Today’s weaver interview is with Jenny of Sonora Handmade. She has a great style that favors pastels and neutrals, it’s really soothing to look at her work. She also has a great sense of texture and balance. Let’s get to know Jenny a little better…
How did you first come across weaving?
I’ve love knitting and sewing for awhile now, and over time I’ve been drawn to more and more contemporary and modern art. My love of both knitting and sewing eventually lead me to weaving. I would look around for hours on Instagram and Pinterest, and eventually I was able to take a class in Arizona with Shelley Sazdanoff. Shelley lives in Oregon now, but was originally from Arizona and her work was very instrumental in my desire to pursue weaving.
What time of day do you feel most creative?
I always feel the most creative in the morning, however, I can never usually work until the late afternoon or evening. I will often set out a group of yarns and rovings in the morning, and adjust them throughout the day until I have time to work. I also write lots of notes to myself throughout the day and email them or stick them to my desk for later so I don’t forget! In addition, I take lots of pictures on my phone of things that inspire me, like a tile pattern or a bunch of flowers, and I review the pictures in the evening when I have time to work.
I don’t have a creative ritual, although I certainly crave one! I usually get interrupted by responsibilities at home in the midst of working, so I try to be as flexible as possible. There are a few times I have been able to work without distraction, and in those situations I always listen to my favorite artist, Josh Garrels. His music is incredibly inspirational to me, and his lyrics help me focus on God while I work. My ultimate desire with anything I create is to give God the glory for it all.
Are you a messy creative or an organized creative?
I am definitely an organized creative. My workspace is also shared by my husband and our kids for various homeschool projects, so I take out my work, and clean it up or reorganize it, almost daily. I do dream of a time when I can leave all my work out without fear it will be torn apart by curious little hands! In the meantime, I clean up and tidy my workspace very often! I am constantly trying to find new ways to organize and store my supplies.
I don’t have a very specific process for new pieces. I used to feel bad about not having a structured process, but I have learned that I prefer to discover new materials and be inspired by the material, colors, and nature instead. I love going to my local yarn store and seeing what new supplies they have in. I often set out groups of yarns and rovings in piles as “projects” while I am deciding what to purchase! My favorite materials are merino wool roving and wool or alpaca yarn, loosely spun! I love the way real fibers look and feel on the loom, and I think they produce a superior product that is most durable over time.
How is making things important in your life? What does being a maker mean to you?
I never really thought of myself as a creative person. I have a business background and I am a type “A” personality in every sense of the stereotype. However, I always loved dabbling in arts and crafts growing up, and got interested in sewing and knitting almost a decade ago. Making things for others to enjoy is a way in which I can show God’s love to others and His creative goodness. I love doing workshops for this reason, and I love giving weavings away to others as well. I wish I could give away all my work and time to others, because everything I have been given related to any talent I have is truly from God!
That’s a hard question! My immediate thought is that I haven’t yet made my favorite creation, and truthfully I feel like I am always striving to make something better than what I have made before. However, the second piece I ever made was for my daughter, Sonora, and I finished it just a few weeks before she was born. It’s hanging above her crib, and I just love the colors and the shape of that particular weaving so much. I hope she continues to enjoy it as she grows up.
What advice do you have for those wanting to find their own style?
Finding one’s own style is so difficult these days, because we are influenced in so many ways by what we see online. My advice would be not to ignore the work of others that you love, because producing something completely original will come even as you design something similar to the work of another. When I first started weaving, I really loved (and still do) the work of SunWoven. I wanted to learn all about using roving, and in the end, I used far more roving than she did and my own style, seen in some of my early pieces, began to develop. Basically that style was “you can never have enough roving!” I still love the way that roving looks and the texture it provides to a piece. It is one of the reasons I recently began learning how to spin my own roving into yarn!
Are you a eat in or take out person?
Eat in the restaurant for sure! I am an extreme extrovert, so I could be around people all day long!
If you could pick your last meal what would it be?
Probably a lot of Indian food, including dessert!
What is your favorite color and why?
Black is for sure my favorite color. About 80% of my closet is black, and stripes!
Are you a book or movie person? And what is a good one you’d recommend?
A movie person for sure, although I do love reading spy novels! I know probably everyone has seen it, but Slumdog Millionaire is one of my favorite movies. Also, Pride and Prejudice!
This question makes me laugh because my husband and I once took a beach vacation and we were so bored after the first day! I do love the beach, but I would much rather be busy all day and sight see. I don’t like to stay in one place for long.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Someone posted a meme on Instagram awhile back about having to be a beginner before you can be anything else. I just love that saying so much! If we are beginners in something, it means we are trying something new! New things can be scary for so many reasons. New jobs, new relationships, new babies, and the list goes on. I think being new at something is scary, because there is the inherit fear of failure that we all have. However, trying something new could lead you to something else that you may be far more successful at, that you may have never tried! I never would have thought a couple of years ago I could have even designed something like a loom! Yet, this month, that’s a reality for me and it’s something very special that I don’t take for granted. I hope people will always be willing to try new things and not be afraid to fail! I have failed many times in my life and be honest about failure is very freeing, especially in the world of art!
You can find Sonora Handmade:
What a great and motivating thought to end on! We all start somewhere and pushing yourself in new directions can lead to even newer things.
What is your favorite Sonora Handmade weave? Speaking of trying new things, are there any weaving techniques that you’ve tried recently? Or maybe one that you really would like to try?
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