We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Ortiz Torres and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, why did you pursue a creative career?
I had been working in higher education for close to 15 years as an administrator and although I loved my job and working with students, I missed having time to be creative. Growing up I was always drawing, dancing, singing, and getting into anything creative; sad to say that I lost that creative side of me as I graduated college, pursued a career, and started a family. In 2020 during quarantine, I decided to begin drawing again and that inspired me to try other creative things. I began doing yarn wall art, painting, and then discovered clay jewelry. It’s funny because I really can not remember how I discovered clay jewelry making but once I did, my creativity just exploded. I love the design aspect of jewelry making, forming the clay into a design, and putting it together to make a beautiful piece of jewelry. I absolutely love being able to be creative all of the time and feel like this is where I need to be.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I began making jewelry using polymer clay in the summer of 2020. I immediately was drawn to the design aspect of it and how I could make my pieces stand out from others. There are so many wonderfully talented polymer clay artists and my priority was always to be myself and bring my own perspective, life experiences, and fashion sense into my designs. I am proud that I began this business at 40 and did not hesitate in doing so; I think for so many of us we have these dreams when we are younger and kind of let those disappear as we get older. I am proud of myself for finding something I am passionate about and starting it at this age. It is interesting to look back at my life and see how different careers, what I pursued in college, and what I learned in retail have all come together now and become extremely useful in running my business. Let me be honest and say that running a business is not easy; it takes a lot of work and hours. The fun part of being in a creative field is being creative, the part that can be tough is the rest that comes with it like setting up your business, learning about tax laws in your state, setting up an online store, marketing, social media, and on and on. It’s important to make sure that you schedule a time to dedicate to all the things that help a business run and grow. Some of the lessons I have learned are to take time for yourself, to step away from things when stress is high and take a moment to breathe, and not compare yourself to others. I am still learning and growing everyday and that is ok. What I love is hearing from customers who have purchased my designs say to me that they feel beautiful, fabulous, and sassy! I absolutely love what I do and hope that people can see that love through my designs.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am still pretty new to the city of Atlanta so this would be fun because I would be experiencing new things too! I have never been to the Atlanta Beltline…I know, I know! My best friend and I love to eat so I figure walking on the Beltline and finding a new trendy restaurant would be something we would enjoy doing. I have never been to Piedmont Park and my friend and I love to exercise so this would be a fun place to get a good run in. Ponce City Market, the Botanical Gardens, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the list goes on. There are so many fun and interesting places to go around Atlanta that I would have a great time discovering these with my best friend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I need to say thank you to my husband and my two kids. They have been the most supportive of me pursuing this business and understand that it takes a lot of work to run a business. My son, who is 14, comes with me to different artisan markets around Atlanta early on Saturday mornings to help me set up and to hang out with me which brings me so much joy.