This summer, we enjoyed some cherished mornings with Margaret and Matthew. Getting a lazy start, hanging out. Josey would go down for a nap, and we'd drink coffee and chat. One day, we all got in the row boat together. Jane is a unique soul, I'm so glad she'll be back with us in Glacier this summer, and I am so glad she's kicking off this new Feature series here on First Fridays!
Read on to know more about this special lady:
Handmade by Jane
Jane Davenpuerto: 25 year old from Ohio, born and raised on the shores of Lake Erie. Childlike wonder, can't get enough of nature, comedy, and food.
Name a few of your projects:
Past: playing in a college band called Traveling by Sea (i played glockenspiel) and also participating in Christmas albums - music made by my friends from Bowling Green Ohio. I was able to lend my voice on a track or two.
Current : Puerto : quirky handmade items such as warm fleece scarves, mountain pillows, earrings, lion sweatshirt series, duffle bags, reusable snack bags.
Future: Look Up.
Where do you work, and how do you make this environment productive?
I am currently working in Bowling Green Ohio in my sisters college home, I tend to move around a lot so my crafting station comes with me. I find productivity by having the windows open and feeling the natural light from outside, listen to records, playing movies in the background... I find inspiration from many elements.
How do you capture your inspiration?
Well my memory is awful, and I find myself constantly coming up with new ideas for creations so there is a lot of fumbling around looking for paper to write down my ideas, trying not to loss the idea or the paper... this leads to many notebooks filled with thoughts. I have lots of odds and ends from antique shops or thrift stores that decorate my work place that bring me inspiration. I'm very inspired by natures - mountains, water, sky. antiques and things from the past inspire me very much as well. I am pretty nostalgic and like the idea of giving old items a second chance, so i often re-purpose items which are truly one of a kind.
Who inspires you?
Friends- who travel, friends in bands (punk and folk) - they create things themselves (diy) and it doesn't always seem professional, and i love that, knowing that it came from them and it may have mistakes, but its unique
Comedy - with all this intense winter weather I've found myself staying indoors and watching 30 Rock and Parks & Rec while crafting! Those women are hilarious, goofy, and relatable. And I find myself hoping to have those characteristics. I love to make people laugh, oh and I'm incredibly awkward just like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey :) but I suppose the inspiration I get from those women is that it's okay to be yourself and to be a little odd, people are drawn to that. I make some odd and unusual products with Puerto and sometimes I doubt myself, wondering who could want something that I've created, but I've been shocked and overjoyed with the support and feedback I have received from customers on etsy!
Artists from "Beautiful Losers" inspire me quite a bit, going along with the diy / punk inspiration from above. handpainted signs, merch for pants made by hand, graffiti, its very inspiring and not mass produced. edgy and weird. i love that.
What materials do you use?
I use quite a bit of secondhand, vintage fabric for my earrings, duffel bags, and snack bags. I like to use secondhand or found materials as much as possible, because I prefer not to use mass-produced material, i want to offer unique and one-of-a-kind items.
I was very proud of my Lion Sweatshirt collection! I purchased secondhand, gently worn shirts, secondhand yarn, and the lion faces came from secondhand bed sheets. I was able to produce quite a large amount of these shirts from 2 bed sheets. I hope to make a collective book or binder showing each lion made and sold with their new owner!
I have a ton of yarn, but I haven't learned how to knit or crochet yet, so for now, I'm dabbling with yarn word art, where i write with yarn and glue on felt.
All the hardware on my earrings is nickel free, stainless steel, hypoallergenic.
What can you tell us about your creative process?
It isn't very structured. Quite random and spontaneous...
I get excited when I come up with new ideas, and I am frantic to write them down. Then I set out to find the materials I need, whether from a craft store or a secondhand shop, or something from around the house. Then I typically dive right in an try to create what I've thought of, I like to just go for it and see what I can come up with for a first draft.
I work out the kinks and try again, and once I'm happy with the product, I make a few more and begin to list them on my etsy page.
When something sells, I package it with care and get very excited about the idea of someone having something I created in their home, or being given as a gift. It fascinates me!
I am not a super confident woman, and sometimes i doubt what people will think of what i have made, perhaps its not as professional as they would prefer, and i know i should strive to make my creations with little imperfections, but imperfections are what I personally love about the handmade world!
I cherish things more when knowing someone made something I have, and i can see where they struggled but they still completed it and now I have it in my life.
How does it feel when you know you're finished with a project?
Maybe I'm easily satisfied when I'm "finished" with a project. Like i said, I'm not a perfectionist. There could be a few quirks, but I think that those imperfections reflect who I am, a little off, but still creative and unique! But I don't sell anything that I think is obviously not done well. The product is finished when I come up with a fun way to package the whole deal so that when it arrives to the buyer, they are delighted opening the package with the effort put into it!
What are your upcoming creative goals?
I currently have a blog called "Look Up" on tumblr: mywildgoose.tumblr.com
On this blog i post pictures of the sky above me, I enjoy photographing and identifying clouds. I want to share what I see in the sky above with people, so they can discover and appreciate whats above.
Its encouragement too, "Look Up" - it has a play on words. I hope to open a shop dedicated exclusively to Look Up with shirts, temporary tattoos, stickers, art, and eventually created a collaborative book of drawings from friends and artists, maybe even a photo book.
I would also like it to be interactive for people - linking their pics with instagram hashtags.
Will you share a piece of wisdom you've learned?
- Margaret Killgallen from Beautiful Losers once said, " Everybody can make things with their own hands, its just they can't always be looking for perfection, they have to allow themselves to make mistakes and to go with something that might be a little crooked or a little smooshed and people used to go with those things and now-a-days those things aren't beautiful anymore to people's eyes. Even if i spend a lot of time going over the line and over the line trying to make it straight, i'll never make it straight. and from a distance it might look straight, but when you get close up you can see the line waver and i think that's where the beauty is. "
<<< i think this really speaks to what i believe and how i work.
Beautiful Losers is an incredible documentary that totally inspires me.
and Ed Templeton said, " I think as a child, you're always drawing, coloring, doing crafts, and thats totally normal. It seems to be what you do as a kid, And i think what is kind of the weird tragedy is that when you become an adult, you 'grow up' and lose that and you stop creating, you stop involving yourself with the joy of coloring and creation."
*****I just feel like i was lucky enough to have never lost that.*******
As part of this interview, Jane is giving away one of her signature Mountain Pillows, and TWO pairs of her adorable fabric earrings to one lucky Grows reader/commenter. Here's how you can win:
1. In the comments, tell us your feelings about perfection & creation.
2. Visit & encourage Jane at one or all of the following:
www.etsy.com/shop/mynameispuerto - Etsy Shop
#mynameispuerto - Instagram
mywildgoose.tumblr.com - Look Up Blog
#lookupblog - (soon-to-be blog hashtag on Instagram)
Giveaway closes next Friday.