Meet the Maker

I am a wife, mother, and lover of all things turquoise, rustic and western. The western lifestyle, and my love of horses has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My childhood memories were made on the back of a horse. My true enjoyment as a kid came from saddling up and cutting a trail through the desert and foothills of the mountains. Unlike other artists, who can trace their start back to childhood memories of constant drawing or creating, I didn’t find my creativity until adulthood.

My children have always been a priority and driving force in everything I have done. When they were little, I made wooden toys for them with my dad in the wood shop, which awakened a part of me I din't know existed. From that point on, creating and art became something I craved as well as an escape. The wood shop became my second home serving as a creative outlet as well as a way to bring home extra money while my kids were young. I hadn’t even discovered leatherwork yet.

A few years later, I found myself as a single mom with little to my name and Christmas fast approaching. My kids had horses, so I decided to make them breast collars for their Christmas presents. With the help of my brother, I somehow managed to create a breast collar with John Wayne conchos for my daughter (she was a HUGE fan of, The Duke) and a bullet concho breast collar for my son. My kids received little more than those breast collars that year, but they were made with more love than money could ever buy.That Christmas will always be a favorite.

I put down the leatherwork after that Christmas, and started focusing on woodworking. Unfortunately, woodworking did not agree with my lungs. Feeling the desire for creativity, I decided to revisit leatherwork. I started making halters and tack with embossed leather and crystals for my daughter and her friends. I eventually felt limited with the materials I was using and wanted to expand by learning to tool leather. Having never tooled before, I quickly realized I was in way over my head. Determined to figure it out, I spent countless hours researching, watching videos, reading books, practicing, screaming in frustration and practicing some more. What started out with some scrap leather at my dining room table, has grown into something beyond my imagination. Broken J designs is not just a business born out of a necessity to create, but a community with other makers and a business that I am proud of.

Broken J Designs has a lot of meaning to me. The “Broken” in the name refers to the times when I have felt broken, I could always look to my art as a way to help me heal. I could always get lost in a project and forget about the issues in life. The J of course is for Jennifer, and the Designs is all encompassing. If by chance I decide to revisit the woodwork, or any other form of art for that matter, it still falls under the umbrella of the business name.