How adorable is this repurposed vintage silverware? The beachy-themed garland is the handiwork of artist Jennifer Matlack, who creates artwork — including vintage silverware garden markers, garland, ornaments and more — and sells it in her Etsy shop Daisy Chestnut. The designs on each piece are her own and created individually hand crafted. Other pieces feature fruits, vegetables, flowers and more (note: the beach themed ones aren’t yet available in her store). The Connecticut-based artist is also a successful writer who has written for many popular magazines including Health and Glamour.
Recently, I asked Jennifer some questions about her work and how she’s landed her beautiful pieces in major magazines.
5 on Friday with Jennifer Matlack
You’re a successful magazine writer whose been published in so many fabulous glossies. What made you decide to pursue art and open your Etsy shop?
Well, before I was ever a writer I was an artist. (I wrote my first poem at ten, but I’ve be drawing ever since I picked up my first crayon!) Someone mentioned ETSY to me and I thought how exciting it would be to share–and sell–my art! I first started selling appliqued baby clothes, then eventually gravitated to old silverwear. A weird jump, but that’s the direction the wind blew! Also, art runs in my family. My great ancestor was Timothy Matlack, the guy who penned the Declaration of Independence.
I read in an interview that you are more inspired in Fall/Winter than in Spring/Summer. What inspires you, and why then?
During the Spring/Summer I’m typically outside a lot. I have a large vegetable and perennial garden and slowly I’m claiming an area that was once filled with raspberry, blackberry, and bittersweet so I’m always at work, planting, weeding, watering, basically filling my time with the creative process of gardening. In the Fall/Winter I tend to spend more time indoors. I slow down and in doing so I think I allow myself to turn inward and hear the next wave of inspiration.
Your garden markers are beautiful. How did you come up with the concept and start creating them?
While I was first person on ETSY to make illustrated garden markers on old spoons, the concept was not my original idea. Credit for goes to MonkeyAlwaysLook, a way cool site on ETSY who started selling stamped garden markers. Brilliant! Before I launched my line I contacted the shop owner, told her what I was doing, asked if she minded and well, she gave me her blessing (and was so appreciative that I contacted her about it). The thing is I took her idea and make it my own. That’s key!
You’ve had some great mentions for you shop, Daisy Chestnut. How have you marketed your work?
Mostly I reached out to editors who I worked with in the past (I’m a freelance writer). And of course it helped bigtime that I was a featured seller on ETSY. It was a dream come true! I always think I should start a blog but then it seems I missed the blog boat. But maybe not?!
Now, you are a fellow Connecticut resident who came here from elsewhere. What’s your favorite can’t-miss spot for a day out with your family?
I tend to be a homebody, but one special spot is Tarrywile Park and Mansion in Danbury. There is an enormous field there that is so beautiful, so restful, and always full of whirring insects and chirping birds. It brings me joy.
Visit Daisy Chestnut on Etsy to check out all of Jennifer’s designs.
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Matlack.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.