First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jane Wells Harrison and I am a native North Carolinian, born, raised and educated in the east near the beach, living now in the mountains of western North Carolina. I am thankful to live in such a beautiful landscape – I know it inspires me. I have an MFA in Drawing and Painting, so I paint also – in most media, especially encaustic collage. I think my two dimensional work is reflected in the FoFum Studio. I direct an Art Department in a small college with two campuses, so I teach and have some administrative duties also. Yes, I’m going in multiple directions at once – my studio time is the most important part of my week, it keeps me on an even keel.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I cannot remember a time when I was not a maker: drawings, pot holders, mobiles from shells at the river in my youth; macramé and batik during those hippy years; and as an adult I have worked in all media – mainly painting.
In North Carolina, there is an extra special place where all maker-people should go at least once: Penland School of Craft. I have been several times, and it is an almost indescribably rich experience. Here is where I began working with metal. I left a summer 2007 session in Penland with some new metal working skills, came home and dedicated one end of my studio to metal and started this FoFum journey. Why FoFum? Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. A childhood refrain from Jack and the Beanstalk which I feel refers my metal studio experience – cut tin is sharp!
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
My sister (another maker—textiles) introduced us – Etsy and me. I like Etsy, and it likes me.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
I appreciate the freedom of the personalized presentation that Etsy provides. I am able to change out my look (banner, profile, avatar, sections) as I want – and I can do all this at 3 a.m. in my nightgown if I care to. I love the fact that I am selling to far flung and international customers – it is a real charge to be sending FoFum off to Finland.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
These are things that inspire me: the use of a found object, color relationships, shapes, and the serendipitous results of collage – putting one thing in a small world with relationships to other different and similar things. If you want to get philosophical about it, okay…. Aristotle said “The whole is more than the sum of its parts”. I agree with him.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
I’d have to say the FoFum Necklace. Why? See above-it is more than the sum of its parts.
(plus- it sounds really neat when I wear it). Oh….and it took many hours and quite a few tin cuts to make. I’ve quite a bit invested.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
I’m not looking for fame or fortune. I love the process of making interesting things, and there is tremendous joy when someone else appreciates the work and wants to own it. The FoFum Studio on Etsy makes this possible.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I do have ideas yet to explore in metal. More complicated FoFum neck-ware may be in the works soon.
Where can readers find out more?
Etsy is my only online presence at this time. I have a few gallery locations in North Carolina and Virginia that occasionally have FoFum work. (When in Richmond, check out Quirk Gallery.)
I have been very honored to be included in some curated shows featuring artists who work with tin. Check out this show if possible: An Element of Surprise: Artists Working with Tin, Edwardsville Art Center, Edwardsville, IL, September 3rd – October 8th