January 13, 2011

"Quilted in Clay" Meet Jenny Patterson, Crafter, Artist, Owner

Jenny Patterson, Owner of Quilted In Clay
 Jenny's Story: Quilted in Clay is a small family business that grew from my lifetime interest in the world of art. Over many years, I had explored a number of mediums. But in 1991 as a stay-at-home mom, I began sewing soft sculpture dolls and painted wood crafts and selling them at a local craft shows. Two years later, I discovered polymer clay and was so enthralled with it that I immediately became a member of the National Polymer Clay Guild. I started out sculpting character figures, gnomes and fairies. Then I learned a new technique called "Millifiori" to make canes in patterns so I could make clothes for my "Little People". By adding the use of a clay gun, I could also put together designs for their clothing and use the remnants to make jewelry.
Recognizable Quilt Blocks
As it turned out, my designs resembled quilt blocks and customers began asking for specific jewelry  designs such as the Ohio Star, Log Cabin and more. It was a challenge replicating quilt block designs, but I also watched the business escalate as a result of my efforts. In 1996, I decided to expand from craft shows to quilt shows and the rest is history! Often times, we are literally selling our creations "Hot out of the oven".
Pink Ribbon
Amish Star
Seven Sisters
When my daughter was younger, both she and my husband helped run the business as we kept getting busier and busier. I miss her help as she is all grown up,but my husband remains active in our business. We now travel to shows in our RV, it is so much better then staying in hotels and I can't believe we did not do it sooner.
Jenny's booth
In 2010, we did 18 shows all over the country in California, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Tennessee, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.
I specialize in jewelry based on traditional, recognizable quilt blocks. After all of these years, I'm never at a loss for patterns, projects, methods, color combinations or inspiration when working with polymer clay.

Any words of advice you can give our viewers getting started?
  1. Treat your business as a business. Set business hours, get dressed for work and keep track of all your expenses. Find a price point that works so you get paid a wage and your materials are covered.
  2. "Listen" to your customers. Someone once told me 'If your customers ask for something once, listen twice, pay attention three times, and do it".
  3. Get your name out there, write articles, join a guild, start a blog etc.
  4. Take pictures of your creations, and LEARN how to take good pictures.
  5. Keep a journal of new ideas, keep your work fresh and keep up with new trends, fads and colors.
  6. If you are at a show, act professional, don't sit and read, always greet your customers with a smile. Dress appropriately, hey you are an artist and people expect you to look and talk like one.
  7. Bruce Baker has a set of CD's on the subjects of Booth Construction, Marketing, Sales and Slide Presentations, Customer Service, Visual Merchandising and Trends that affect the Craft/Gift business display. His website is http://www.bbakerinc.com/  I HIGHLY recommend you purchase, listen to, and implement. "It was the best investment I ever made". 
To see more of Jenny's beautiful jewelry creations check out her site at http://www.quiltedinclay.com/
Thank you Jenny.

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