Welcome to JennJill Designs, the online blog for the crafty ramblings of Jennifer Jill Araya.
Born and raised in northern West Virginia, I am a self-taught artisan and seamstress, and recently, my lifelong passion for crafting blossomed into JennJill Designs.
I have been crafting for as long as I can remember. From clothes to accessories to jewelry to trinkets, I’ve tried it all and loved every minute. The process of transforming a block of clay or a piece of fabric into a beautiful and useful accessory never ceases to give me joy. In addition to owning JennJill Designs, I am a professional classical musician, and my years of musical training and discipline gave me the creative and entrepreneurial skills I use everyday with JennJill Designs.
I currently reside in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband and our two parrots (Pepper and Sunshine). When I’m not crafting, beading, and sewing, I can most likely be found practicing voice or cello. I’m a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where I studied both cello and voice. I am a member of the Springfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra and the Hamilton-Fairfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra. I am also half of the Araya Duo, a regionally recognized soprano/cello and cello/cello duo, which has given me the opportunity to collaborate with numerous contemporary composers. To learn more about the Araya Duo, visit http://www.arayaduo.com.
Thanks for visiting JennJill Designs, and I hope you like what you see! Please also check out my shop on Etsy: JennJillDesigns.com. If you have any questions or if you would like more information about me or any of my items, feel free to contact me.
ABOUT MY WORK
I will craft with anything I can get my hands on – nothing is off limits! From beads and fabrics to salvaged items and re-purposed materials, I love working with it all.
JENNJILL DESIGNS – PRODUCT LINES
I was first introduced to beading in the 5th grade by a schoolmate, and I haven’t stopped since. I love repurposing beads from vintage necklaces, and I frequently make my own beads with polymer clay. My style ranges from formal and elegant to playful and funky.
When my aunt gave me a polymer clay kit as a Christmas gift, I was immediately captivated. Painting has never been one of my strengths, so I’d never been very successful with painted pottery or painted clay models. Polymer clay solved those problems – the colors are part of the material, so no painting required! I soon began filling my house with clay figurines and trinkets. I love working with clay canes and millefiori patterns to achieve beautiful gradations of color and design.
I had never quilted a day in my life until 2006, when I met my (now) mother-in-law, Monica. She was shocked that, despite my love of sewing, I had never quilted. So she began giving me quilting tools and accessories for every birthday and Christmas, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to begin using my new toys. Soon, I was quilting more than I was sewing, and the JennJill Designs Quilted Accessories are the result.
In October of 2008, my mother fell down a flight of stairs, fracturing her C5 vertebra and suffering a severe spinal cord injury at the C4 vertebra. While she has made a miraculous recovery and today walks with just two canes (praise God!), her rehabilitation process brought to my attention the incredible need for functional and beautiful accessories designed with disabled and injured individuals in mind. Every item in the Accessible Accessories line was designed as a direct result of my mom’s experiences while on the road to recovery.
While in college, I began journaling regularly, but I had a great deal of difficulty finding journals that reflected my personality, rather than simply reflecting their origins in mass marketing. I made my first journal out of dollar-store finds, and my friends loved it so much that I was asked to make another … and another … and another … you get the idea. 🙂
There are no better compliments to a designer than customers who enjoy one’s designs so much that they want to make them on their own! JennJill Patterns include detailed patterns and instructions for making some of my most popular Quilted & Accessible Accessories.