Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spotlight on walrustusk


Jennifer du Laney’s path has taken her from Fairbanks, Alaska to her current home in Tuscan, Arizona. Born and raised in Alaska, she moved, while in middle school to the lower 48, then back to Alaska to attend college.  After graduation, she and her new husband found themselves in Arizona when his job was relocated. Living in the United States, you can’t get much more extreme then going from Alaska to Arizona, and as she states in her etsy profile, “The dry desert air creates such a different environment where you can't help but be inspired. I have been exposed to different colors and textures that I think are reflected in my pieces.”

                                                               a few of Jennifer's hair clip and brooch designs

She and her husband share their home with one dog, 2 cats, and 2 turtles, all but one of the turtles are rescue animals. Jennifer’s father is a retired physics professor, and her late mother was a book editor. Still in Alaska, her stepmother is a dog musher and she and Jennifer’s father have an even larger menagerie of animals!

                                                                bee pin and frog barrette 

Her foray into beadwork began in middle school when she had a job working for an arts and crafts studio. She was able to take classes there, and beadwork looked interesting. She chose well, and when her grandmother gave her an old box filled with seed beads from the 1920’s she was hooked.
“The colors and the textures and feel of the beads were like nothing I had seen before.”
                                                                     beaded barrette               sage pleione earring

I asked Jennifer to explain a bit about her technique:
“I work with leather as a background medium for the beads and I pull that through a plastic embroidery hoop. I then use crimping pliers to yank the leather taught (like a drum). I use “sharps” needles as they hold up going through the tough leather. I sometimes draw out a design either using pencil or a stiletto onto the leather itself. After I am done beading the design I will cut out the shape I desire. I then complete the finishing touches or adding a backing and putting a plastic support if needed then sew them all together. Then voila bead work.”
Her “voila” would be my struggle to keep from poking my fingers…

Jen's craft room

When not working her bead magic, Jennifer enjoys cooking, knitting wool socks (one can only assume that even in Arizona, it’s hard to take the Alaska out of an Alaskan!)  More knitting is also on her to do list along with many other crafts too numerous to list. Perhaps 48 hour days would help in this case…

                                                              block beaded barrette

And if she couldn’t be creating her beadwork what would she be doing instead?
“I would spiral into depression. After pulling myself out of a pit of self-pity I would like to find a career that would have me traveling the world. I would love to go to markets in other countries to find treasures.” I hope you’ll get to do all of that Jen, but be sure and take your beading tools and supplies with you on your adventure!

You can see more of Jennifer’s work in her etsy shop, 

or follow her on Twitter at: WalrusTusk 


  1. Oh yes, best wishes to Jen, I think your bead work is pure art.
    Betsy, must say I look forward to these weekly interviews. Bravo !

  2. So lovely to get to know a bit more about Jen. Her beaded creations are really stunning!

  3. Jen your work is amazing a truly work of art
    your colors are beautiful.
    So nice to more about you.
    Thank you and Betsy for sharing

  4. Betsy you are simple amazing. I really appreciate all the hard work you did. Thanks so much you guys.Wishing everyone a good one.

  5. Jen is not only an amazing artist but also a sweet person. I admire her work and her treasuries!!
    Thank you Betsy for this lovely interview and congrats both for your hard work!
    Have a lovely weekend!

  6. nice to get to know Jen more - that's a big change from Alaska to Arizona! and I like your inspired work!
    Betsy you are doing a superb job with these interviews!

  7. This is such a wonderful interview!
    A very inspiring story and amazing work Jen!

  8. Jen's shop was one of my first faves when I joined etsy. I just love the subtle tones and colours you create. It's great to read more about you!

  9. Jen, I loved reading and learning more about you! Your artistry is so amazing! AND you are such a sweetheart! Betsy, another amazing interview!

  10. Great interview! I am a huge fan of Jen's beadwork! I'd love to watch her create one of her gorgeous pieces!