Makers gonna make.
Recently, I reached out to Jenny from Sonora Handmade, a local brand weaving up the cutest wall hangings in the Valley of the Sun. She had a workshop coming up at the darling and SCRUMPTIOUS A Bakeshop in the Uptown area, and I wanted in on it.
A Bakeshop has a special place in our hearts, they catered the dessert bar at our wedding. The funny part about that is, a friend of Tom’s who shall remain nameless, had a little whoopsie with our personal smores wedding cake we had made for just us two to have. We didn’t get to it at the wedding and as he was helping us clean up, someone bumped him while he was carrying the cake and it flipped through the air, landing right side up.
It literally imploded from the inside out. He was afraid to tell us so when we saw the cake we were so confused, but later heard from someone else what had happened. We still had a ceremonial lighting of our heart shaped sparklers atop the cake for a little fanfare.
We also didn’t get a lick of dessert at our own wedding so we put our tails between our legs and asked for a cake pop when we went to return their cake stands a few days later. Pretty funny to look back on now!
Rachel from Pink Puddle Studio recently did an AMAZING floral mural in the newly renovated space and the owner Andrea put a gorgeous tufted pink sofa in front of it, making it a totally ‘grammable spot. Side note- they have a daily happy hour at the bakery…. be sure to check that out!
The workshop was intimate with a handful of attendees. To make the experience sweeter, we were were treated to yummy lemonade and treats.
Sonora Handmade has been around for a few years, and the owner Jenny is a creative staple in the community. She is a zealous and kindred spirit who lights up the room with her smile, I felt like I knew her already when I arrived at her workshop. Isn’t that the best?
She’s a girl after my heart, let me tell you. One of her traditions is to go cozy up at the bar to have a pie at Bianco before heading to her shared studio space at Heritage Square. That’s the world I want to live in.
I was intrigued to learn that Jenny laser cuts all of her acrylic loom products and then some. Can you say TALENTED?
Jenny supplied us with a loom, comb, weaving needles, and a cute little cactus keychain. We got started by picking our own fibers. I didn’t realize how visually appealing this would be for me as a photographer. The sun was shining on it just right, too.
We jumped right into it. Jenny taught us how to set up our looms and taught us a few basic knots.
I did spend some time chatting with her because I’m nosy and love hearing about how entrepreneurs get their start in the creative world. As a mom, I was able to relate to a lot of what she had to say. Keep reading on to see some pics from the workshop as well as a Q&A with Jenny!
Plus, find out about the cutest project her family is working on for Phoenix to enjoy 🙂
Interview with Jenny of Sonora Handmade
Where are you from?
I was born & raised here in Phoenix!
How long have you been in Phoenix?
Well, I went to the U of A and then we moved away after my husband and I got married after college. So we spent four years in Louisville and three years in Oklahoma. We moved back to Arizona four years ago, and have loved being back!
When was Sonora Handmade established?
I started Sonora Handmade two years ago, just a few months before fourth child (our first girl!) was born.
Is there a story behind your company’s name?
My company is actually named after my daughter, Sonora! We loved the Sonoran Desert so much and I felt like since I was pregnant with her when I started (my company), it was fitting to name it after her!
Do you dabble in any other fiber arts or art in general?
I always loved arts & crafts growing up, but I never considered myself to be any type of artist. After college I learned how to knit and sew, and I still love doing both! As I got more into weaving, I’ve expanded my interests in fiber and recently got a spinning wheel as well.
How did you emerge into the creative community in Phoenix? Was there anything in particular that helped propel you to success?
Early on I made a lot of friendships by utilizing Instagram and getting to know other makers that way. Every chance I had to meet someone in person, I tried to make it happen as well. Meeting people was easier when I started my workshops. After that, I was able to get more connected because I had opportunities to meet so many people in a single night. Then interest began to build in weaving more as well as a new craft, so it was perfect timing for me!
Are there any artists who inspire the work you do?
Lots of Fiber Artists! Shelley Sazdanoff, Mandi Smoothills, Maryanne Moodie- a few of my favorites!
Who are some of your favorite small businesses you like to support locally?
I love UrbAna, Bunky Boutique, and of course A Bakeshop, Ruze Cake House & Rad Juice. I also love Phoenix Public Market and a million other local restaurants, it’s hard to name them all! I also have a few designer friends who I order clothes from for my daughter, like Crew & Lu, and Plain Jane, both based out of Arizona.
What is your favorite restaurant in Phoenix?
Oh man, I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that because there are SO many Arizona restaurants I love. Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix Public Market, North, The Henry, and we totally love the Indian Food at Marigold Maison.
What is your ideal relaxing day?
Probably a day in which I know my kids and family are well cared for, and my husband and I can go out in the evening to dinner and a movie. We love the movies, but it’s just too hard to get out these days!
I see you’re a mama, what are some tips you may have for moms who have a side hustle? How do you strive for balance?
Make sure that your side business or hustle is not keeping you from loving your family well. Having interests and work outside of “mom life” is amazing, but if you find yourself neglecting your family for a side job or a hobby that has become intensive, definitely consider scaling back. I have had seasons where I have done just that and it’s been so good for me. My family won’t be little forever, and I want to maximize my time with them during the few years that we have together!
On pursuing your passions in life- what advice would you give to someone looking to live a more passionate life?
Make sure that your passion has purpose. I see people all the time investing in things that take up serious amounts of time- but they can’t tell my “why”. I love weaving and hosting workshops not just because I want to teach people fiber arts, but because I want the opportunity to love on people and share with them the purpose of my life- which is my relationship with Christ.
What’s next for Sonora Handmade? Anything exciting on the horizon you want to share?
I do have a re-brand on the horizon for Sonora Handmade, but I am not quite ready to make the “big reveal” just yet! I am working on a side project with my family called “The Peach”- which is a restored ’62 Chevy Delivery Van that will be used as a corporate rental for parties and special events, so that has taken a lot of my spare time. I am planning to launch that this September!
How cute is The Peach? Can’t wait to see her out and about.
Thank you, Jenny! I loved getting to know you and attending your workshop. Can’t wait to finish my weaving! I’ll have to share the finished product.
If you are interested in taking a weaving workshop with Sonora Handmade, keep your eyes peeled for upcoming opportunities by following Jenny on Instagram. Also, check out her shop on Etsy, or feel free to reach out if you have a specific weaving in mind.
If you’re looking for a space to host a gathering or workshop, reach out to Andrea at A Bakeshop for details and pricing.
Thanks for reading!