Produced by Selling Partner Communities, Handcrafted is a video series taking you inside the studios and workshops of artists and makers as they share their stories and give us a peek into their creative process.
Artist Dehanna Jones discovered exactly what she wanted to do for a career at age 17, when she tried glassblowing for the first time while studying at the University of Washington (UW).
Jones studied ceramics at UW, although after graduating, she decided to work for blown-glass artists to learn the craft. She rented time in other artists’ spaces to create her own designs until she decided that she wanted her own studio. Today, Jones is a proud owner of Totally Blown Glassworks, which she co-founded about 24 years ago.
“I always knew this is what I was going to do,” Jones says. “So I borrowed money from the City of Seattle through the Community Capital Development Program, and I borrowed money from all my friends, and I borrowed money from all my credit cards and built a hot shop.”
Growing up with a father who ran his own business as an auctioneer and antique shop owner, Jones knew what to expect as a small business owner—but being a working artist and a small business owner required her to wear more hats than she ever could’ve imagined.
“There wasn't that, ‘Everything stops at five and you get to go home,’” she said. “You work all the time. You need to be a bookkeeper, you need to be a creative writer—so you can write about your products and about yourself—you need to be able to take good photographs.”
While juggling all of that can be tough, Jones said that for her the reward was knowing that she was doing it for herself—for her own business. To help transition to online sales, Jones joined Amazon Handmade even before it went live in 2015.
“The moment Handmade went live, I had everything ready to go [to sell on the Amazon store],” Jones said, and adds that Handmade also gave her access to “a large demographic of potential buyers.”
After more than 36 years since she first gave glassblowing a try in college, Jones stills loves the craft.
“I still learn something every day and I still enjoy it,” she said.
Read more about Jones’ story on Amazon’s Selling Partners Blog.