By Seth Daniel
Piecing things together has become a way of life for Jenn Sherr of the South End.
Starting in her former apartment on Claremont Park, she launched some years ago what has been a successful career as a decoupage artists and teacher. Now living in the Troy, she keeps a studio on Wareham Street and finds time to create despite an increasingly busy schedule for teaching the art to audiences.
Decoupage is the delicate art of applying paper cutouts with adhesive to objects such as boxes, purses or canvases. For Sherr, she likes to focus on creating her art using celebrities, and it can be seen in the work she does.
From her studio this month, she said she is self-taught, but studied the art for years by watching her mother.
“My mother, Joyce Sherr, was a decoupage artist, and she taught me decoupage at the age of 5,” said Sherr.
Yet, at the same time, her father and siblings were of a business-oriented mind. So, she was able to enter the artistic world from both perspectives.
“Having them both made me very determined to show I could do it,” she said. “I’ve learned to create from my mother and my father gave me the business sense for my career. It’s benefitted me greatly.”
Before she started her work professionally, she would create her own pieces that she wore around –things like cuff bracelets – and it drew attention.
“People would literally stop me on the street and ask me where I bought my cuff,” she said with a laugh. “I was always fascinated with it, but never thought about it. In 2008, I launched it in the kitchen of my Claremont Park apartment, and now, I’ve moved to the Troy and live close to my studio. I don’t work out of my kitchen anymore…Today, I really enjoy the teaching component.”
Sherr teaches at the Hill House on Beacon Hill, but also runs classes at her studio on Monday nights. Some might have seen her work recently in the coveted window space of the South End Branch Library – where Sherr has arranged window shows on occasion.
She said learning decoupage can be a fun activity for families – a way to turn off the television, the phones and the iPads and spend time with one another learning a very accessible art form.
“Over the last 15 years I’ve lived in the South End, it’s changed,” she said. “There weren’t many families back then. Today, there are a lot of families and this is a great way for families to bond. It’s a great way for mothers and daughters or fathers and daughters and kids in general to bond…It’s a nice way to spend your time.”
She said she taught her first class at the United South End Settlements in 2007, and since then, things have taken off.
Sherr is also very active in the United South End Artists (USEA), and is coming off of another successful Open Studios event recently.
Nowadays, she said she has become an early riser and finds time to create her own work in those early hours around 5 or 6 a.m. She said it’s the reaction to her work that keeps her teaching and creating in an art form rarely seen in Boston.
“I used to do a lot of shows,” she said. “People always used to look at my pieces and smile. That’s really my goal – to make people find joy with the art and to be curious about it. It’s different. You don’t see it a lot. The best reaction, in the end, is a smile.”
Sherr can be reached through her Website at jennsherrdesign.com or by e-mail at [email protected].