Friday, February 1, 2008
Hello. My name is Jennifer McBrien. I am the sole proprietor of jennyjen42. I have been a Baltimore resident my entire life. I live here with my handsome husband and my two cats Chuckie and Louie…also known as my sweatshop guards. My intro to crafts began by converting baby food jars into Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Pilgrims and what not while in Brownies and Girl Scouts. We would sew stuffed animals and make beanbags we would even fold telephone books into Christmas trees. All of these crafts were in high fashion in the seventies, along with my favorite project of covering glass jars with tiny pieces of masking tape then rubbing on black shoe polish to give them the look of leather! Who comes up with this stuff? When I got older, I became too cool to craft and did not partake in much craft besides hooking a rug of the chipmunks and a couple of embroidery projects. Then there was high school and college. I majored in painting at Towson State University. After graduating from Towson in ’85, I moved into the city and dove right into the punk rock scene and poverty. In ’87 I decided to go back to school and get my teaching degree. I landed my first teaching job at Red House Run Elementary School in Rosedale. This is where I found the magic of the Storage Library. Just about every book I read as a child… reading, science and math books, were all there.
I began to use images from these books in my paintings. I began to layer these images with ideas and thoughts I remember having as a child. Balancing these older thoughts and ideas with today’s realizations. I painted and painted. Showed throughout Baltimore and DC even a show in Chicago. You can see my 20 years of painting
I had a very artistic life that began to turn sour in my late 30’s. I completely changed my life and got out of a sour marriage and found my Patrick.
A man who has loved me for everything that I am...fully excepting of who I am. He helped to give me the confidence to transform my world into a happy one full of sunshine and birdy birds. After a year or so in the Copycat Building (what we call the MICA frat house), we bought a beautiful stone house in Original Northwood, the first planned community in Baltimore based on the landscape. Our house reminds me so much of where I grew up. Hardwood floors, a fireplace, black and white tile bathroom…are all here. But the best part is what surrounds the house…the trees and the birds! We have a mulberry tree in the back that the birds love to eat and I believe even get drunk from. We have had multitudes of birds, all types, along with squirrels chowing down on the delicious berries, all in harmony.
Our bird feeders help to supply the parties once the berries are all gone. These new friends have been my inspiration for my birdy bird designs. First came the pillows, then the bags and eyeglass cases. My aprons are a tribute to my grandmother who always looked so beautiful in her aprons while gardening or cleaning the house. She has been my major inspiration for my jennyjen products. She represents a period of time I wish to recreate with my designs. I have really loved doing the craft circuit. I love the feedback I have received from my customers at these shows. My best critics are ones under the age of 10! I haven’t painted in a while except in my classroom. I head the art department at Parkville High School where I teach the advanced studio classes. My students all want me to teach them how to sew! Perhaps in my next career. You can keep up with jennyjen’s thoughts, inspirations and goings on at my blog: jennyjen42.blogspot.com