garden & gun made in the south awards magazine cover


each year, as we approach January 1st, I get super introspective about what the year has meant to me, asking did I accomplish what I set out to, what surprised me, what could i have done differently… and so on. I think we all do our own version of this. I heard it said once, that if you look back over the year and it doesn’t make you cry from sadness AND joy, you didn’t live fully enough. well, if that’s the bar, I LIVED Y’ALL!

let’s talk about that:
Made in the South Awards, Garden & Gun

  1. i got the surprise of my life, a goal that i have written down for 4 years now, to be in Garden & Gun Magazine. Now, when I wrote it all these years, i thought maybe i’d style a photograph that was in the magazine or have a mention of my work in an article about Winston-Salem or something. NEVER did i think that I COULD BE among the heroes of mine that won the Made In The South Awards!!!! it has truly been a dream come true. I can’t even find the words to express the wonder and magic that surrounds this achievement for me. i think i am starting to know, a deep in my bones kind of know, that i am doing the work i am meant to do. i am amped AF to show up for this work, y’all.  jenni and her son
  2. my child outgrew me. i have two amazing sons, wyatt is 12 and grady is 10. one morning wyatt walked out of his room and i could tell just the slightest shift in my eye line to look at him and say good morning. “oh my god!” i gasped. grady popped out of his room, “what it is mama?!” “it’s wyatt, he… well, he’s… i think he’s taller than me!” (you should have seen the sparkle that came into wyatt’s eyes) we turned back to back, let grady step back and take a look, and indeed, wyatt had outgrown my 5 foot 11 inch frame!! at twelve years old… i’ll never forget that morning. i rationally knew it would happen as I held him in my arms twelve years ago, but i certainly didn’t know what it would feel like. i cried both tears of sadness for the childness that drains more and more from his body each day and tears of joy for what is to come for this sweet, stoic, brilliant boy.
  3. the SOLAR ECLIPSE y’all. reaffirmed my lost belief that the universe is a magical, mystical place and we are so lucky to be along for the ride. it made want to pay closer attention. (this is a photo of my children and my parents, which i have lovingly titled, “four nerds on a blanket”)solar eclipse, family
  4. i was selected to participate in an accelerator program called Creative StartUps. I went into the class knowing little to nothing about gross margin or key performance indicators or the many other fancy business words i googled on my phone under the table trying to keep up with the speakers each week. i know design, i know what my voice wants to bring to the world! but business? not so much. i still have a lot to learn, but this program was a firecracker in the ass of jenni earle, llc. to sit with entrepreneurial mentors and have them help me define my focus, plan strategies and believe that this work is not only valid but necessary!!! that’s joy folks. #metoo, women's rights
  5. #metoo. this should really be higher on the list, as it’s about fucking time, but this movement of women saying to the world, enough is enough is SO inspiring to me as a mother, a woman and an artist. i have dealt with countless comments, unwanted touching and two bonafide (unpunished) sexual assaults in my life. these have come from teachers, bosses, mentors, coworkers, friends, strangers, politicians, etc. it’s as if there has been a free pass for men for all my 40 years to say and do whatever they want under the guise of a compliment. i am so excited to be alive as the boundaries get redrawn and women are speaking up and saying “no, sir, that makes me feel uncomfortable”  i want to live in a world that is more authentic than polite. i want to live in a world that women can tell a story of sexual misconduct without fearing the personal blame she will receive by vocalizing it. this year made me relive many of these encounters and the paralyzing fear and silence that i chose in that time. i know for a fact that i would react differently towards these men and towards myself today and i have the brave women who have stood up to thank for that. thank you thank you thank you!!!!! #metoothe process of making bandanas
  6. my hands. i love my hands. no kidding. i adore these two amazing parts at the ends of my arms. they allow me to make the work that has become a full-time adventure for me this year. they allow me to create a tangible product from what my head and heart dream up! these scarred, too small to be a pianist, short nailbed, capable, strong, useful hands are such a gift.


there’s a list a mile long, but these are the highlights i’m focusing gratitude on today and through the changing of the new year. the fact that we are living in this world, awake and alive to it’s possibilities is worth feeling oodles of gratitude about. whatever your circumstances are, there is action to be taken. are there sparks of hope and a few whispers of a dream in your head? or maybe there’s fireworks and a shouting, ranting dream in your head! both beg the same question: what are you gonna do about it?! 

i urge you to consider acting in a bold way! show up to that question and answer it with courage and moxie! the world needs the gifts that lie waiting inside you!! count those events and moments that made you gasp from joy or sadness this year and know that the deeper we are cut by sadness the fuller we can experience the joy life has to offer. (more on that in an upcoming blog). until then, do today BIG folks, write those dreams, plan those intentions, blaze a bright trail into this new year!! look out 2018, we’re coming for ya!

be brave,

be authentic,

jenni earle