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Jama Watts

Jama Watts

Kentucky Crafted Artist


      I am a Kentucky girl through and through - born in Paducah, and raised in Eminence and Lebanon.  Like most kids, I was introduced to art in elementary school.  Going to the art room was always something special for me.  I loved getting my hands dirty with clay, painting and drawing.  But, since my dad was an engineer and I was good at math, I always thought I'd be an architect.

      To this end, I took mostly construction, drafting and other classes in middle and high school in order to prepare myself for college classes.  However, during the summer of 1992 I attended the Governor's Scholars Program at Centre College.  I then began to focus on drama and the arts.  After a meeting with the Dean of Architecture at the University of Kentucky, I found that I needed to take an art class in high school.  With my love of art rekindled, I decided to study art in college and attended Campbellsville University where I focused on painting, sculpture and art history.

      With my background in painting (usually with vivid colors straight from the tube) my jewelry designs tend to be bold, if not a little eclectic.  In addition to this, I enjoy knowing that pieces are hand-made.  When I purchase another artisan's piece, I like seeing the hammer marks or wire wrapping. It's like part of them was left in my jewelry.  While I go for a finished, professional-looking piece, leaving that mark or part of me in my designs reminds wearers that my hands made their pieces.

      I read a lot of magazines and books about bead-weaving techniques, but it's not until I begin a piece that I know where I'm going.  I might do a rough sketch of a piece, but I mostly make one of a kind works that are created on the fly.  Working this way allows for greater creativity and often leads me in unexpected directions.

      I recently moved to Hampton, Virginia, where the beach and sunrises have begun to influence my work.  I've also embraced my nerdy side, so influences from pop culture, the steampunk movement, and even Dungeons and Dragons can now be found in my work.

      Artist Information


      Jama Watts Photo