Jen Westbrook grew up making things from paper, rubber bands, string, and paper clips to clovers and gum wrappers. Over the years she has explored creating in many different mediums. Beads, chains, and metalwork are her current materials of choice â€“ including working vintage pieces into modern metal pieces to create jewelry and other items. She has been taking metalsmith classes from Wendy Thurlow of Hammered by Wendy in Bradenton.
When not making jewelry, Jen can be found teaching elementary school. She has been teaching school for 27 years and is currently a fourth grade teacher. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Central Florida and her masters degree is from Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
Jen recently started her own business, Ayano and Company, to provide an outlet for the ideas that pop into her head at random times â€“ especially in the middle of the night. She hopes to be able to work full time creating and designing jewelry in the near future and retire from teaching. Ayano means "my design" in Japanese and "Company" refers to her two Airedale Terriers, Gus and Finn, who are always by her side. "Company" also refers to her husband, Ron, and son, Zach, who help and support her new endeavor.
Jen hopes to create pieces of jewelry that make the wearer feel empowered by the design and materials and just feel good about their accessories. You can find her working in her studio in Apollo Beach when she is not out and about exploring materials and design or teaching school.