Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
My name is Jennifer Maestre, I live in Concord, Massachusetts. I was born in Johannesburg South Africa. When I was a child, my family moved every three years or so, mostly overseas.
I came to MA. to attend college, and have been living in the Boston area ever since. I’ve been a full time artist for almost ten years. My major work is sculpture, made by sewing together thousands of pencil points. I was inspired to make jewelry out of pencils after I got a million compliments on a handle I made for a pencil teapot. I couldn’t make the handle out of pencil points, so I laminated and carved a block of pencils. I love making the pencil jewelry, it is a fun alternative to the sculptures, some of which take a month or more to construct.
I have two college degrees, and my job is sharpening pencils. It is ok, though, because I am the Head Pencil Sharpener.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I vividly remember making a leopard sculpture out of paper mache. (I have a rotten memory, so I’m a little surprised I remember that!). I reckon I was inspired to make it by my love of cats.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Lots of my ideas come from playing with materials, and seeing what will happen if I do *that* with something. Thank goodness, accidents and mistakes in art making can be very inspirational!
Two of my favorite artists are Odilon Redon, especially his ‘noires’, and Ernst Haeckel. I’m inspired by natural forms, patterns and textures.
What are your favorite materials?
Errr, let me think.
-I love really sharp pencils, even when I’m using them to draw or write with.
What is your favorite color?
I’m very fond of greens, especially the greens in Springtime.
What are your most and least two favorite films?
I have a lot of favs, but the one that popped in my head first was “Zulu”. I also love “The Man Who Would Be King”.
I don’t like horror movies, or most “chick flicks”.
What are you reading right now?
Kabul in Winter, by Ann Jones, a journalist who spent time in Afghanistan. I’ve been reading a lot of books about Afghanistan, because my fiance is working there, and he wants me to visit.
Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
Here is what my ma always says: No matter what you make, someone will buy it. Find your customer, and always treat them well.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Lately all my time has been taken up with art related matters, but I love to travel. I’m hoping to go to Istanbul in June.
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
How about a little window that comes on screen when the seller logs into their shop, with an etsy ‘tip of the day’. Just for the first couple weeks. It could have answers to questions I and many other newbies ask over and over in the forum, for example, what is an ACEO? Computer savvy people might not like it, but luddites like me might find it helpful.