Friday, January 18, 2008
Sewing may just run in her genes. Although both of my grandmothers are superb sewers and quilters, Jenn George, known on Etsy as Jenngee, grew up a great distance from both of them and wasn't lucky enough to learn directly from them. She dabbled with sewing and needlework off and on as a kid, but became serious as a freshman in college where she had a design school student for a roommate. "I was fascinated with the things that she made with her sewing machine. I asked for my own machine for Christmas that year and that is when Bertha (my straight-stitch-only, loud as a freight train, workhorse of a sewing machine) came into my life," she says. "At that point there was no turning back."
She learned everything her roommate would teach me and then bought or borrowed every book she could find that would teach her new skills. "I became obsessed with the quilting show that Georgia Bonesteel was doing at the time (she was the first TV quilting diva as far as I know) and decided that quilting was my calling. I spent all my extra money on fabric yardage or quilting notions. That was almost 13 years ago and I continue to learn new things almost every day," Jenn says.
These days, she finds real joy in making smaller items like the Coffee Corsets she sells on Etsy since she gets all the pleasure plus the added bonus of finishing them quickly, but she still loves making quilts. She also enjoys creating her own fabric with inks/dyes/paints, carving her own stamps (for the same purpose), painting and embossing metal hardware, machine needle felting, cross stitching, and hand embroidery.
What inspires her? "I'm very heavily influenced and inspired by the work of others." She became a craft-show junkie way back before the craft shows on HGTV, PBS, and the DIY Network became popular, and the DVR in her sewing studio works overtime recording every show that is even remotely craft-related. "I enjoy watching these shows to learn new techniques and to see the work of other artists. I also have a huge library of books and magazines to reference and I make a special effort to visit traveling quilting/textile exhibits whenever they come to my town. When I see something that makes me say 'WOW' it just renews my creative spirit all over again and I want to make more and more."