Yesterday we kicked off the 12 makers of christmas with textile designer Rebecca Atwood, so today we’re switching things up. Allow me to introduce our second maker Jen Moulton, ceramicist, leatherworker and jewelry designer extraordinaire. I’m hoping “my true love sends to me” some of her beautiful accessories instead two turtle doves, and her ceramic vessels definitely make for better gifts than a partridge in a pear tree. Enjoy her full profile and wonderful holiday story!
tell us a bit about what you do – your process, your materials, what inspires and drives you.
I’m Jen Moulton, and I define myself as a maker. I particularly enjoy making jewelry, pottery, leather goods, and sewing myself an occasional piece of clothing. I’m inspired by the process of making – getting through the frustration of learning a new skill, getting lost in the hours of practice, and the moment when something clicks. As far as the objects I make, I strive to create functionally minimal objects. I love the idea of pursuing an extraordinary life (and the hard work that requires) and then being surrounded by cozy, beautiful objects during rest.
I’ve come to think this is a meaningful tidbit about my purpose – I’m the fourth generation in my family to own a small business. I think my desire to forge an independent path comes from my family, and while I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the process of being in uncharted territory, I can’t imagine it any other way.
I also love learning, I spend about ten hours a week in class studying with my mentors (jewelry + ceramics) and spend countless hours reading + researching on my own. I’ve learned to follow these rabbit holes because something new and interesting usually comes from them. I am always sending my family and friends a link to a new talk, podcast episode, article or object that made me think of them.
what is your favorite holiday tradition?
My favorite aspect of the holidays is enjoying cozy time with family, rest, and connecting over good food + quality time. The holiday traditions I grew up with have changed since I was a kid due to moving away for college and then work, but the constant has been scheduling time for rest, prepping for cooking comfort food and enjoying down time. Some years it includes travel to visit family, and some years (like this year) it’s just me and my husband and our pups staying home in Austin.
I’ve learned to enjoy both the times with family and also the times when it’s just us and we can have marathon couch days watching tv. The rest aspect is particularly rewarding after the busy holiday season of pop ups + sales/shipping. And I tend to get very reflective at the end of the year – take stock in my growth, what goals I’ve achieve and where I want to be this time next year.
what’s your favorite gift to give?
My favorite gift to give changes every year! I really like to spend time making an object that I think the recipient will enjoy – there’s nothing better than giving a well-fitting gift (I think my sisters have enjoyed the jewelry I’ve made them over the years!). When I can’t make a gift, I’m into functional, utilitarian gifts that are a bit escalated and handmade.
Right now, I’m really into linen sheets because I love anything that gets better with use. I’m also really (really really) into Rewined’s rosé candle. My friend Becky gifted me this wall calendar that’s helping me organize my new studio, and I think it’s perfect for entering the new year. For my new mom friends, I love giving them a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins. I’d love to gift a girlfriend one of Katie Armour’s handmade combs (I gifted myself one as an “early Christmas present” back in October). And I think one of Beth’s sketchbook pages would make a beautiful gift as well!
how do you maintain your creative process through the hectic holiday season?
I continue to learn how to manage the holiday work flow and maintain time for creative work! Every year I improve a bit more at being prepared. I definitely feel the sometimes overwhelming crush of the holiday season, though. I think one of the main things I’ve instituted to be more successful is to determine what I can actually accomplish and say no when I need to, and I’ve learned to be realistic and not hopeful when determining this boundary. My classes allow me time to practice my creative endeavors.
To be honest, at some point, the holidays become a grind and I just keep my head down and keep going. I like to plan a few treat projects/times after the final day of the shop being open/shipping orders out so I have something to look forward to!
any resolutions for the new year?
I’m still reflecting on this past year, but I think my resolutions will stay mostly the same:
- Less but better – do less so I can make better + spend time on what I really want
- Strong – continue to prioritize my health and strengthen my body
- Practice – practice my craft, practice the habits I want to have, practice the person I want to be
- More passion work – spend more time creating/making objects I’m passionate about
- Feel free – the flexibility and freedom that comes from having space (time, energy, etc.)
images via jen moulton.
Check out all 12 Makers of Christmas: all roads | candelles | colore´ grace | friedasophie | même | moulton | morning ritual jewelry | paper and clay | rebecca atwood | suite one studio | third eye assembly | yield design co.
Also, be sure to follow along on Pinterest as all 12 makers share even more of their amazing work!