We had the good fortune of connecting with Jendala Utsch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jendala, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
There was no thought process behind the starting of my art business which is the beauty of its creation. I am a heavy thinker and it is hard for me to slow down. When I was in the fire academy in 1996 I fell in love with the element of fire, its remarkable beauty and power. I wanted to know fire personally as if it was a long lost friend. I was dazzled by it’s ability to constantly change form and color. I quickly purchased torches so that I could safely play with this element. My community provided me material in recycled cans and sheet metal. Quickly I had an abundance of material to explore fire with. I was hooked on the fluid and sharp tip that melted the formidable steel. Thoughts became still as the fire took ahold of time fueling my passion to create. In this space my vision became clear and the business of Jendala began to take shape. Fire forged my path to self-discovery which led me to success. I have learned to trust these visions found in the stillness and to allow each day to open up to new creations. In creating happy thoughts from the words and images that I form into metal, my heart is opened to guide my process. I continue to follow this path which has led me publishing two children’s books that are a platform for a Social Emotional Learning program and founding a non-profit, Heartizens, that is dedicated to opening the creative process in kids. I believe that the most important tool we have is to believe in ourselves and to follow the passion that is ignited through joyful intentional creativity.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have always been passionate about art and creating. Seeing promise, my high school teacher urged me to enroll in art school. At the time I never believed there was a future for me in art; so I veered in the opposite direction. I graduated with degrees in Spanish and International Relations and went on to pursue careers of law enforcement, firefighting, real estate and teaching Spanish for Law Enforcement. In a nutshell, these experiences looped me back to my youthful connection with art and people.
I create gratitudes in metal all designed with a torch which was my primary way of cutting for 10 years, until 2008. I was forced to eliminate airborne metal in the studio with dangerous high levels in my blood. All of my challenges gifted in the end sustainable practices and a fun and inspiring brand.
My product line found its way to simple yet bold as each gratitude created is a unique message to each customer. I have over 100 words and designs to choose from in carefully selected colors over the decade. There are gazillions of gratitudes waiting to be made from individual words and images. My passion is igniting creativity to capture each customer’s intention created with my pieces. I love the inspiration and connection that opens up with each gratitude that is anchored with a bell that we make custom in India. Sound creates form and the bell sends the intentional metal creation out into the world to be felt and experienced.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have lived in my small town world known for nearly 17 years. The Russian River carves through Healdsburg and is nestled at the intersection of three famous wine valleys. There are over 60 tasting rooms of the best wines in the world located within just a mile of my art studio. When friends and family come to visit we adventure out East or West Side road to River Road that accompanies the Russian River all the way to its’ Pacific mouth at Jenner. The hike along the coast just south called Kortum Trail is my go to. It’s full of wildflowers, tide pools, huge ocean waves, and revitalizing air. Alexander Valley, just northeast of Healdsburg, hosts my favorite vineyard walks and private swimming hole of the Russian River. When hunger hits in a trip up to Geyserville, another 10 minutes north, to my favorite eating spots. Diavola and Catelli’s homemade pizzas and pastas paired with local Pinot Noirs completes the perfect day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Having just completed a battle with Ovarian Cancer stage 3c during Covid when my income revenue was nearly halted, I am indebted for heaps of gratitude for the bountiful support that surrounds me. Throughout my art career I have been lifted up by my community of friends, neighbors, fellow artists, customers, and family. I specifically would like to dedicate my success to my employee Marisol and her latina family. They teach me every day the meaning of unconditional support and love. They added the wings on to my recovery and my success.
photo credits to Alvin A.H. Jornada of the Press Democrat, Peggy Corpeny, and Jennifer Utsch