Today I'm kicking off a new series here on the Such Cool Stuff! blog, where I visit with the proprietors of independent shops. For our first installment we hear from Jenmaestre, an artist who creates unique jewelry and sculptures out of colored pencils.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I've been working with pencils, making sculptures, since 1999.
The building where I work, ArtSpace Maynard, has open studios every October, and I was trying to think of what small items I could make to sell to people who came by, to defray the costs of open studios. So, I used the most obvious materials at hand- pencils!
That is how I started making pencil jewelry.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
My favorite thing to do is play with art materials, and experiment on new ideas with none of the pressure of having the outcome be ultimately useful or for sale.

That, and sleep. :)

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your shop?
This year, it has been trying to keep my shop well-stocked; since I have the solo show coming up, I've really had to concentrate on my sculptures.

What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
I'd love to have any item! I think any gift that is bought from an independent crafter is a super gift, but of course, I am biased.
I'm going handmade all the way this Christmas.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
When I was really little, I wanted to be a whale.
I thought, when I was a little older, that I'd be a scientist, or an archaeologist.

What other shops out there do you love?
Oh, so many!!! Here are a few I've shopped more than once from.

Red Thread Books

What does your future hold?
I think next year will be crazy, since I have a few shows coming up, and I hope I'll be able to travel all across the US going to openings. :)

You can learn even more about her at her personal website,, or by visiting her etsy store. She will also be having a solo show of her major sculptures at Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA, in Dec. 2008.