From There to Here: The Making of a Professional Artist
Tucked into a cul-de-sac off of Wertzville Road lies an art studio opening doors to a variety of people interested in new forms of artwork and joining a community of artists. “Charmed I’m Sure,” owned by Jean Van Brederode, offers the opportunity to artists and others to try new approaches and explore the worlds of enameling, mixed media and jewelry making in a fun and funky environment. As the culmination of several years of searching for the answer to “What next?” Jean has settled into a niche where she feels she has found her calling not only in her own artwork, but helping others to, as she puts it, “find their tribe”.
Van Brederode’s quest began after retiring from 34 years of teaching in public schools. Family duties called, leaving her with the time to experiment with a variety of art forms. After trying quilting then weaving, she started taking classes to try to find the thing that “would carry her through” a retirement destined to be as interesting and expressive as her teaching career. She has settled into enameling, making individual pieces of jewelry and experimenting with techniques to put her own spin on a classic form.
Despite being retired, Van Brederode couldn’t give up teaching. With an amazingly organized studio space, she can accommodate up to 12 students with tools and supplies provided at a rate that covers the materials involved. Folks can experiment with techniques and styles that they have heard about without the investment in special tools. As artists, they can focus on originality and expression.
Jean talks about her journey from teacher to artist and back to teacher as inspiring. Describing the process as organic, it is hard to miss the passion and deep thoughtfulness that Jean has brought to her dream.
Describing herself as an artist first, Jean has, through her commitment to deliberation and flexibility, pinpointed for herself the perfect second career sharing creativity, her own through her art work and jewelry pieces while helping others open up to their own creativity. She proves the old adage about taking care of yourself first as her experimentation with various forms has given her an unique perspective on the artistic process.
Her studio, decorated with the work of multiple artists met through her travels, reflects this. A veritable feast for the eyes, the studio is lined with neatly labeled boxes of tools and supplies.
The centerpiece is the giant worktable, which seems to best typify Jean’s philosophy. Surrounded by inspiration, the table is set up to be conducive to conversation with lots of room to work but equally important, lots of room to see what everyone is doing and to chat.
Jean has also ventured into the world of online classes. Her DVD, “To the Moon and Back”, available from The Marketplace at Artful Gatherings, belies the notion that technology is beyond the more mature members of society. To create this class, Jean created a video set and taught herself all the various software programs necessary to produce a great video detailing how to make one of her characteristic abstract pieces. She has her own YouTube channel with a variety of techniques explained and demonstrated, all made in her home studio.
From a wandering soul to an accomplished artist and instructor, Jean’s path is an outgrowth of her love for art and artistic endeavors. She describes herself primarily as a facilitator in her role as studio owner bringing people together for art. She has allowed herself the freedom to experiment and in doing so, has created a space for others to also do so. This space has “channeled itself” evolving into a meeting place for artists, both local and national, to meet with others, sharing their work and their various crafts. Jean’s search for the thing that would “carry her through” has provided a path for expression not only for Jean but also for those she comes in contact with as she shares her knowledge and space with others.
Her work has been published in several magazines, including Belle Armoire Jewelry, Greencraft and Cloth Paper Scissors. She has produced videos of her work and techniques and brought to life an art form, enameling on metal, that she has stamped—pun intended—with her own brand of expression. With the goal of gainful occupation without the constraints of perfectionism, Jean says she has “been sucked into the vortex” of creativity as her studio and work has evolved. She shares from her heart the joy and passion of her jewelry techniques while opening space for other forms, other artists and novices to experiment, create and connect.
Claiming “life did it,” Jean and her studio show that getting from there —what to do—to here—what are we doing today—can evolve with some heart, a lot of passion and faith in the rightness of a sometimes unclear path.