I am absolutely honored and ecstatic to once again be apart of selling my textiles and jewelry at the Spring CraftHer Market for Boss Babes ATX, on Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 @ Faire Market! Please stay tuned for this years collection and all of the other wonderful things happening with Jen Lovena & our free crafting workshops Handmade with Love!
I have been working on my Fresh Vintage Collection for the past two years and I have finally come up with some awesome samples. My inspiration comes from a number of old vintage fabric swatches I have collected throughout the years, mainly from the 1960's and 70's.
I recently took a ceramics class that helped me explore the Color Field Art form. I immediately fell in in love with the work of Jack Bush who’s work is incredibly bright and filled with color. Here is one of my favorite pieces dubbed "Red Square." After observing many pieces from his works I began to experiment on my own using a tool on my tablet that offers artist techniques on its platform. I wanted to see if I could capture an emotional response from a few pieces I created. My goal for this experiement was to explore vibrant color and how it makes one feel.(See below)
I'll be sharing my current collection of designs at the CraftHer event on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 from 11am - 5pm. This is my third time hosting a vendor table in Austin and I am so excited to share what I have been working on, stay tuned for a sneak peak!
Clearly if black women want to be about the business of collective self-healing, we have to be about the business of inventing all manner of images and representations that show us the way we want to be and are.
- bell hooks (Sisters of the Yam)
Using paint swatches and colored paper I first developed the lips wanting to make them a bold feature and the primary focus of these images. Initially I hesitated because I too have mixed feelings about presenting images of black people with larger then life features that can be misconstrued as negative and or stereotypical caricatures. The lips became my focal point because I wanted to counter the negative images/representations by presenting them as one of the many beautiful features that Black people in America have.
The story behind these images...
A couple of years back I encountered an uncomfortable situation on the bus regarding my choice of lip shade, apparently it was too bright for a few onlookers. I shrugged it off and viewed it as just haters hating, but after it happened again, this time from two young sisters, I began to question where this unpleasant association with black women wearing bright lip shades originated.
I had not always worn bright lip colors, but having lived in Atlanta, GA for about two years I rediscovered and embraced the beauty techniques of my fellow southern sisters and began to really take chances with makeup techniques that made me stand out.
What I learned from the negative encounters involving my choice of lip color is that the history of black women's beauty in America had been skewed by past blackface entertainment and racist archetypes that were meant to demean and distort the beauty of black people. These distortions included white and black performers using burnt cork and shoe polish to blacken ones skin and exaggerate their lips using bright red or white paint to represent how dark and big lipped black men, women, and children were. These negative archetypes included the coon, pickaninny, mammy, Mandingo, and many more that generalized black people as primitive, ignorant, and ugly. The archetypes shaped American society, and this perception towards black people has had lingering affects, including my encounter of uncomfortable onlookers.
Taking action to change the perception that black people are beautiful no matter what helped me to create my collection of “Brown Girl, Bright Lip." I began to cut out the faces of black women in magazines in all skin shades and lip colors and used these images to develop my artistry. I wanted to present my view of black beauty, and loved the idea of using abstraction along with bright colors and bold shapes to create the images here. In my work I see us (black people) as sharp, colorful, and bold. Even with the current no makeup movement I stand in solidarity with black people who just want to be, whether they are natural or made up, the discussion regarding black beauty needs to move towards true freedom of self-expression and actualization.
Finally, the perfect tote sample is finished! I will be testing this bag during the winter months to ensure it is made to perfection before production starts. Your feedback is always welcome!
For years I have wanted to create the perfect tote bag. And I finally found a fabric warehouse in Atlanta that offers a huge variety of canvas, tweed, and pvc fabrics that offer structure, durability, and most of all ease. I made this bag about two weeks ago with a tweed fabric and its great, but I am working on making it perfect!
My artistic process begins with basic research and observing like minded artists and mindful individuals. Books are my foundation, because they provide a fuller picture for life in general.
Art, Life, & Nature are interchangeable in my world and I believe in order to produce amazing beauty, one must actively pursue and seek self-actualization. Essentially, I have a ton of craft/design books and a ton of self-help books, and plenty of love and support from myself and others to help produce the greatest work I can on a daily basis. In addition I also meditate, practice yoga, and daily I take long nature walks that inspire my creativity. These tools enhance my awareness of the vastness of the universe, while acknowledging my quest for inner peace and love.
Here is what I am reading, right now...
Paper to Petal
by Rebecca Thuss & Patrick Farrell foreward by Martha Stewart
I originally discovered this book while reading one of my favorite magazines, Martha Stewart's Living J/F 14. The colors and creativity popped out of the pages so I added the article to my home crafts workbook.
While browsing in the library the other day I just happened to run into this book and did not even realize the magnitude of possibilities for paper flower making!
Recommendation: Easy instructions, amazing photos, and a billion ideas! Love this book
Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing & Fabric Crafts
It is always worth it to go back to the basics. It reminds me of why I do what I do. The simplicity of handcrafts is astonishing and the great thing about crafting is a lot of times it doesn't cost you a dime. Most things I end up crafting are already there, possibly in another form, but there to be used further. This is the gem in handmade, using what you already have and enhancing it or creating something completely new.
Recommendation: Love Martha, she is a true pioneer for handmade and American Made. Making things is empowering and gives people purpose. Beautiful Photos, Basics for Beginners, Over 200 craft ideas! This book is invaluable and I recommend buying it!
The Good Stuff from growing up in a dysfunctional family
by Karen Casey
Apparently about 98% of us have some sort of dysfunction with in our families. Karen Casey spells it out by simply telling her own story and countless other thoughtful stories of people she met during her own recovery. This book takes you from experiencing harsh criticism to child abuse so the spectrum is endless and touches every type of family there is.
Recommendation: Excellent read if your seeking thought provoking testimony, mindful approaches to living life, and a positive outlook on you're family ties.
See the comments from my original post at the old BlogSpot http://www.jenlovena.blogspot.com
Photos taken at Clayton State University
I love saying that things are vintage, it brings a sense of history and maybe even understanding to a place or thing. I started this blog because I realized it takes being vulnerable and putting yourself out there to form true connection and understanding.
As an artist I have always loved the idea of being a recluse and playing off that whole "mysterious cool" thing. I realize its cooler to share. Share your work, wether someone sees it or not. Share your life seasons in all weathers. Speaking honestly through poetry and singing the praises of nature and its awe. I love sharing, I love connecting, learning, and most of all understanding. This is why I will continue to share my adventures and I am looking forward to seeing you on the ride!
View my humble and jumbled beginnings and see how this whole thing started!
Jennifer Lovena on BlogSpot 2011 - 2014
gratitude and kindness
maybe even open-mindedness,
thoughtful with ones thoughts,
i hope this Christmas I get socks!
This past week I have been opening myself up to a new way of seeing and being in the world. For one I have been listening so much more then I used to while using body language to express my emotions around others.
I see and hear many things that would normally get me down and sway my mood, but I've decided to let go of these trivial matters that may seem hopeless, choosing instead to see light and to bask in the present moment.
I am practicing the art of mindfulness and being fully aware of the thoughts that regulate my mood and dictate where I take my life. This has helped me to connect fully with others, and you know what?
i am so much happier...
Recently I had the privilege to attend an invite only fashion/style networking group at Scenario Lounge in Buckhead. I almost convinced myself not to go because my designs are audacious, but when it comes to networking and meeting new people, like many artist, I'm extremely private and reserved when in new social settings.
Here are some ideas that helped me push through the discomfort.
1. Look and dress the part of whatever you're aspiring to become and never under sell yourself or abilities
2. Connecting, artist love Instagram and it's a fast way to connect with other aspiring designers and potentially share and see their work and vice versa. Have business cards at the ready, but the real connections come when emails and phone numbers are given.
3. Smiling and general excitement can make people at ease and more inclined to speak with you because you're a friendly face :)
4. Following up with those who made an impact is key to developing your network and moving forward with your venture (email, phone call, coffee meeting). If anything commit to at least one connection to contact after the event.
5. Finding the right group of people to network with is key. I really got lucky on this one, I was invited by the host after he over heard a convo on my phone about my bags. To my delight the group was made up of serious designers, models, photographers, and entertainment industry insiders. Individuals directly linked to my target market.
Bonus: I realized that artist should always be talking about their work, you never know who is listening...
These past few months of uncertainty and lack of focus has lowered my confidence level. Still feeling a bit confused about which road to go down, but I'm getting out there and doing things hoping it will lead to further inspiration and guidance.
This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity in assisting The Fashionista Next Door with an amazing fashion show at the Twelve Hotel in Atlanta. The fashion show presented a wonderfully diverse group of black women in the latest Fall fashions and served as entertainment for the Center of Black Women's Health & Wellness Conference.
I loved it! Having been out of the loop for way to long my spirit felt so in the right place. It reiterated to me that style and fashion is so much more then physical, its attitude! Feeling confident and exuding that confidence no matter what your wearing is the key to succeeding and moving forward in ones life.
I was totally in my element and felt truly connected, I also had a bit of a modeling excursion myself.