By Carol McCracken
Jen Burrall’s studio and silver jewelry boutique is at the bottom of the Hill on Washington Avenue. In that location, she designs and makes high quality jewelry that is sold all over the country. When MHN met with her recently, she’d just returned from her latest craft show in New Jersey. “It was okay,” she said. “I was glad to be there because this show is was a very competitive show to get into,” Jen added.
Jen attends about twelve or thirteen shows a year to present her newest line of merchandise to buyers. She attends shows in Maine, Philadelphia, New York State and in Massachusetts. That’s the best way for her to market her distinctive jewelry. Starting last fall and continuing up until several months ago, Jen was quite nervous about the economy and the effect it was having on her small business. But recently, she’s become optimistic again because her business is improving.
She makes long necklaces, earrings, mens’ bracelets and rings. For her signature ring, Jen wraps silver wire around and around a stone to make a “nest” for the stone to sit in. She uses many different stones and different shapes – including fresh water pearls. She has six different designs for the ring bands. Jen makes a lot of special orders for customers who’d prefer a specific stone in a specific setting. There are many choices to pick from and they can be seen at her boutique. Jen “loves the sawing, hammering and soddering” her craft entails. MHN could not resist buying one of her signature rings with a semi-precious stone – a kyanate at its center – and this 67 year old grandmotherly type loves wearing it.
Jen’s family tree includes women who are talented artists and so she draws inspiration and encouragement from them. Her mother, an artist, encouraged her creativity. Dating back to high school, she was stringing beads on leather. She’d spread out a blanket in the parking lot of Grateful Dead concerts and sell her beads. That was in the 90’s in California. She was a studio art major at Montana State in Bozeman. After an apprenticeship, Jen returned to Maine in 2002. Then, in 2005 she opened her boutique at 76 Washington Avenue.
“I actually get to work in a field I love. I get to bring my dog (Rita, 3 year old lab) to work and make a living here,” she said. Her price range starts at $30.00 and goes up to $500.
Please visit www.jenburralldesigns.com for more information or call her at 772-1902.