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  TONIA JENNY  

Tell us about your journey as an artist.

     As the daughter of a broody artist, my mother often encouraged me to be a writer when I grew up (she always appreciated my bad poetry), but I preferred making visual art to writing. So, I chose to study art—visual communications (early 90s speak for commercial art) at Western Washington University. It was fun and rewarding and to this day, I love what I learned about printing, typography, photography, and design. I graduated and instead of stepping into a budding career as a graphic artist, I decided to take a year to ease into the field and became a picture framer. I remained a picture framer for ten years. As it turned out, picture framing satisfied both halves of my brain. I got to measure things and be a creative designer all in one day!

     After ten years of framing, I decided maybe I should try to get a grownup job and I spotted an ad in the newspaper (we still looked at printed papers for things such as employment back then) for an associate editor with an imprint that published art and craft books. As a craft book junkie, this intrigued me! Did I have “Experience” as a writer and/or an English degree? Nope. Did I apply anyway? Yep. For nearly a year (maybe more?), I sent in application after application to the HR department but received no response.

     Finally, I thought screw it; what do I have to lose? and I shipped them an unorthodox resumé which was a box of merit badges, similar in concept to what Girl Scouts of my era would earn. Each pin-backed badge was crafted from shrink plastic and mounted on a printed card that explained the name of the badge and how it was earned. These accomplishments were in line with the reasons I knew I could work on art and craft books in terms of design/writing skills, with a passion for the subject matter, and with my experience as a person who’s great to work with. Within a week of sending that package in, I was hired. As it turned out, I may not love writing, but I do LOVE editing.

     I loved my stint as a book editor for an established publisher. After about seven years into the work, though, I was already longing to be my own boss and continued to dream about it for the next five years of my employment. As they say, careful what you wish for! After thirteen years in that job, I was laid off in a reorganization.

     With no idea what being my own boss would mean (what would I do exactly, and how would I do it?), I now had the motivation (putting food on the table) to actually figure it out. Three years later, I continue to explore how to serve others in ways that bring me joy, and I’m continually delighted by new twists and turn along the road. I can’t say for certain what I’ll be doing to earn money five years from today, but for now, I’m enjoying helping creatives figure out how to share their message of inspiration. Whether it’s through self-publishing or some other means such as a podcast, blog, or YouTube channel.

     I also love sharing what I know about making in the form of online art/craft courses and in-person workshops. In all outlets, I’m giddy about helping people discover the most rewarding ways for them to use their unique gifts and be of service in the world. Never doubt that you’re accumulating your own impressive box of merit badges along your journey, whether you’re currently knee-deep in your dream job or not.

     You have an innate radiance; a light intended to illuminate specific areas of darkness in this world, in ways intended for no one but you. I am passionate about encouraging you to remember this. My mission is to guide creative individuals in refining their unique messages of inspiration and offerings, while determining the best means for them to share it. 

What work / programs do you offer?

     I offer editorial, writing, and coaching services to support you in your expressions of service. I also offer online art and craft courses to encourage you to try something different, while discovering new things about yourself that light you up.

     As a muti-passionate creative, I decided early on it was probably best to just use my name as my business, knowing that the business description itself would likely change colors more than once. That said, I support creatives in a few ways. I help them find the best words to describe their businesses, whether that means with web copy, downloadable offerings, or newsletters.

     I help them demystify the publication process if they long to self-publish a book but have no idea how to go about it, including content organization, editing, book design, and navigating a chosen POD outlet. Additionally, I offer coaching and consulting services with a life-purpose specialization and a spiritual slant. Lastly, I offer a wide variety of art/craft courses—online and in-person. I believe the act of making things has much to teach us about our inner workings and it brings me joy to create courses that not only produce pretty, artful things, but that leaves us appreciating ourselves even more once we’ve completed a project.

Where can we contact you + see more of your work?