After graduating from Towson University, Juliet Ames found herself working at a local arts council. Ames became bored being behind a desk.
The Baltimore crafter wanted to make art all day just like the resident artists she would see on a daily basis. Ames decided it was time to explore her inner artsy self.
“Six months after my last college project, I decided to try my hand at a mosaic and was left with a pile of unused plate shards,”Ames said. “I wrapped one in solder, hung it from my neck and wore it to work. I started to get orders that same day. I’ve been breaking plates ever since. A few months later, I was talked into doing my first craft show. It was a huge success and I put in my 2 weeks notice at the arts council.”
Since leaving her day job, Ames has created her own business, The Broken Plate Pendant Co. However, the plate breaking business woman never thought she would be breaking stuff for a living.
“Never crossed my mind,” Ames said. “I am too practical to think that I would ever get to make stuff for a living. I did art in college to satisfy my creative bug and to get a degree. I went into the non-profit world to have a practical post college job, but that only lasted a year. I was really lucky to stumble upon my niche so soon.”
What do you love about being a BEST member?
Being a BEST member has been amazing. You could not ask for a better support system. It is not as easy as it sounds to work from home alone all day, but knowing that these wonderful women are only a click away makes things a lot easier. As an added bonus, I don’t think I could have made it through the terrible twos with my son without their sage advice.
Besides working on The Broken Plate Pendant Co. , you have a cool line Mutha Crafter. When did you start that? How important do you think it is to encourage children to be crafty and embrace the arts?
I started that idea when I got pregnant with my son. I was cranky and pregnant while doing a craft show when I mumbled to my neighbor, “I am the craftiest chick here, I am making a baby!”
At the next craft show, I hand painted a shirt that said “I’m so crafty, I make people” and everyone got a huge laugh and asked me to make one. The rest is history. I think it is SO important for kids to be crafty, heck, they are craftier than any of us. I think that is what is most important is to somehow teach kids not to lose that creativity when they get older.
Who has been one of your most memorable costumers? What are some of your favorite pieces you have done so far?
Oh man, I have some great customers. I love working with brides to find the perfect plate to break for their wedding. Some of my favorites jobs, though, come from customers who have been holding onto the shards of a plate that belonged to their grandmothers or other family members who are no longer with them.
It feels really good to be able to make something for them that helps keep the memory of a family member alive. Another fond memory was working with plates that were broken in Hurricane Katrina and plates that survived a house fire. Defiantly never thought about these things before starting this endeavor.
I love the idea of taking something that is broken and making it new. How do people react to your items at craft shows? Are they surprised that the pieces are made by broken plates?
People at craft shows are funny. I always get one of two reactions when I tell them that my work is made from broken plates. They either say “Wow!?! Really??” or “I know.”
So many people come to my booth to tell me that they broke a plate a long time ago and saved the shards in a box to do a project with them some day. They are relieved to meet me and know there is someone to send them to.