Our primary artist Jennifer Warren Bencharsky had a long and varied professional career. She started in Hollywood as a makeup artist, moved on to a corporate career in the food and beauty industries, taking the helm as national and continental sales manager in the beauty industry and traveling throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as extensive international travel. After leaving the corporate world, she owned and operated small businesses in the Pacific Northwest where she distinguished herself with interior design and decorating with her own design and build company. She helped many clients maximize the value of their real estate investments with her creative eye and sense of color and space.
In 2007 she took a trip to New Zealand where she first became exposed to felted fashions and artwork, and developed a fascination for the techniques and art. Seeing the process of raising sheep in New Zealand, she began to develop a curiosity of how raw materials are brought to market in the form of high-end fashion.
Her “Ah-ha!” moment was in Akaroa, New Zealand when she found a magnificent piece of nuno-felted art created by a 90 year old woman. She continued to find more masterworks of the art in Christchurch, New Zealand where she completely became obsessed with learning more about fiber art. She left all she had taken on her trip in order to to fill her luggage with books, materials and tools for felting.
Upon returning to the U.S. she began to research the nuno-felting process, and seek out teachers but found very little information even online at that time, and largely was self-taught. Gradually she found teachers who could help her learn various techniques, and even her sample pieces sold as quickly as she could make them.
In her travels she felt inspired to help teach felting techniques in economically challenged area that had great access to raw materials but little experience in creating marketable products or basic business skills. Notably a trip to Northern Greece made her want to be able to develop a series of classes to be able to return there and travel to similar regions to help the local economies leverage their skills and raw materials by teaching basic business and marketing skills along with felting techniques to help them make better economic advantage of tourism and export options.
After eperiencing many personal, emotional and health challenges and losses in 2013 and 2014, she began to reevaluate what she wanted to be her legacy in the world.
After seeing a close long-time friend and painter pass suddenly, she saw the importance of having a legacy of creative expression, which she thought her life lacked. Her illness and subsequent disability also led Jennifer to find focus and she suddenly had a drive to be more creative and expressive in her life. With the inspiration and lessons she learned from her friend, she decided to fully devote herself to her art.
For the past several years during her medical recovery, she has been focusing on creating artwork as her physical condition allows, to build enough of a body of work to allow gallery and festival showings and this website, to better market and make her artwork available to the world. Creative expression became paramount to her as well as educating others in the new methods of the ancient art and craft of wet felting and the newer expression, nuno-felting. She realized very few people in the world were exploring the fine-art aspect of the felted medium and were simply focusing on the "craft" aspects. She realized the creative potential and wanted to stretch the medium in a more artistic direction.
Jennifer hopes that successful development of her art business will allow her to conduct trips on a regular basis to help women in under-developed areas and to also help others with debilitating physical challenges explore their creativity as a part of their own journey out of pain and find new channels for personal expression and creative satisfaction.
Her work has recently won several awards at major fiber events, and she has collaborated with and participated in workshops with major international felting artists from Australia, Hungary, Canada, and Scotland.
She has found an authenticity in her art that she never experienced in the fast-paced corporate world. To be truly creative, and to manifest art out of vision is a truer and more satisfying expression than she ever achieved in her earlier career... she felt inspired.