One of the most unexpected benefits of my decision to start JennJill Designs has been the wonderful and innovative crafters I’ve met along the way, from Jim & Gloria Theirauf, who gave me tips on my booth display when we happened to be neighbors at my 2nd craft fair, to Jarita Thomson, who was the subject of my first artist interview two weeks ago. Today marks the 2nd article in my series honoring those I’ve met in the last few months by allowing them to share their art and their inspiration with you.
I first stumbled upon the work of Carrie Mayer and her shop, Blessed Be’s, when I was putting together a Lenten-themed treasury in early March. Her beautiful Bamboo Cross Pendant was one of my favorite items in that treasury.
When I sent her a note letting her know she’d been included in the treasury, one line in her response caught my attention: “I love meeting other Christians here on Etsy!” When I then realized that Carrie lives in Northern Kentucky, just a few miles from my Cincinnati home, I knew I wanted to find out more about this artist of faith and what inspires her creations.
I find it wonderful and admirable when artists allow their faith to shine through their art. I strive to do so by often including scripture passages or Christian themes in my wall plaques or by featuring cross pendants on my necklaces.
Carrie takes the faith in her work one step further in that every single item in her shop is overtly Christian in theme. Her specialty is glass tile pendants bearing scripture – small evangelical messages captured in glass – and they are beautiful both in style and in message.
Carrie’s profile statement on Etsy just about says it all:
Since I became a stay at home mom, I have used arts and crafts not only as a creative outlet, but also as a calming therapy. A few years ago I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and HE has become my calming therapy. I feel God calling me to use my talents to spread his word, so in my shop you will find gifts of a Christian nature.
What a great message. There is no better raison d’être for a small business than to bring the joy of Christ to others. I hope you enjoy reading a bit about Carrie’s faith and artistic inspiration.
What inspired you to begin creating your glass scripture pendants?
Like most artisans, I have always enjoyed working with my hands and have dabbled in many mediums for my personal enjoyment. The inspiration for my pendants came after I attended a 6-week course at my church about discipleship. I really grew closer to Christ during this study and wanted to make a piece of jewelry featuring the theme scripture, John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Viola! My scripture pendants were born!
How did that initial pendant lead to your current business?
After I made my pendant and gave several as gifts, I had so many friends and family requesting their favorite Bible passages that I thought to myself, “Why not give it a go as a small business?”
Why did you choose Etsy to sell your craft?
My cousin had already had a store on Etsy for a while and I had shopped other sellers before, so I was very familiar with the Etsy name. I really like the clean look of Etsy, as opposed to other online marketplaces, so I opened up a shop.
What do you find most difficult about being a crafty entrepreneur?
The greatest difficulty I have had is just being in the mood to work on certain things. Like all crafters, I get bored doing the same thing all the time, so sometimes I have to just buckle down and work!
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
The greatest reward of my craft is that I get to glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ through my work. That’s what we are all here for, to glorify Him!
Also, I have met many awesome people at shows and through Etsy. Sometimes, I feel like a lone Christian, out in the secular world, but through my craft, I am able to connect with Christians all over the world….very cool!
Describe one of your most rewarding projects.
I have had many exciting projects, but just recently, I was asked by a Spanish-speaking buyer who was purchasing a pendant for a friend who had cancer to explain the Gospel. She was concerned about her friend’s salvation, but was not fluent in English, so she asked me to help.
What would you like us to know about you as a person?
I am married to my high school sweetheart and have two wonderful sons. I am a born again Christian…raised in the Catholic church but never really had a relationship with Christ until several years ago. Now God is at the center of our family and life is great!
Carrie with her family