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Rising Stars: Meet Jemma Jio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jemma Jio.

Hi Jemma, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have loved making art and creating things with my hands ever since I was young. However, I took particular interest in the medium of wood after seeing a fellow classmate make a Scandinavian-style chair in my high school 3D Design class. I learned basic woodworking skills in this class in order to complete an art piece for my senior project. I still remember the first time I walked into a hardwood store to buy materials for the project – I couldn’t help but marvel at the vast array of colorful wood species – who knew there were woods that were naturally purple, deep red, black, and even striped like a zebra? I have been drawn to the exotic, vibrant kinds of wood species ever since.

Creating wasn’t a priority to me for most of college, but I picked it back up in my last year. I don’t know what the catalyst was, but I became obsessed with learning about all the things one could build with wood. I went down a rabbit hole of different types of tools and their uses, DIY home decor builds, wood wall art, and the seemingly endless possibilities when it came to making things with your own two hands. As I tried new projects, my tool collection grew as well as my skill set. It was (and still is) a lot of trial and error and a lot of YouTube tutorials!

At first, it was just for fun, a hobby that fed my creative fire. Then, a friend saw my work and commissioned me for a wall art piece. After that, I realized that people actually like what I create and would pay money for it.

I have been woodworking for fun and for side income for about three years now. From blanket ladders to bookmarks and serving boards to wall artwork, I have a wide variety of projects under my belt. My current focuses have been serving boards made with exotic wood species, wood-burned art, small pieces of wall art, and plant propagation stations.

In this next period of time, my goal is to use my collective experience to narrow down the kind of products and services I want to offer. I’m interested in pursuing a wide variety of things, so figuring out what to spend energy on can sometimes prove to be more difficult than the projects themselves. But with any endeavor, creative, business, or life in general, comes continuous learning, adjustment, and change. And that’s exactly what’s happening with Jio Wood Art. I’m taking one step at a time, following my intuition of what excites me and learning in real-time what to pause and reassess and what to sprint forward with.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am learning all the time – and learning anything new comes with trial and error and inevitable bumps in the road.

A struggle that’s come up for me is perfectionism that leads to inaction. I’ll have an idea for a project that excites me, but sometimes I don’t even start it because my head will have thoughts like, “well, that would require a technique you don’t know yet, and if you want the end product to be exactly like your vision, you probably shouldn’t try a new technique just in case you make a mistake.” Which, taken at face value, is a valid point that’s deterred me from starting projects before.

However, the way I’m overcoming this struggle is giving myself permission to make rough drafts and mistakes. The first go-around doesn’t have to be the final product nor does it have to be perfect. And I’m learning that even the final product doesn’t need to be perfect; because oftentimes, my favorite pieces of work have come from making a “mistake” and creatively working it into the design!

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Take imperfect action! Just try the thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, and it probably won’t be (that’s ok!) It doesn’t have to be anything big. By taking small, consistent action, you will build momentum and confidence in yourself.

Over time, you’ll get better at whatever you’re doing, you’ll learn and get more comfortable with trying new things and putting your work out into the world. This is something I need to remind myself often, especially when I’m feeling blocked by perfectionism.

“Action cures fear”

This is a mantra that a friend of mine shared recently – I hope it’s one that resonates with you just as much as it did with me.

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Jemma Jio

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