PALMER — Local jewelry artist and Joyful Raven Creations owner Joy Fournelle participated in a question and answer interview at the final Friday Fling of the season to discuss how she started her business, her craft and general creativity.
Joyful Raven Creations sells handcrafted, Alaska themed jewelry. Each item comes with a handwritten story penned by Fournelle. She calls them “story strands.”
Q: So how long have you been a vendor at Friday Fling?“I started doing F Flings 2 years ago so this would be my third Fling.”
Q: Do you have anything else coming up?“At this point, I’ve literally got three shows left and that’s really what’s available... since we can’t go outside when it gets so cold.”
Q: When did you establish your small business?“I guess June of 2017 is when I technically started.”
Q: Your tagline is, “Each piece I create tells a story…” What does that process look like?“What I do is I take an idea, be it a landscape or something like the northern lights. I break it down... and I reconstruct it as a story strand... Something that you can touch and see… I’m constantly coming up with new ideas… It’s a process, a definite process, and a lot of thought goes into it.”
Q: How’d you start?“I had been working at Visit Anchorage and the commute was getting to be too much...I got a job out here... I fell back on something... whenever I’m stressed out about something I go back to beading. I started realizing there’s a lot of inspiration here... it kind of evolved from there.”
Q: How did you end up gravitating toward this particular path?“The more I saw myself as an artist the more this developed… It all just kind of melded together… Making a piece of art is creating your own parameters and saying I’m gonna make my own unique creation in those parameters. It’s amazing what comes out of that… I’m a storyteller. I just do it in more than one way.”
Q: How long does it usually take for a given project?“Once I figure out a pattern, I can pump several out in several minutes… Some patterns take up to two years to develop… I have over 30 different Alaskan patterns... and I’ve got about another 35 of other things like celtic knots… At some point you’re like, ‘you’re gonna run out of ideas’ but that’s never happened...”
Q: How’ve your general sales been?“Good and constantly evolving... even the years it’s kind of tough... I’m still doing kind of well… “It turns out people in Alaska like them better than the tourists do... they can share a little bit of Alaska with people outside… They can really identify with combat fishing and all those fun things that we do… It really kind of built on itself. I was very happy that it did.”
Q: What’s it been like growing your craft and small business in Palmer?“I think Palmer is a tremendously supportive community for small businesses in general. I think people here really care about the community… And it’s a great place to be an artist...Palmer being started by the Matanuska Colony… I think that somehow those people, their kids and their kids’ kids instilled that community spirit.”
Q: What do you think about Palmer’s creative scene?I think it’s a place that’s just constantly changing... Each year you see something new and unique that comes out of Palmer.”
Q: Why the name Joyful Raven?“Raven is a storyteller in the native extractions especially... I’m a raven lunatic. I just think they’re fascinating creatures... they like shiny pretty things… It just fits on so many levels… We each need those attributes, that different people have that are good at different things.”
Q: There’s many who wouldn’t consider themselves an artist or even creative, but do you think everyone needs a creative outlet?“Absolutely... I think everybody can find creativity in something.”
Joyful Raven Creations also offers custom work and Fournelle is always accepting requests from the community. Her work is available at numerous local outlets like Poppy Lane Mercantile and the Meadow Lakes Market. For more information, call 907-707-9919 or visit joyfulravencreations.com.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org