Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill McMillan.
Jill, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’ve always been a crafty person and loved creating. But, like many people, as I got older, I had less and less time for crafting, and it kind of fell by the wayside. But suddenly, COVID-19 and quarantine happened and I found myself with an abundance of free time I hadn’t had in years. I finally had the time to do some woodworking, something I had done a little bit of previously while incorporating epoxy resin, something I had been wanting to try for a long time. Fast forward a year and a half and what started as a quarantine hobby has turned into an absolute passion of mine. Today, I spend my free time in my workshop (AKA, garage) sawing, pouring, sanding, carving, polishing, and perfecting each piece for sale either on my Etsy shop or at local markets. It’s a labor of love, and I truly do love every minute of it.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Working with epoxy resin definitely comes with a learning curve. There have been plenty of mistakes and problems I had to figure out how to work through, such as building a leak-proof frame, because the last thing you want with epoxy resin is a huge, sticky, messy leak, and sanding thoroughly to get that perfect finish. And I’m still learning new things along the way. It takes a lot of patience and practice. Getting myself out there and starting to actually sell my items was also a big hurdle for me. I worried if people would like what I made, or if I put all this work into these pieces, just to have them sit in storage, not getting sold. I started out with small markets, just to build up my confidence in selling, before eventually jumping into the deep end with bigger craft markets in the Kansas City area.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My work is mostly in wood and epoxy resin goods, focused around jewelry and home goods such as charcuterie boards and coasters, as well as other items. I make every single item 100% from beginning to end myself, from sourcing the wood, cutting and prepping, pouring the epoxy, sanding (hours and hours of sanding), carving jewelry into their individual shapes, polishing, and wire wrapping jewelry. Though epoxy, resin and wood are becoming an increasingly popular medium, I try to source unique woods with plenty of character, such as spalting or a distinct grain or color, to make my pieces really stand out.
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The most important thing I’ve learned along my journey is patience and that practice makes perfect. Epoxy resin is a temperamental material, and it’s not always going to work perfectly every time, but part of honing my skill is learning how to overcome the issues that come with the medium and how to avoid it in the future. As a perfectionist, it can sometimes be hard to accept that things aren’t going to be exactly how I want them right off the bat, so I’ve had to learn to give myself the leeway to make mistakes, fix those mistakes, and learn from them.
- Charcuterie Boards – $60-130
- Coasters – $40-$45
- Jewelry – $20-35
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/handcraftheartland
- Instagram: instagram.com/handcraftedheartland
- Facebook: facebook.com/handcraftedheartland