A bit about you (name, location, where you can be found on Etsy & online).
Jennifer M. Primeaux of the Hummingbird Traveler Studio. Santa Fe, NM. www.etsy.com/shop/hummingbirdtraveler
How did you get involved in your crafting business?
I have been crafting and drawing since I was two. As a toddler I would get fists of crayons and draw on the walls; when I got in trouble with that I started drawing in the closets. Growing up we made many of our own Christmas ornaments and decorations. When I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to be an artist, or maybe an art historian. The preservation of Native American cultures has always been a love of mine. From high school I went to the Institute of American Indian Art, and after that I went to The University of Oklahoma for Art History. I didn't think of starting my own crafting business until the late 90's when I found myself working at a holiday shop. To say that I was enchanted by the Victorian (inspired) and German glass ornaments that I sold is an understatement. It was love at first sight! Within a couple of months of working there, I started making my own Victorian Christmas ornaments. Initially, it's still a dream of mine, I wanted to have my own line of Native American glass ornaments. Unfortunately, this is too expensive to do by myself. Those early years were spent experimenting with making my own molds (for candy containers), learning the art of spun cotton, experimenting with collage techniques and research. Since then, I have been creating my own version of the Victorian ornament. I discovered Etsy a few years ago. I see Etsy as great opportunity to showcase my ornaments.
Describe your signature style.
My ornaments are a combination of the Victorian ornament made from cotton batting, and a three dimensional doll. Each ornament has a doll body on the inside made from cotton batting, cotton fill and wire. There is a lot of hand sewing in each one. Also, I create my own patterns for each. When I can, I try to use vintage supplies in my ornaments. Anything magical like fairies, Marie Antoinette, Native American cultures and the little critters in my yard are all inspirations for me. I love to take my inspirations and sprinkle them with glitter!
How has your approach to design changed over the years?
I don't know. It feels like it hasn't changed.
What are your favorite materials? Any tools or supplies you can't live with out?
My favorite material right now is millinery flowers, cotton batting, vintage seam binding, and glitter. At the moment I'm in love with this vintage 1950's thread holder that I have. Its a pink plastic doll with a bell skirt. Inside of her bell skirt is a place for your threads. Otherwise, I can't live without all of my flowers, ribbons and papers!
Biggest design or crafting challenge so far.
I think the single biggest problem I have now is how to make my ornaments more quickly! Each ornament still takes hours to make.
Who or what has/have been your creative influences?
I come from a family of crafters and artists. My primary influence is a my Mother, Connie Hansen. She is a fine arts painter and has always encouraged me to create. When I was a kid she always found money to buy me pads of drawing paper and colored pencils, paints, etc. Other influences are my Native American ancestry, The Victorian Era, the 1920's-30's, and Marie Antoinette. Also, I love animals. When I look at the little animals in my yard I picture them wearing little outfits and having personalities.
Favorite color combinations?
I really like faded colors, especially light pinks and blues. Anything aged is great. When I buy vintage millinery I don't mind if they have brown spots on them, this gives them character.
Interest outside of work/design?
I'm really interested in History. My boyfriend always laughs at the documentaries I watch. He thinks they are really boring. Maybe they are, but I think they are fascinating! I'm also in love with Victorian architecture, I spend a lot my time looking at old houses for sale. I feel like a displaced Victorian.
Anything else you'd like people to know about your pieces?
Behind each completed design there were at least 20 prototypes that didn't make the cut. I'm very particular about my work. It has to meet a certain standard, and most importantly they have to possess a certain magic or I don't sell it. It doesn't matter how long I have spent on it. An example would be the German style candy containers I tried to make (Native American designs). I spent about five thousand dollars on them and I could never get them to work (problems with the medium). When you get one of my ornaments you are getting something that is truly handmade.
Thank you, Jennifer! :)