Creatives Near You: JD [Handmade Artist]

We first met JD last year when we participated in the OKC Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar. I don’t know how she finds time to balance it all (and right around the holidays) but JD and Sara Cowan (her BFF) put on Deluxe every December in addition to their own personal creative endeavors. After teaching in the Oklahoma City Schools for several years JD resigned to being a full-time creative. You can find her today working in her studio and weaving in time for her 18 month old.

Q1)  How did Deluxe get started?

A1) Deluxe was created out of a need for a different kind of craft show in OKC. As crafters ourselves, we were hungry for the kind of show that would showcase our creative work and not lump us in with resellers and other non-handmade products. We wanted something a little more selective both for our vendors and our shoppers.

Q2) Define what makes a good craft show?

A2) What makes a good craft show is going to change from person to person. For us, it’s all handmade with the opportunity to talk with the maker. A good craft show for us also changes some from year to year. We like to bring back some of our favorite artists and also new ones, keeping the show fresh each year.

Q3) When you select artists for the show what are three key factors that can make or break the selection process?

A3) Selecting artists is probably the toughest part of putting on Deluxe. We love all of the handmade work that we see but we have to filter some out to keep the show in line with our vision. Three of the many factors we consider are:

  1. Is it handmade? First things first! If it’s not, it’s not going to fly at Deluxe.
  2. Would we buy it for ourselves, our home, our families?
  3. Creativity. Is it something we’ve seen a million times or is it new and something we think the shoppers will appreciate?

Q4)  What advice do you have for others interested in starting their own handmade show?

A4) Get started. You learn a lot in the process. It helps to have a partner with complementing skill sets. Someone that can do the tasks that are out of you aren’t as comfortable with. It is also a good idea to go to other shows, see what you like, take notes, pictures, whatever will help you later. It’s really nice if you can get some experience as a vendor and a shopper.

Q5) How do you balance a healthy home while coordinating Deluxe and running your own business?

A5) This is easy. We only do Deluxe once a year. It gets a little bit frantic near the show but it keeps us from getting to wrapped up with it the rest of the year.

Personally, my business has taken a bit of a backseat lately. I find that chasing a 1 year old around the house is quite enough work for me. Aside from that I do what I can and most of my weaving gets done after bedtime.


Q6) As a handmade artist yourself, what product are you the most proud of? Why?

A6) I love the custom t-shirt blankets the most. I love them because they have made so many people very happy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to weave. It is like therapy for me, but, I’ve done so many special blankets and gotten so many really great stories about the people that have received them. I can’t help but be proud of that, of the space I’ve helped people make in their closets and the special memento they now have.

Q7) When creating your products what tool/craft gadget would you be lost without?

A7) It’s a tie between my inkle loom and the serger. If the house was on fire, I’d grab my loom. If it was the garage, it would be the serger. If it were both, I’m sure I would end up scorched but with both items.

Q8) List three ways you keep creativity fresh in your day to day?

  1. I like to learn and link the new knowledge to the old. I’m really interested in wildflowers right now and natural dying. They go hand in hand so that’s easy.
  2. I really enjoy looking at and picking color palates for future weaving. That helps me not feel like I’m in a rut when it comes to color choices.
  3. I organize. When I go to my studio, it’s usually a bit of a mess. I start organizing and straightening to clear my head and eventually I come across something that will inspire me to try something. There are times of course when I come out and move everything aside because I know just what I want to do but the straightening is never done.

Q9) Would you rather have coffee and pie or wine and a fancy dessert?

A9) Coffee and pie most days. But that’s only because I’m not a big wine drinker. I’ll take any dessert any day though!

Q10) What is your favorite part about living in the Midwest?

A10) I love being central to so many things. There are so many things only a few hour’s drive from here that are worth the time! I don’t like to fly so this is pretty important to me.

Q11) What are your favorite local hangouts?

A11) I am a big fan of being at home. I like my little nest and if I had my way, everyone and everything would just come to me. Other than that, I like most country roads, being outdoors and the OKC Zoo.

I really admire people like JD who just go for it! She’s found a way to create the things she loves and still be mom. We’ve seen Deluxe continue to grow from year to year and appreciate JD sharing some of the ins and outs of running a craft show.

Meet up with JD, Sara, Green Couch Design and ALL the other amazing handmade vendors at the Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar next weekend, December 10th! We’d love to see you there.

From the Farm

P.S. Consider JD’s handmade woven friendship bracelets for your BFF this holiday season or stop by her facebook page and just say hi!

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About meg:

I like curly lines, and the simple joys of life. Good coffee and the perfect souffle.

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One Response to “Creatives Near You: JD [Handmade Artist]”
  1. 11.30.2011

    I love this feature and LOVE JD & Sara!

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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