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3 question interview: Jo from JoMama

by Lynn

Last month, I was fortunate to attend Artfest, a gathering of artists and crafters who love to learn and share. Many of us use found objects in our work and when I met Jo Jones, of JoMama, we instantly connected—which was a very good thing since it happened in the last half hour before we left to go home!

Jo’s work is quirky, humorous, vintage and cool—just like the artist herself.

Her unique wearable art will make you grin, and knowing it’s all from items others would likely toss, ought to widen that into a face-splitting smile!

Jo also crafts custom items from personal heirlooms. Send her your dad’s tie, your mom’s hankie, or your own baby blanket and she’ll return them to you transformed into items you can use, all memories intact!

In this interview, Jo shares some tidbits about how she works. For more information or to purchase any of her work, check out www.ShopJoMama.com.

1. Tell us about your process.  Do you see an item and become inspired,  become inspired to make something on a particular theme,  then find the objects?

I am forever in search of discarded items because they already have character and patina that usually can’t be duplicated.

Typically it starts with something I have already found. I’ll lay it out on my work bench or pin it to my mannequin looking for inspiration, then I take off running. Sometimes found objects will lead to a theme, like my Grand Canyon collection,  which was inspired by pieces of wood I found while visiting there.

2. Any stories connected to the heirloom accessories you make?

Heirloom Accessories started when I was working on my necktie scarves. While pinning and sewing the recycled ties I couldn’t help but wonder who they had belonged to. Someone’s father or grandfather? What was their story? Why not create things for someone using items that belonged to their loved ones?

Born was this beautiful concept of making wearable memories on a commission basis for anyone wanting to hold onto a piece of the past.

3. How does working with found objects or repurposing objects affect you personally?

I’ve been an environmentalist since high school. Growing up with parents born of immigrants,  I was taught to reuse and repurpose at a young age, though I didn’t know it was recycling at the time.

Over time, the need to recycle has become a passion in my life. I look at each finished piece I’ve made and can’t believe it would have ended up in the trash, and I find it a challenge to see what I can keep out of the landfill.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of  Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.

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