We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica O’Connell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what makes you happy? Why?
When I make dreamcatchers, the creative process of building a one-of-a-kind piece of art for someone’s home makes me happy. Especially when that dreamcatcher can be made using a customer’s own vintage doily that holds sentimental value. It is exciting for me to take a vintage piece and turn into something new and functional. I love everything from browsing antique stores to find the most beautiful and unique doilies, and selecting coordinating and interesting fabrics and lace, to assembling it all and adding finishing touches. Enjoying the process and the time spent on each dreamcatcher makes this “business” a pleasure that is truly worth the outcome knowing that someone is going to have a uniquely special item in their home to bring them joy for years to come.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One thing that makes my work stand out is the uniqueness of each doily as the focal point of each dreamcatcher. Each doily is hand selected from antique stores based on their individual beauty and no two dreamcatchers will be exactly alike. A challenge that comes with using something old that has been loved throughout the years is that the doilies commonly have stains or imperfections. Usually this is fixable and avoidable, but sometimes I have to just let that be a part of the charm and the story that the doily has to tell. I have had the pleasure of using family heirloom doilies several times and turning them into a beautiful dreamcatcher for the family to hang on their wall and remember their loved one who created or enjoyed that doily in its original form, instead of just leaving the doily in a drawer or closet. The joy that this brings to people is one of the most rewarding parts of creating my art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many extraordinary places to visit in the city! I personally would be excited to share some of my favorite local shops and restaurants that highlight the talented and inspirational people throughout “The Valley of the Sun”. I could easily spend a week with my friends eating and drinking our way through Arcadia and downtown Phoenix at places like Pizzeria Bianco, Doughbird, Chelsea’s Kitchen, La Grande Orange Grocery & Pizzeria, Cibo, Taco Guild, Gin & Reel and The Churchill. We would also spend a lot of time between meals shopping at handmade and vintage shops such as Everything Goes, Tattered Nest, Sweet Salvage, Highland Vintage Yard, Moon Dust Farms, Frances and The Vintage Arcadia. I love to focus on small businesses as a great way to share local flavor and art unseen anywhere else!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I absolutely need and want to dedicate this shoutout to my friends, family and other local artisans! My friends have been the inspiration behind starting Sweet Dreams Dreamcatchers and a crucial part of getting the creativity flowing in the first place. My family has been a huge support in affording me the time to create and working through weekends at stores and markets. On top of that, I have met so many other creative makers along this journey that have been a true blessing by sharing their knowledge and building a sense of community in this small business world.