TAG Treasury Team

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Featured Shop of the Week: Jill's Joy!

Jill, of Jill's Joy, grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, the fourth of five children and “one half of a set of twins named - you guessed it! - Jack and Jill,” she says with a laugh.

Reared in college-preparatory Catholic school, Jill felt creatively stifled. The all-girls high school she attended didn't even have an art teacher until she was a Senior. After begging her parents to let her attend public school so she could study more art and history, a compromise was reached. During her Junior year, her folks arranged for her to take art classes at night.

In her Freshman year of college, Jill began to explore her creative talents by taking a few art courses. However, her parents were not supportive of her pursuing a career in the arts. “They admonished me to stay focused on subjects that could bring me a real way to support myself.” She delayed declaring a major until her third year as an undergrad. The only subjects she liked well enough to major in were seen as leading to “no end” in her parents’ eyes.

“Since I was paying my own tuition, I finally decided to go with history,” she remembers. “A Bachelors degree in History got me a job in a bank, which I hated.” She went back to school to get an education degree, but the resulting teaching job afforded her just enough money to either pay for a car or pay rent, not both. After receiving her Master's degree in History, Jill took a summer job that lasted 22-years - and led her to a career in research and management.

“I worked for the US National Park Service as a Research Historian, Park Planner, Program Manager, and Park Manager. I loved it! It had a wonderful combination of creativity plus facts, interest plus influence. I was in my element as a researcher, writer, teacher, planner and manager - usually most of those things at once. Every day was an adventure.”

Due to government cutbacks, Jill and many other professionals were “released” from their government positions in 2001. “I decided to feed my creative side,” recalls Jill. She learned custom framing while working at a framing shop and taught at a local art studio. “During this past year,” she says, “I’ve been increasingly devoted to ‘quitting the day job’ and making my art the focus of my interests - beyond my family, of course.”

“My favorite of all of my recent pieces is this mosaic bowl entitled ‘Scattered Thoughts.’ It portrays all of the jumble of things going on in my head - bits and pieces without beginning or end.”
“My coordinating art pieces are also fun.”

“I'm into a new palette with warm browns and oranges.”

“Every time I see something, I want to translate it into art. For example, the folded paper decorations I saw in a store became folded paper earrings in my shop.” Jill feels her greatest talent is the “willingness to try almost anything - the ability to visualize - to figure out how to do something, and to follow through. If something doesn't work, try something else,” she says. “I once had a mentor tell me, ‘Whatever commitment you make - in time, in money, in anything - is worth everything it costs to keep it. Follow through on your commitments.’ I believe in this strongly.”

Jill began making jewelry in the 1990s, as she was studying metalworking, glass and silk-painting. “I finally realized I was an artist when I learned to accept the serendipity of my efforts,” says Jill. “I finally understood that art is not science; it does not produce certain predictable results when specific factors are controlled. I learned the use of the tools, I learned the properties of the materials, but I still couldn't fully predict the results. Art is like life. When you start, you never know how you will finish. The joy is in the journey.”

Interview and article by Linda Loca of Fire Grog Studio


  1. Wonderful story Jill! Thank you for sharing! I just love learning aobut and "meeting" the people behind the FSPs!

  2. Nice to meet you Jill and learn a little bit about you!


  3. It is nice to learn more about the lady behind the beautiful artwork that we see. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  4. Fabulous testimony, I'm a late bloomer myself, but then again all of us are finally fulfilling what we love to do the most is "STARVE!" LOL! Just joking, I wish you the BEST!


  5. Your work is wonderful and so colorful, Jill! I really admire your creativity and taste. It's great to have you on the team. :)

  6. What fun to put a face to these fun collectionw that we have been creating all week! You have such an interesting history and working for the US National Park Service was a dream I once had too! I love the parks, hence why so many of my bracelets are named after them!

    Your work is so creative, bright and beautiful!

    Thank you for giving us a little peek in to the real Jill!


  7. Nice to meet you Jill :D
    Your works are bright and colorful, great creations.


  8. Jill, I love your work. You're truly talented.


  9. Wonderful story Jill! So true about art and not science! Your work is beautiful! - Jacquie

  10. Jill, it's so nice to hear your story. I have to say, everybody I've ever known who's worked for the Parks Service has been SOOOO interesting! But I'm so glad you're able to work your creative side now, because you've got such a great imagination! Love your mosaics!

    xo from FarFlungCards

  11. Wonderful story! Beautiful work! ~ Christina

  12. Jill, it is so nice to meet you and learn about you. I admire your mosaics and love your art!

  13. Loved reading this and learning more about Jill...your Thanksgiving deco work is outstanding and I love how you find the serendipity which is evidenced in your paper earrings...who would have thought? Yet they are so playful and beautiful. So happy to meet you.