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Artist profile: Jean Hutter

Artist: Jean Hutter
Business name: Totally Twisted
Location: Lakewood, NJ and Lake Ariel, PA

Websites & Blogs:
Jean Hutter Beads blog
Totally Twisted etsy shop
Totally Twisted 1000 markets shop

Jean, how do you describe your work?
My work is constantly evolving and changing. I would describe it as eclectic – a little of this and a little of that. I enjoy beadweaving, bead embroidery, stringing and wire work. I started with wire hence the name Totally Twisted. I don’t work with wire as much any more but I think the name still fits me. I see my work evolving to include more natural and found objects – I would also like to start using fabric in my jewelry.

What is your creative process like?
Well I usually work on one thing at a time and I like to know what I may be working on next. I have a list of things I would like to try or make and I sometimes pick from the list, other times I just jump in and see what develops from random beading – kind of like doodling with beads. I hardly every draw out an idea or a design – just pick up the beads and go with it. I do have some idea of what I want the finished piece to be – not that I always achieve success – I have had a necklace turn into a bracelet and vice versa.

I work on an old computer desk and I like to have lots of room to spread things out so I can mix and match. I usually work in small blocks of time – I am not a marathon beader – my eyes and back can’t take that anymore.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I am a fine artist and I paint large abstracts on canvas. I have been doing artsy things for as long as I can remember. I started looking at making jewelry about 4 years ago as a “nice little hobby”, something to do in between painting. I took some classes at my local bead store, bought a lot of books and magazines, learned beadweaving stitches, etc. My “nice little hobby” has turned into a big obsession and a room filled with all kinds and colors of beads.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
Since the majority of my work right now is beadweaving I would have to say Fireline.

What inspires you to create?
It would be hard to pinpoint what drives my need to create. Whether it be beading or painting I would describe it as a need. I love to look at nature – the colors and texture. I love fabric – colors and patterns.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
This is an interesting question as I often find myself in a creative slump. I constantly question my direction and I have had periods that I find it very difficult to bead or to paint. The major thing that keeps me going is I know it will pass – I know my best work is to come. I sometimes think these slumps are actually the start of a growth period or a chance to learn something new – so I just keep plugging along. Eventually I get over it and make something that I think is pretty darn good and I am happy again.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Enjoy the journey. Study, take classes, ask questions, look at other people’s work but above all keep working. Do not compare your work to others – you are unique and your work should reflect that and above all else have fun!

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
Gee I wish I could say marketing – I am good at creating, marketing not so much. This is something I need to focus on. I am married and have 3 cats. We have a house at the Jersey Shore and in the summer a lake house in PA. I enjoy reading, cooking and just chilling out. Funny thing is I never get away from the art – if I am not physically doing something I am creating in my head.

What’s your favorite comfort food?
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

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