Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jennifer Manzella - Junkhaus Designs, Athens, GA

in Jennifer's words:
I am an artist living in Athens, Ga and I do a little of everything from prints to candles. My printmaking work is a mixture of monotype, etching, and relief processes. I've been a printmaker and an educator for the past five years that I've lived in Athens, Georgia. Currently I teach foundation art classes at Gainesville State College on the Oakwood Campus and printmaking classes at the Lyndon House Arts Center located near downtown Athens.

I've always had a real strong connection to the outdoors especially the woods and landscape of the east coast and hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2003. After that my work took on a very organic aesthetic and I began using patterns and textures from plants and local plant materials. I like to think that now I'm living off the land through my artwork and my craft.

I became interested in making books and paper-making while I was a graduate student at UGA and in a study-abroad program in Cortona, Italy during the summer of 2005. It was here that I started making paper out of natural fibers and plants then constructing books out of that paper. When I returned to Georgia I began transforming things such as Kudzu, Canna Lily, and Okra into books and sculptural installations.

For my handmade journals I use a drum leaf binding technique which is a non-sewn binding that opens flat and creates a beautiful, clean structure. The inside paper is 100% cotton rag paper. The covers of the journals are made with hand-printed rag paper and various handmade papers.

My candle-making craft developed in 1999 - 2001 when I worked for an independent handmade candle company called Burning Butterfly out of Union City, New Jersey. Since then I've been looking for cleaner and more ecologically balanced solutions to making candles using materials such as Soy wax and Palm wax. These are re-newable materials as opposed to the more commonly used Paraffin waxes which are petroleum based. The wonderful thing about Soy wax is that it burns clean (no soot), it cleans up with hot water and soap, and burns longer than Paraffin! I only use quality essential oils for the scents rather than synthetic fragrances.

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