As a self proclaimed Gypsy, Jessica claims Savannah, GA as home; although she has laid roots in Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Florida, and the always wild and wonderful West Virginia.
Growing up, Jessica could always be found painting and sewing with her grandmother or with her grandfather in the wood shop, using tools she was far too young to use. "Some of my favorite memories are working in the Shop with my grandfather. I would draw design; shapes and people, and he would let me cut them out on the band-saw. I had this little red metal stool I would stand on. It had wheels so it was easy for me to move around. He was always right there, and I still have 10 fingers, so I guess it all turned out okay." (The part of the story Jessica forgets to tell is how, after she made these objects, she would set up 'craft fairs' at the end of her parents' road where she would show and sell these wares. An entrepreneur even at a young age.)
Academically, Jessica holds a background in the Fine Arts; Undergrad at Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in Furniture Design, and Grad School at Kent State University with her Masters in Metalsmithing, Jewelry and Enameling. Never focusing on ceramics as a degree, she credits her knowledge of the medium to pottery classes she took as a child, and time spent in the Ceramics Studio at Kent State, where she was fortunate to study under the late Kirk Mangus and a magnitude of amazing Ceramics Undergrad and Grad Students.
Outside of academics, she developed a diverse background in education; teaching K-College, and also at the corporate level. With strong experience in a variety of teaching modalities, three things have always remained important to her;
1) There is no wrong way to make art.
2) For someone to succeed, you have to give the opportunity to fail.
3) Failure is just a different path to success.
Throughout all of her teaching experiences, these three things have remained the cornerstone of her classroom model.
When Jessica founded The Little Clay Studio in 2014, it came from the realization that the clients taking Ceramics class at ReFocus' Day Program wanted more challenge, more knowledge and more opportunity. Having taught at college, Jessica applied that same structure and parameters into what has become a six curriculum program. Since 2014, the Studio has evolved, the Potters and Jessica have grown (together and independently) and the sky seems to be the limit on this little ceramics cooperative.
When Jessica isn't in this Studio, she is either on an adventure searching for a new coffee shop, exploring a new restaurant, or in her personal Studio (likely starring at her bench, hoping for her 'elusive creative genius' to strike. See the Elizabeth Gilbert TED Talk)