There’s no doubt in Jennifer Perkins’ mind of who has been the biggest crafty influence in her life. “It was my mother who I have the most first hand crafty experience with,” she says. “She herself is crafty and was always doing projects around the house so my sister and I grew up watching her create with her hands. It is only natural that we would gravitate toward that, too.” Perkins’ mother, Fredda, says she had always been crafty, and sharing that with her daughters just made things more enjoyable. “It was a fun thing to do together and I think it made us closer and gave us common interests that were unique to our relationship,” Fredda says.
Jennifer, of Naughty Secretary Club, is known throughout the craft world for her fun and funky jewelry that mixes vintage pieces with bold, bright plastics. What you may be surprised to learn, though, is where her jewelry first started getting attention. “In the third or forth grade she won a science fair by making earrings with a little toothbrush on one side and a travel sized tube of toothpaste on the other,” says Fredda. “That just shows how a real crafter can bring their creativity to a totally different venue.”
From humble beginnings with travel toiletries at the science fair, Jennifer also experimented with turning rubber worm fishing lures into earrings that, sadly, started to melt in the hot Texas summer. Undaunted by the jewelry mishap, though, Jennifer went on to create the Naughty Secretary Club jewelry line, and also starred as the host on the DIY and HGTV Network’s Craft Lab and Stylelicious. Fredda even joined in on a few episodes.
Jennifer points out that she and her mom (and sister, artist Hope Perkins of Hot Pink Pistol) love all things vintage. Their annual pilgrimages to the Round Top, Texas Flea Market are documented heavily throughout Jennifer’s blog. “We are always looking for crafty ways to rationalize our vintage shopping addiction,” Jennifer says. “We both love bold, colorful, large and loud crafts. Craft big or go home is our motto.”
And though Fredda admits that she and her daughter may have slightly different craft aesthetics, the core of their style is the same. “I think we both strive for originality in our work,” says Fredda. “She uses things in her jewelry that are not traditional jewelry findings and I like to do the same thing.” Fredda’s design style may not be as bold as Jennifer’s, but her attitude toward trying new things is. “My mom is a much more adventuresome crafter than I,” says Jennifer. “I tend to stick with what I know, but every time I talk to her she has gotten a new power tool, craft supply or glue that she is trying out. She inspires me to branch out of my crafty shell more often.” Jennifer apparently has the same affect on her mother. “I love sitting down at my kitchen counter or up in my sewing room with Jennifer,” Fredda says. “The whole process is fun and filled with creativity. [Jennifer] takes me out of my comfort zone and starts me thinking in different ways.”
When the pair get together, there is always some kind of craft project in the making. Jennifer recently gave birth to a daughter, Tallulah, and she and her mother have been crafting baby items since Jennifer was pregnant. “Every time I craft with my mom is special,” Jennifer says. “I have some really creative friends between the people I have met filming Craft Lab, the Austin Craft Mafia, Stitch and various other crafty adventures. However, I have never met anyone that I click with creatively like I do my mother. She and I can bounce ideas off of each other for hours. If I ever have a crafting question she is the first person I turn to. I still show her all my crafty ventures proudly like a kid coming home from kindergarten with an art project that is going to get hung on the fridge. I don’t craft with my friends a lot, so getting to craft with my mother is extra fun.”