Produced by Amazon's Selling Partner Communities, Handcrafted is a new video series taking you inside the studios and workshops of artisans, artists, and makers as they share their stories and give us a peek into their creative process.
As she takes out a hot plank of cypress wood from her handmade steamer, Jenny Wong-Stanley knows she has about 30 seconds to bend it into an elegantly curved sculpture. The piece she is working on is called Whirlpool. It is one of 22 designs she makes by hand for her small business, Art of Plants.
Wong-Stanley is an extreme wood bender and she has perfected her craft over more than 10 years of practice. When she first began wood bending, she didn’t think about starting a business. She was a middle school science teacher at home on maternity leave after the birth of her second child.
“I [thought that I] was definitely going to go back into teaching,” Wong-Stanley said. But she decided to take a year off to care for her kids and continued creating her bent wood sculptures. Her husband suggested she try to sell the pieces. So she listed two pieces for sale online and got five interested clients. That was the beginning of what would become Art of Plants.
Many years before she became a wood bender, Wong-Stanley was diagnosed with clinical depression. “I would just lie on the couch and cry all weekend long, but there was no particular reason why I was sad,” she said. She was later also diagnosed with type II bipolar disorder.
Making art became a source of healing her mental health. “I love using my hands, I love the bending of the wood,” she said. “It was just really relaxing to work with my hands and repeat, and repeat.”
With a lot of dedication and hard work, it also became a successful business. In 2015, Wong-Stanley and Art of Plants joined Amazon Handmade, an artisan community of sellers whose products are made by hand. Being part of Handmade allowed Wong-Stanley to expand her reach.
“Selling on Amazon has been a boost for me personally, because it allowed me to reach a [large customer-base] that I would never have reached, whether it’s through social media or [selling on my own],” she said.
Learn more about Wong-Stanley’s journey on Amazon’s Selling Partners blog.