Meet Jen! founder & owner

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...jen o'connor's...Artful Adventures & Daily Inspirations

I Love Art, Adore the Handmade and Treasure the Vintage. I am the Fun Mom, the Silly Friend and the Writer who wants to make more room for beauty in the everyday.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

love this lineup...so much talent

...as I get ready to do yet another show...another event...
I cannot help but look back over some of the hundreds....
yes, hundreds I have done over the years.
I did my first show for Earth Angels in 1994 ...
I had already done so many antique shows with my folks, 
but my very own first show was in '94 with the help of my friend Hillary Brown -- thanks again Hill...and I suppose this is all your fault!

Then in 2002, the year I was pregnant with Charlotte (who was born that December...) I did 36...yes 36 shows and appearances. Hard to believe there were actually that many to do across the country...antique shows, craft shows, convention showrooms, doll & bear shows, showcases, art parties and more...

Sigh...lots of memories...so many wonderful customer friends, so much talent out there to encounter and share, so many incredible handmade things, treasures and adventures for the Art Girls' RoadShow.

Among my fave things in all these shows are the lineup shots we do...
 Here are just a few of my faves. 
Can you recognize any of the events among these pics???


Sanford, Florida....

Minneapolis, Minnesota...

Columbus, Ohio...

Rhinebeck, New York...

 Saratoga, New York...
 
 Petaluma, California...

Saratoga, New York...
 

Lafayette, New Jersey...

Warwick, New York...

 San Luis Obispo, California...
 

Atlanta, Georgia...

Hudson, New York...

 Atlanta, Georgia...

Warwick, New York...

Hope to see you at on of our fall events!
Catch the calendar of appearances HERE!

xxoo Jen

Thursday, August 21, 2014

have you seen this...nice press in 2 of my fave mags

It a wonderful thing to share good news...

There are 2 nice features that I've just had published 
in 2 of my fave magazines...

You see, in addition to running this business,
(and running around like a crazy person some days...) 
I do a lot of editorial work on a lot of different magazines...
writing and or photographing about 25 pieces per year...
You can see all my PRESS here on the PRESS PAGE of the site.

But I also like to share the nice news via this BLOG...

Here's a peek at the piece I did on painter Jennifer Lanne in Flea Market Decor...

 


Congrats to Jennifer, it was a treat to celebrate her style.

And how fun is this...I photographed and wrote a piece for the Dutch magazine Daphne's Diary...on wonderfully talented Debrina Pratt.



...of course I cannot read this Dutch version...but I have seen the English proof and again, what a treat to be able to write and share images of the art and artists that inspire me.

A big thanks to the editors of these and all the magazines that come to me for contributions...it's a joy to be able to write and photo the artists of Earth Angels Studios and to have the opportunity to feature their style, talents and artistry...

Thanks for letting me share this nice news, and congrats to the artists on the well-deserved celebration of them!

xxoo Jen

Monday, August 18, 2014

hello DOG DAYS SALE hello Monday...

...it's the dog days of summer...
 
hello Monday and hello to keeping cool...
I'm trying to with a bit of a sale...

shop now and take 10% OFF SITE WIDE
...no exceptions...
now through 8/20
use code DOGDAYS at checkout

so hello to browsing the site...
 
hello to new new things and rethinking decor, 
collections and art...the impending change of season always does this for me...
 
hello to sitting in the AC when I need to be doing inventory...
 
hello to needing to get school supplies soon, but I just cannot bear the thought of the Fall schedule...

hello to cool drinks and taking it all a little bit slower in the heat...

hello to all of you...have a super week
xxoo Jen

Thursday, August 14, 2014

save the dates for our fall events....WOO HOO they are coming soon!

It's time to mark those calendars 
and save those dates....
We'll be headed Columbus & Atlanta SOON!
You can see the events page for more details
and tickets are available at StellaShows.com

And sure hope to see you there!!
These are our among our most fabulous and most treasured events and shopping experiences. Hope you can join us for the fun...

xxoo Jen

Monday, August 11, 2014

hello Monday...hello Polka Dots & Happy Stuff

Hello Monday. Let's take a peek at my week and what's new...

I'm thinking it's the the summer and 
the lack of schedule that's making me happy. 
Long summer days.
No plans.
Yes, still work and chores and life...
but the not having to be someplace at some time is just about perfect for me.

And I am happy too, because I have such nice news to share.
Congrats to Jo on another amazing issue!
And...
 
It's also great seeing good things happen for good friends....this is happy stuff.
So hello Monday...and hello to the feature in the new WWC 
on my friend Jennifer Murphy, 
the founder and creator of the Polka Dot Club.
 
I've worked with Jennifer for about 12 years....
I adore her creations, I've collected them personally and 
I've sold them on the site for years and years....

I admire her talent and I was thrilled to be able to feature her in my column "From the Studio" (thanks Jo Packham!!!) 

Hello to celebrating sure and certain talent...
and hello and thanks to those that share their talents 
with us through their amazing creations....

Hello to Jennifer's sweet handmade toys...
... with outfits to boot!

 Hello handmade bears
these are the heirloom playthings I wanted 
for my kiddos when they were small...
 Hello to things to cuddle...
 Hello to all of us who appreciate handmade....and support the industry...
Congrats again to you Jo & Jennifer!!!
XXOO
...you've made the week sweeter for me...

Hello to summer...can I stretch you out...

Hello to long, lazy days in the sun.

Hello to leaving dishes in the sink and taking a walk after dinner instead.

Hello to watching movies with the kiddos on the back deck.

Hello grill...I forget how to use the stove.

Hello to all of you...and have a super week...
xxoo Jen

Thursday, August 7, 2014

love summer reading??? then we'll give you free shipping

Love summer reading?
It's time to share a treat of an offer for the website....
 
Order any book or magazine 
&
we'll ship your entire order FREE
with code BOOKMAG all month long
 


Don't forget code BOOKMAG at checkout for
FREE STANDARD SHIPPING until 8/31 
 
Note, your order must contain a a book or magazine for us to ship it free...Thanks!

xxoo Jen







Monday, August 4, 2014

hello Monday...hello 5 generations

Hello Monday...

It's time to take a peek at the week ahead 
and all I can do is think sentimental thoughts.  
Maybe it's the long summer days...
maybe its the time I share between my kids and my folks..

But hello Monday...I am just in that type of mood.
This is my son Rory and my Mom, Rosie...Rory is the 5th generation of our family to hold this humble pottery plate....

So hello to a good story...and here we go...
note: I recently shared this story with my fellow members of NATS 
(The North American Torquay -- said Tor-Key BTW --- Society)....you heard more about them a few weeks ago HERE on another Hello Monday post...


When I was a little girl, young enough to still be taking naps in the afternoon, I would lie on my parents’ couch and look up at a shelf full of knick-knacks. I knew the most treasured object among them – despite its shabbiness -- was the old cracked plate. I loved the dull shine it had...of course I didn’t know what glaze or slip or sgrafitto was at time, and I could not yet read, but I knew the plate was very old and very dear to my Mom, Rosie. 

She loved it because it had been her grandmother’s – a woman who had been born in about 1850 and died before my Mom was born. This plate was her only link, the only thing she had to connect her to her father’s mother, a woman she had heard so many wonderful stories about. 

She displayed the plate on the shelf, moving it from apartment to apartment and house to house never knowing anything about it... guessing with its motto that it was a gift to her grandmother, or that she herself had purchased it since the words were meaningful to her.

Even as a little girl I had a reverence for the generations that came before me; I was aware that a simple object could connect us to each other.  So, despite being worn and showing age, old things enchanted me with their years.

Fast forward to Rosie’s glorious yard sale-ing adventures during my high school years! At a one in Queens, NYC she stumbled across a wee creamer with a cottage on it and she thought it was just cute. Snatching it up, she enjoyed it and soon found a few other pieces around in her many antiques and junking jaunts – cottages and a few scandy pieces, realizing that the leafy pattern was similar and had similar markings. She quite accidentally, had begun collecting Torquay pottery -- made in Devon, England.

Then, in 1987 we I was in England with my folks, I spotted a blue cachepot in the window of an antiques shop. The store was closed, but staying in the area, we went back the next day to investigate as I thought it was so pretty. 
Turning the pot over, we read “ROYAL TORQUAY POTTERY ENGLAND”.

When I read the motto, I was smitten with Torquay pottery forever…
it was literally speaking to me…
It reads:

Life is mostly froth and bubbles
Two things stand like stone
Kindness in another’s troubles
Courage in your own.


Can you see how I loved it as a teen making life decisions and choices and heading off to college soon? Understanding that it resonated with me, my parents bought it for me as my birthday gift – I turned 18 on that trip. I treasure it…and the memories of discovering it and falling in love with it.   

From then on I hunted up the pottery as I could, discovering so many wonderful patterns from shamrocks to scrolls...Persian and Kerswell Daisy...sigh...
I collected as I could on limited funds and with 
such limited access to it pre-internet.
 
The irony in all this…all that time…during our growing affection for and collection of Torquay pottery, that plate I stared at all those long afternoons when I was supposed to be napping -- my Great Grandmother's plate was Torquay pottery!

Going deeper into collecting -- and being obsessed with handmade things and how they are made -- it was the history of the potters and potteries that made the pieces truly beloved to me. Studying fine art and metropolitan studies and design I was drawn – and still am – to the pottery that came from this region --  in particular what was made before WWII....
 
Through graduate school in Urban Planning and my early professional career I specialized in regional economic development, working to make communities better, more viable by cultivating local resources and thus more livable through job creation and local industry. I knew then that the development of the potteries in Devon was synonymous to my own work and felt closer to the history of the potteries and the handmade creations that emerged from them.

 I often muse that Torquay has always been a part of my life. 
It connected me to my family’s past, it brought me joy in its own beauty and fine workmanship, and it’s clearly provided endless inspiration for me in my career and work.
 
So hello Mom....I am ever grateful to you and so glad I inherited your  appreciation for old things. 

Hello to making life more interesting and meaningful through collecting and the wonderful folks we meet along the way.

Hello cabinets filled with pottery and thinking about the hands that turned and painted these things so many years ago...

 Hello to sharing a story...every handmade object has one of who made it and where it came from...

Hello to loving old things...worn and aged...they can still be dear...

Hello to all of you...
xxoo Jen
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