I had the pleasure of working with Jane Odom of Studio Fuze not too long ago in real life. With her creative spirit and teaching heart, I didn’t find it too hard to believe that she created beautiful things by hand as well!
So without further ado… Meet Jane!
1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your creative business.
I am a weekend warrior with a family and a day job. I started in college as an art major but switched over to education thinking I wanted to be an art teacher. I took a special ed class and decided that was what I wanted to do. Although I incorporated art when I was teaching, it wasn’t until my kids got older when I got my first kiln. I began working with fused glass and just fell in love with the medium. When my oldest moved out, I began to use the room for a studio.
2. How did you happen to start your own business? Was there a particular motivation?
I had the opportunity to rent store space in an artist co-op. I got my business license and moved my work into the space as well as hosting classes there. I also began to do art shows on the weekends when possible. It was not as successful as I had hoped mostly because of my location in AZ. There are many retirement communities in my area – each with facilities for art classes. Many people would admire my work but say, “Oh, I can’t wait to try this at my community art center.”
3. Where do you find the creative inspiration for the new products you bring to life?
Six months ago, I found a larger kiln on Craig’s List. When I went to look at it, I realized it was for clay firing only. I bought it anyway and started learning about clay and ceramics. I also was lucky enough to find a Pottery Wheel for free on Craig’s List as well. Around this time, my husband had to stop working for health reasons and also had to give up driving. The store had shut down and my weekends became full of driving my kids to activities and doing all the chores that required driving (grocery shopping etc.) This was a perfect time to focus more on expanding my skills and not worrying so much about the business end. My husband encouraged me to just create for fun. Also, a new Art League started in my town (I previously was driving an hour to go to the Sonoran Art League) WHAM (What’s Happening Now Art Movement) was local and less competitive than the other ‘fine art’ league. This group focused more on community art rather than high sales. I was immediately accepted and love what they stand for. I also am around a variety of artists who don’t mind sharing their knowledge. I am learning so much and can now incorporate a variety of mediums in my work.
4. What would you like people to know about your wonderful products and services?
I don’t define myself anymore as a ‘glass artist’ or ‘clay artist’. I just do what I like. I now create using fused glass, mosaics, clay, multimedia, painting or a combination of any of the mediums. I still hold my day job, which I love, take care of my family but also create as a release of stress and just because it is too much fun. I also teach both children and adults. I try to get folks to let go of the thinking that art has to look like something, and embrace the process of creating. WHAM gives me a place to hold classes and get the word out. I love teaching almost as much as I love to create.
5. When you are not busy working, what do you like to do to recharge?
I am blessed to live in Arizona where our weather is amazing 9 months out of the year. I also live just 5 miles from the White Tank Mountains where there is a park with numerous trails. My down time is spent hiking the various trails both alone and with friends. To me, the beauty of the desert is something so calming and peaceful. I also do yoga which relaxes both my body and my mind.
6. Where can we find you on the internet?
Right now, I just have a Facebook page of my work called ‘Studio Fuze’. Folks will just message me there if they are interested in a piece or want a class. Again, since I am the caregiver of my husband and family, I really have not focused much on the business end of things. It may change in the future but for now, I barely have enough time to create.
Well Jane, I for one LOVE what you create and hope you find more time in the future! Thanks for sharing!!!
And thanks for reading!
Don’t forget to click Jane’s page here
and give her a little FB fan blog lovin’!!