Hello! Who are you? Give us the 411 about yourself.
Hi there! I'm Jenn, but my friends call me Jenn Bot. I've been making polymer clay sculpts since I was a youngin', but recently my fiance, Tony, has joined me in my venture. Together we run lubu where we sell original sculpts, customzied toys, digital art, and in the near future, buttons.
When/how did you start your business?
I had just left my job at a day care center when I started to get back into creating with polymer clay. Like a lot of people, I randomly stumbled upon etsy while idly wasting time on the internet and the rest is history. For as long as I can remember I've made characters from polymer clay, so being able to share them for the past 4 years with people all over the globe feels really great.
When I'm not physically creating things, I'm most likely brainstorming new ideas with Tony of what to create next. We constantly have to consciously take breaks from art because the last thing we want to do is burn out. So on our down time we love visiting the Cincinnati Zoo, the aquarium, and hitting up the local toy shop/record store for inspiration. We also love meeting up with our friends because it's so important to have a support system and be able to talk and laugh about things that aren't related to business. It keeps us grounded.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Whether I realized it at the time or not, I think I've always been an artist. It took me many years to be able to come to terms with calling myself an artist, but now it feels really nice to be able to own it.
What inspires you?
I have a passion for vinyl art toys and the toy scene. I also love the colorful and kawaii nature of Japanese culture. But the most inspirational place I have ever been is Walt Disney World. As soon as I'm on property I can feel the creativity pulsing and it really charges me up. Every single thing about Disney World plays into an overall story and I love it. In fact, it inspires me to the point where I actually yearn to go back over and over again!
What's your favorite thing about your craft?
I love being able to bring to life the characters that live in my mind. Whether they come to fruition as a polymer clay piece, a graphic, or a customized toy, it always makes me proud to see them looking back at me. I often wonder how they interact with one another when I'm not looking.
I spend hours at my bright red peanut shaped desk nestled between two windows in the corner of our mash-up studio/bedroom. All of my materials are at my fingertips and I'm a stone's throw from Tony's workspace. Our work setup encourages collaboration between the two of us and we find that it works well for us.
What's your favorite music to listen to while you work?
My music selection is always changing, but when I find something I like I tend to listen to it until I can't tolerate it anymore. It's kind of a vicious cycle! Currently I'm really big on Sleigh Bells and Pomplamoose, but I'm always up for some Dave Matthews Band, Guster, Muse or Ben Folds. Though if I'm being truly honest, I can't help but get hooked on really cheesy pop music as well. Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, anyone?
It's hard to choose just one favorite thing, but I think I'll choose something both Tony and I have in common which is hoarding-I mean collecting-vinyl toys. One of our many dreams is to have one of my sculpts turned into an art toy, so we have shelves packed with them. Each toy carries a story sharing a little bit about the artist, the character and the artist's inspiration and I love that.
If you could have one wish granted for the craft community, what would it be?
It always upsets me to hear people degrade artists for selling their wares for "too much" when they're obviously uninformed about the time, effort and heart that go into creating handmade items. Pricing can be a tricky subject for artists, but I truly wish we could price our items at what we feel they're worth and have that be acceptable to others. Artists shouldn't have to be starving artists!
You can check out more of Jenn Bot's work in her etsy shop.