Artist Jamie Rogers, best known for her jewelry, stained glass, and blacksmithing lines, has recently added a new venture to her already extensive repertoire. Last winter, Ms. Rogers began painting, and throughout the Artisans Festival summer season, her pointillism images proved as popular as her other crafts.
The colorful paintings are made up of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of small dots in various bright hues. The finished product has the look of a mandala, and there’s a mesmerizing quality to the paintings.
“People have really been enjoying them,” Ms. Rogers said. “They come across from the parking lot. From the distance they’re wondering if they’re beadwork or some other craft.”
It’s not surprising that the work has a highly stylized component to it, or that the paintings incorporate both color and geometrics in a very appealing way. One of Ms. Rogers’ best sellers in her 10 years at the Artisans Festival is her line of stained glass earrings — jewel-toned matching pieces that come in a variety of colors and shapes, from circles to rectangles, to droplets.
Over the years, Ms. Rogers has learned a number of disciplines, and continually adds more lines to her collection (which she also sells online). She began her art career as a jeweler. After selling wire-wrapped pieces for a few years, Ms. Rogers traveled to North Carolina to take an intensive silversmithing class at the Penland School of Crafts.
“I loved it so much that I set up a silversmith shop at my home,” Ms. Rogers said. She creates unique pieces from crystals, stones, minerals, and fossils. The new jewelry line proved successful, and after two years, the artist had earned enough from her business to take another two-month class at Penland. This time around she studied blacksmithing, and set up a home forge.
Her hand-forged dark steel line now includes decorative hooks and plant hangers, drawer pulls, napkin rings, hair picks, pendants, and a simple yet very attractive key ring. The pieces all demonstrate a rustic sensibility and Ms. Rogers’ eye for form.
Next, the now seasoned artist took stained glass classes at Featherstone Center for the
Arts. Her colorful ornaments and jewelry have become very popular, and she has a number of customers who return every summer to add to their growing collections.
A few years ago, Ms. Rogers started experimenting with tin work. That interest led to a series of fun and functional pocketbooks made from large recycled cans (from maple syrup, olive oil, etc.) Each one-of-a-kind piece features a deconstructed tin can with a hinged lid, felt lining, and various hardware details.
After years of working with metals, Ms. Rogers decided to try her hand at a different medium. “Last winter I started painting,” she said. “I always wanted to paint. The passion was always inside, but I was focused on many other media. It’s hard to get good at one thing when you’re divided in too many directions.”
Fate intervened and allowed the artist to pursue her longstanding passion. “Last year I got tendonitis, and I decided to take a step back and let my body relax a little,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was going to paint or how I was going to paint. I didn’t even know what pointillism was, or anything about Aboriginal art, but that’s what everyone says my work reminds them of.”
The process is labor-intensive, but Ms. Rogers enjoys the leisurely concentration. “They’re really time-consuming,” she said. “It’s one dot at a time. I just play my music and have a nice cup of tea. I really enjoy doing it. Every single color I add to the painting changes it.”
Ms. Rogers’ display at the Artisans Festival includes all of her various arts and crafts. Her paintings are as reasonably priced as the rest of her work. They range from $15 for a 2-inch by 2-inch work to $450 for a large painting. Ms. Rogers’ stained glass earrings sell for $25, ornaments for $15 and $30. The hand-forged hair picks are $8 each, and the double swirl key ring is $15.
Ms. Rogers, whose family moved to the Vineyard when she was in the second grade, grew up in an artistic household. Her mother, Andrea Rogers, who founded the Artisans Festival and runs it in addition to selling her own lavender products, has been following various creative pursuits all of her life.
“I grew up helping my mom out with the Artisans Festival,” Ms. Rogers said. “It’s in my blood. My dad builds everything — houses, cars, boats. My grandpa was a tailor. My aunts and uncles are tailors. Everyone in my family is creating in some way. We grew up making candles, soap, beading jewelry, everything you can imagine. It’s like a workshop around here.”
At her Oak Bluffs family home, Ms. Rogers has three studios: a silversmith shop, a blacksmith shop in an outdoor shed, and a painting studio in a spare bedroom. Even when she’s not at home working, she’s often surrounded by artists.
“Growing up, we never had anything beyond our immediate family on the Island,” she said. “The artisans are kind of my extended family. We hang out outside of work. We all get along really well.”
You can find Jamie Rogers at the 13th annual Vineyard Artisans Columbus Day Festival: Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 to 4 at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. She will also be at the Thanksgiving weekend and holiday festivals. You can check out her work online at jamierogersmv.com.
This article by Gwyn McAllister originally appeared on mvtimes.com.