant focus of my work. Including ashes in the glass creates a precious keepsake, one that honors the love and memory of those who have gone ahead. For me, it’s an incredible privilege to be able to do this work – I feel like I’m using my artistic talents and skills to create something that is important on a soul level, something that hopefully offers comfort and eases the grief process for my clients.
I also create finished jewelry and limited edition art charms. My art charms and finished work (mostly bracelets and necklaces, with some earrings) tends to be mixed media and filled with color and detail.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Playing with fire and color! I cannot believe I am *so* lucky to be able to do this! I think a close second is brainstorming ideas – taking inspirations I find around me and translating them into bead designs is a delight – and then sitting at the torch and bringing them into reality is pure magic for me.
How did you come up with your business name?
I decided to use my name to better identify my work as mine.
When and how did it all begin?
I’ve been a lifelong artist. I drew, colored, painted, and made books as a child. As a teen, I took every art class offered by my high school, as well as metal shop and wood shop. I’ve continued my learning adventure by taking many classes including photography, chain maille, precious metal clay (PMC), metal-smithing for jewelers, beaded embroidery, and lampwork bead-making. I’ve also taken advantage of the many wonderful books, magazines, videos, and online tutorials available to further my education.
I’ve always been obsessed with glass. When I was a little girl, we lived in a funky old two-story Victorian house and the glass in my bedroom window was wavy. I spent hours peering through the window, amazed and mesmerized with the optical illusions I found.
Our family travelled extensively and once in a while, we found a hot shop or a glassblower making figurines and watched the glass artists at work. Fascinated with what I saw, I realized I wanted to work with hot glass. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anyone personally who worked with hot glass, I didn’t hail from a long line of Italian glass maestros, and I had no idea where to even begin.
I loved glass anyway. My family gave me glass figurines on birthdays, I started a marble collection, I collected and sold Depression glass, and I learned how to create stained glass.
This was all good, but what I wanted most was to melt glass and play with color and form and light. Everything else felt like a poor second for years, until 2003, when I found a library book entitled, “Making Glass Beads” by Cindy Jenkins. About a year later, I took an Intro to Beadmaking class and realized my dream of working with hot glass was coming true. A few years after that, my awesome husband (the WonderHub) helped me set up my home studio. In October 2007, I lit my torch for the first time.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many things, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’m inspired by nature, architecture, fabrics, other art, color combos that I find literally *everywhere,* museum exhibits, and various art periods.
The three patron saints who inspire my art are SpongeBob Squarepants, Angus MacGyver, and Peter Carl Fabergé. SpongeBob has the greatest positive “can-do” attitude, MacGyver can make anything out of nothing, and Fabergé created fantastic works of art with everything he touched, treating each material he worked with as precious.
What advice would you give other independent artists who are just starting out?
Try different things, explore as many media as you can, stick with what speaks to you and don’t feel guilty about abandoning techniques and materials that don’t make your heart sing. Study artistic styles and visual design voraciously – you never know from where inspiration will spring. Fill a notebook with your thoughts, ideas, and inspirations so you can find it again. No matter what, don’t stop.
What music are you listening to?
I’m all over the place musically: AWOL Nation, Deva Premal and Miten, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mozart, Broken Bells, Thievery Corporation, Vivaldi, U2, Duran Duran, the Offspring, Macklemore, and the Beastie Boys are on the top of the list.
What TV show are you hooked on?
Doctor Who, One Piece, and Hustle.
What was the last movie you saw?
X-Men: Days of Future Past – it was the first of the X-Men movies the WonderHub and I have seen, and I think we missed a few story elements because of that.
What is your favorite food?
Currently I’m on a Vietnamese cuisine kick. If you haven’t tried pho yet, do yourself a favor and get some as fast as you can! It’s really yummy beef noodle soup. I also love raw vegan food, and anything I don’t have to prepare myself.
What is your favorite candy or treat?
Dark chocolate is divine – and Blissful Wunders Confectionery Chocolats are my favorite!
Coffee or Tea?
Both! Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have access to a fabulous variety of locally-produced fresh-roasted coffee – lattes are my favorite coffee drink. Tea, however, is my go-to beverage. Jasmine green tea is my daily drink, but I adore herbal blends as well – so much that I enjoy creating my own blends.
What store could you walk around in for hours and be happy?
I always lose track of time whenever I make the trip to Frantz Art Glass. There are so many new glass colors to play with and tools to drool over!
Two beloved furbabies have taken over my couch and home. Sam and Rufus are retired racing greyhounds. Sam is my ladies’ man (he wears a black and white tuxedo and moonlights as a land shark), and Rufus (Goofy Oofie) is a humongous brown brindle with the personality of Scooby Doo.
Favorite place to visit or would like to visit?
The beach – any beach, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Northern California. I would love to take a long visit to the Far East including Vietnam, India, Thailand, and Japan.
If you could be a superhero, what would your name be and what superpower would you have?
Compassion Girl – my superpower is compassion, and making people feel better. Thankfully, I’ve got all I need to practice my superpower: my torch and my didymium glasses – no cape necessary!
It’s a secret.
I have two – New Year’s Day (it’s our wedding anniversary) and also Groundhog’s Day – no big feast to make, no presents to purchase, no big deal, just fun.
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know
I’m a sucker for a happy ending…and I refuse to eat lima beans.
What do you secretly wish you could do or be?
NOT in charge of cooking.
Favorite piece of clothing?
Comfy sweats and t-shirt.
Do you speak any languages or want to learn one?
It’s a little embarrassing – I took four years of Spanish in high school, yet I retain only enough to order off a menu with adequate pronunciation. I’m currently working on learning Vietnamese.
Plans for yourself/the business?
I’m in the finishing stages of updating my website. It’s a long over-due project, and one I’ve put off, but now that it’s nearly done, I can’t believe I procrastinated so long! Once I’ve got the new website up, I’ll be able to promote my work more.
Thank you Christine,
Jeannie has an opening for the July Echo Creative Club.
Jeannie is a graduate of St. Paul Collage of Visual Arts, accomplished mixed media artist, published jewelry designer
and Bead maker. She is the creator of the Echo Creative Club
and the ever popular Do Over Challenge
. When she is not creating art, she helps people live happy, healthy lives.
Sale going on now. ALL proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders.