Artist Jennifer Utsch has always been passionate about art and creating. Seeing promise, her high school teacher, urged her to enroll in art school. Like so many, Jennifer never believed there was a future for her in art; so, she veered in the opposite direction. Yearning to escape to the West, she left her home town Virginia, and headed for college in the great Rocky Mountains. She graduated with degrees in Spanish and International Relations. She pursued careers in Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Real Estate.
Though the work was exciting and rewarding, Jennifer still felt unsatisfied and restless. This is when she turned back to her first love, and established Mandala Recycled Art in 1998.
Although these educations and careers were not "right" for me, she now sees how her paths led her to this point in her life. Law enforcement provided her with the assertiveness and awareness needed to be self-employed, and firefighting gave her the appreciation and connection with fire, as well as, the knowledge of using the oxy-acetylene torch. Real Estate prepared her for the daily office routine that any business requires.
In a nutshell, these experiences looped back to her youthful passion with art and allowed her to understand it in new ways. Wanting to work with people and the environment, wanting to see and show the connections between each other and with the earth, Jennifer began to envision how she could make the interconnections of these passions into her life's work.
Now, she collects "trash" and makes it "work" for her; it is in this simplicity that creates beauty and allows new ideas to flow.
Jennifer designs all products with the use the hand torch. All metal is reclaimed (mostly sheet metal and steel cans). She then hand paints and assembles each piece with beads selected from Sustainable Cooperatives in India and Indonesia.