Jennifer L. Worden Arts
Recycled Glass Art & Jewelry
Tell us about yourselves and what you do…
My name is Jennifer Worden and I create whimsical decorative pieces using re-purposed glass that I cut, melt and fuse into new shapes.
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
For my trees, cactus, clouds, and other shapes glass pieces, I start by cutting the glass (bottles and discarded glass dishware) into small pieces. I mainly use a nipper tool to cut the glass. The glass pieces then go into ceramic molds, which I make, and then those molds are placed in my kiln. The kiln firing process usually takes 8-10 hours with the glass being heated to approximately 1600 degrees. After the glass has cooled and come out of the kiln, I grind any sharp edges that may have occurred. Then, everything is brought to my studio where I mount the glass into wood or do whatever other finishing the specific piece needs.
What or who is your inspiration when it comes to making?
Most of my inspiration comes from nature, specifically the woods. I’m drawn to moss, ferns, and fungus and the interesting shapes they come in. I like to try to interpret what I see into interesting glass forms.
What do you have planned next?
I’m working on expanding my footprint by increasing my online shop presence. I was chosen to participate in the Ebay Retail Revival program in Akron and hope that what I learn from the program can help me achieve this.
What advice do you have for folks wanting to begin exploring their creativity?
Just start. You don’t have to be perfect or make something that others may like. You will learn, and evolve with every step you take. If you make what you like and enjoy it, then a part of you will be in everything that you create and I think that is what makes art such a wonderful thing.
Is this your full-time business or a something you do on the side?
This started as a something I did on the side, but I went full-time in the spring of 2012. I’m grateful to have a supportive husband who encouraged me to take the leap.
Where do you create?
I do the hot and messy work at home in my basement. That is where my kiln, glass grinder, torch set-up and power tools live. It is dark, dusty and messy down there, but serves its purpose. My studio downtown in where I assemble, paint, and do more of the creative work. I have 2 huge windows in my studio and that helps so much with creating my finished pieces. I can not stress how important natural light is when it comes to creating for me. I would say that my studio is a happy place.The walls, shelves, and most surfaces are covered in color and glass, both completed pieces and works in progress. There is a lot to see and can be a little overwhelming, but I work best being able to see everything. It is a true working studio.
How do you make the time to create?
When it comes to creating, I’m most productive earlier in the day. Knowing this has helped me make a schedule and be more productive.
How has your craft evolved?
I would say that my pieces have become more refined as they’ve evolved. Every time I create something, whether it is a success or failure, I learn something and use that knowledge to improve my process.
Do you offer workshops/classes?
I don’t currently, but am planning workshops for the future.
What are the components of your work?
The “ingredients” for my work, for the most part, are re-purposed glass (bottles, discarded glass dishware, old window glass, etc.), copper wire, and wood.
What are some of your favorite tools/supplies?
My kiln is main tool that makes the magic happen. It’s about 6 years old now and has fired probably more than 1,000 loads of glass. I’ve changed out most of its electrical components and like the fact that that is something that I can do myself.
How did you turn your passion into a business?
I didn’t really make a plan, I just jumped in and started doing some local craft shows. when I was starting out, I met several shop owners at shows which gave me the opportunity to have my pi
eces in shops around Northeast Ohio.
Making contacts and connections with people who do similar things, or are in a related field, is a great resource. In the maker/artisan market, most people are willing to share knowledge and give advice when asked. I would say that the majority of the opportunities I’ve had have come from recommendations or referrals from other makers/artists I’ve come to know.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve been honored to work on many commission pieces. I find it to be the highest of compliments for someone to trust you to create something special for them.
Do you have any tips for vendors doing shows?
Make a list, and check it twice! Have a list of everything that you need for the show, no matter how trivial it may seem. The one time I packed for a show and didn’t use my list, I forgot to pack tablecloths and that was very embarrassing. There are websites and Pinterest posts that can help with making a checklist when you are starting out.
What would you like to try one day?
I would love to try welding and metalworking. The possibilities of incorporating glass with metal intrigues me.
Do you have a brick & mortar shop? How/when did you decide to open?
I have a brick & mortar shop of sorts. I have a studio space at Summit Artspace in downtown Akron which is open to the public. Two years ago, Summit Artspace announced that they had studio openings, so I applied. I’d had lots of people at shows asking where my studio was and if they could come and visit. Since I was working out of my not so glamorous basement and had most of my pieces stored in boxes, my answer was always that I didn’t have a public space. I had friends, who are artists, who had studio spaces in the building so I was familiar with is and thought it was a good time and fit for me to take a leap. The original studio I applies for was tiny and had no window. When I found out that I didn’t get it, I was upset. Then about two weeks later I got a call asking if I would like a larger space that had windows, I didn’t hesitate and said yes, sight unseen. I am very glad that the first studio spot fell through because I love my current studio space.
What are your social media pages & contact information?
I have a website ( www.JenniferLWorden.com ) but most up-to-date information of where I’ll be and what I’m working on can be found on either my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/JenniferLWordenArts)
or on Instagram @jenniferlwordenarts
What would be the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were starting out?
If you decide to make your business your full time job, understand, that for the most part, you’re going to be putting in more that 40 hours a week so make sure that it is something you enjoy doing.
Are you a one woman/man show? Who assists you, who is on your team? Who supports you?
I am a one woman show. I my hands are the only ones who touch every single piece I create. I sources and cut all of the glass, wood, wire, and everything else I use. I get asked all the time in it’s my husband that does my wood work. He would if I asked him, but I’m the one that cuts, sands, and drills everything. My family gives me a lot of support when it comes to everything else besides the actual creating. My daughter sometimes comes to shows with me and helps with set-up, sales and wrapping. They both are very supportive and understanding, especially around the holidays, when I am away most weekends for festivals and events.