Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Jes Sutton

June 27, 2016

Jes Sutton | UncommonGoods
Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Jes Sutton, creator of our new Over the Rainbow Paperweight.
Over the Rainbow Paperweight | UncommonGoods
When did you know you wanted to be an artist/maker?
I really can’t remember a time when art wasn’t an important part of my life. One of my Mom’s favorite stories about me was from Christmas morning when I was two or three. As the story goes, I came downstairs and looked at all of the beautifully wrapped boxes. Then I pointed at the largest of the boxes and said to my grandmother, “I bet my crayons are in there!” They weren’t, but the hunt continued and they were soon found. Then gift opening came to a standstill for a few hours while I colored.

Over the Rainbow Paperweight | UncommonGoods
What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist/maker?
Learning to translate what I see in my mind’s eye into physical art, and then sharing that piece of myself with others, has been the most exciting (and utterly terrifying) part of this journey for me.

Over the Rainbow Paperweight | UncommonGoods

Left: In the kiln, ready to bend. Right: Jes polishing the bases flat.

What does your typical day in the studio look like?
I am a research analyst by day and a glass worker by night (and early mornings, lunch breaks, weekends, and other spare moments). Since I work from home, I typically get up early and unload the kiln from the day before. Then I load the kiln with the day’s projects and enter the firing schedule in the kiln’s controller (there are strict guidelines that must be followed when heating and cooling glass to prevent it from breaking during the forming phase, and to impart strength and durability to the finished piece).

Firing schedules vary depending on the specific needs of each project, but in general, once the kiln is loaded and begins heating, I won’t be able to open it again until the next morning. While the kiln is firing, I prepare projects to be fired the next day, and then I head to my home office to crunch numbers.

Over the Rainbow Paperweight | UncommonGoods
Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
The glass itself is really my inspiration. I *LOVE* color. Oh, and shiny things…I am completely taken with things that sparkle and shine. When I’m in my studio, I’m surrounded by a (literal) rainbow of colors that almost seem to dance in the light. It’s such a beautiful and joyful experience that I’m never at a loss for inspiration.

Over the Rainbow Paperweight | UncommonGoods
Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
I hope they would say, “That’s so pretty – I want that!” I think there’s something in the combination of the cool smoothness of the glass and the beautiful candy colors that really appeals to children and inner children alike.

Over the Rainbow Paperweight | UncommonGoods
What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! That’s one of my favorite things about working with glass. If something doesn’t come out quite like I had hoped, it can be melted down and turned into something else completely. I am only limited by my imagination!

Get This Good


  • Reply Meri Langan and Jace June 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I worked with Jes Sutton in California for some time. When my 5 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2015, we were devastated. Jes gave us one of her glass rainbows to cheer us up – it did the trick, and then some. Jes gave us hope with something so simple, yet so beautiful. We’re now on the other end of the rainbow, and every time I look at that rainbow it reminds me of how far we’ve come. Thank you Jes!

    • Reply Marisa June 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing this story with us Mace. Juvenile Diabetes can be very scary, we know, so it’s gratifying to read that one of Jes’s handmade objects accomplished something so important. It reaffirms our belief that beauty and inspiration aren’t merely superficial. They can add a positive dimension to so many parts of life, and one shouldn’t underestimate their power. Thanks for reading our blog.

  • Reply Sylvia Meadows June 27, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    I had both the opportunity and the pleasure of “playing” in Jes’s studio in Geneva a while back. She is not only an incredibly talented artist, she’s a very willing and able teacher! It’s simply impossible not to share her enthusiasm and be inspired to create something unique. I wish she lived next door!

    • Reply Marisa June 28, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Sylvia, what a nice thing to know about an artist whose work we love. We wish she lived next door to us, too. Thanks for reading our blog!

  • Reply Made In The USA | Brand Publishing July 19, 2016 at 10:31 am

    […] example, while the gorgeous Over The Rainbow paperweight sells itself, an interview with creator Jes Sutton reveals the fascinating, intricately detailed process behind each and every […]

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.