Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Jennifer. I live in Houston, TX with my husband, Lee, and amazing three year old, Lotus Raye. I have a background in visual merchandising and interior design, and I love manipulating objects and materials to create something new and wonderful.
Orange is the Sun started after I left my career to stay home with my daughter. I soon realized that I needed a creative outlet. I was always on the search for simple, colorful jewelry to mix in with my favorite pieces, and I could never find anything that was just right. So, the cooper bracelet was born, and my shop grew from there.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Play mommy. Listen to good music — I think music is transformative and can turn any situation into a positive one. Eat good food (as long as I don’t have to cook!). Entertain friends — there is nothing better than surrounding yourself with a wonderful community of people you love.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
It would be titled, We’ll See, because I always like to leave some wiggle room to change my mind.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Nature. Colorful cultures of the world: the Rajasthan region of India, the tribes of East Africa’s Omo Valley, Peru…this list could go on and on. Textiles, both vintage and modern. Bold, geometric art (Josef Albers, Rex Ray, etc.) My clients! I think everyone is naturally drawn to certain colors (for instance, I rarely use true blues), so sometimes when my clients send me a custom palette, I think “Wow, that looks great! I never would have thought to put those together.” It’s fun.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means there is an inherent depth and emotion built into the piece.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
The many family members and friends who surround me. They protect and nurture my ability to continue to create and build. After 17 years of being together, my husband still has not given up trying to keep me calm and centered. My best friend, Huide, has been a tireless supporter from the beginning and gives me a healthy push when I need it.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I remember being very interested in design and color as a child, even when I didn’t always understand why. When I was very little I would ask my mom to “read” me the colors listed in the Avon book that was sent to our home.
I don’t think I actually thought of myself as a “creative” person until years ago when a supervisor of mine, Trent Wisehart (who became a wonderful friend), recognized a talent in me that I had never consciously realized. He is a remarkably creative person and was very inspirational to me early on as a creative thinker. It seems silly now, but I learned that you don’t have to be a painter or sculptor to be an “artist.”
How would you describe your creative process?
As unromantic as it might sound, I think everything beautiful has a built-in mathematical rhythm and balance. Something doesn’t look or feel “right” by happenstance, even if it seems like things are haphazard. I am always trying to find that wonderful natural ratio of texture, color, size and energy.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I couldn’t possibly pick just one. Bjork, because I think she is truly a genius. Even if you don’t like her work, you can appreciate the attention to detail and depth she puts into her craft. Wes Anderson, because he recognizes that the small things matter in the big picture. I could watch his movies on silent and still be happy. Basquiat, because he was such a seemingly troubled soul with so much to say.
Truly, I am in awe of most any craftsman, and I would be thrilled to watch anyone do something they love.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I sincerely believe in the importance of surrounding yourself with objects that make you feel good, but I tend to cherish experiences over possessions. If I had to choose, I would say my wedding ring, because it was custom designed for me, and the craftsman who made it is a wonderful, wonderful man. Also, I have started a small collection of my daughter’s drawings, which are so thoughtful and sweet.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
My bigger problem is getting the cornucopia of ideas rushing around in my head onto paper before I forget them! And finding the time to work on them.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Living near the water with my family and a wonderful community of friends nearby, with lots of time for traveling and creating.