Jessica Fortner

Jessica FortnerMeet 20-year-old Jessica Fortner, who runs a charitable business called Transformed Scarves & Accessories.

“I’m slowly becoming a cat lady,” says Jessica. “I rescued the most handsome cat a few months ago – his name is Professor Hotchkiss.” Miaow…

Outside of her crafting, Jessica loves songwriting. “It’s where I feel the most like myself,” says Jessica. “I believe every day should be looked at with a sense of beauty and awe, because life is truly beautiful.”

A few random details about yourself: I am slowly becoming a cat lady. I rescued the most handsome cat a few months ago, his name is Professor Hotchkiss. Besides crafting and sewing, my biggest passion is songwriting. It’s where I feel the most like myself. I believe every day should be looked at with a sense of beauty and awe, because life is truly beautiful.Jessica Fortner

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m currently a Junior at Lee University in Cleveland, TN, and I’m studying Youth Ministry and Church Music. I wish I could spend all day in front of my sewing machine making beautiful scarves, but my 17 credit hours are keeping me quite busy.

I started Transformed Scarves & Accessories about a year ago, with small expectations. I make scarves completely from used t-shirts, so after making my first few I thought to myself “No one will actually want to pay money for these”. Over 100 scarves sold later and I’ve certainly proved myself wrong. It helps that 70% of the proceeds go toward a fabulous non-profit called Afrocka (www.afrocka.org). Really, I started Transformed in the first place so I could help Afrocka out, because I really believe in what they’re doing. I’m absolutely passionate about “transforming” something normal into something beautiful. The look on people’s faces when they exclaim “this used to be a T-SHIRT?!” can’t compare to anything else.

What inspires your work?

My mom, all the way. She taught herself how to sew at a young age and has been a self-taught boss at sewing and crafting in general ever since. She made everything for me, from homecoming dresses to musical costumes. I took a sewing class in high school to “carry on the tradition” and to my horror found that it wasn’t as easy as my mom made it look. But when I started Transformed I was determined to acquire the skill of sewing, and my mom has been a huge inspiration to me through that. Whenever I think I have reached the peak of what I can do, she challenges me to take it a step further, and as a result my scarves become that much more excellent. Seriously, if it weren’t for my mom, I’d be selling some pretty jank scarves.

Jessica FortnerWhat is your favorite piece of work you have created?

I think my favorite scarf would have to be my crocheted infinity scarves. At first glance it looks like a normal, chunky scarf. But when I tell people that the scarf was once a t-shirt, it blows their mind. They also make for an extremely warm, THICK scarf since t-shirt yarn is much heavier than regular yarn, which is fantastic for the winter.

Who is your favorite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

There aren’t a whole lot of people to chose from in the t-shirt scarf field, but I consider myself part of the larger “handmade small business” community. And one of my favorite people in that community is Ashley Connelly. She has an Etsy shop where she sells journals and scrapbooking supplies, and I am totally a fan of how she runs her business. From her blog to her photography to her products, she is an inspiration to me and how I’d like to run my shop.

Visit Jessica’s shop and blog, and tweet her: @_transformed.

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