We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessa Brantley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessa, what inspires you?
I am incredibly inspired by people and their stories. Their change, growth, brokenness and healing… the winding paths that take them to where they are, and where they are eventually going. My favorite wood to work with is wood that was hurt by circumstances, but not destroyed; it’s generally extremely unappealing and disfigured at first glance, but when I’m done turning it, those circumstances just created a more valuable beautiful inside.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I don’t play by the world’s rules. Social media demands perfection but I am so compelled to work with materials that are imperfect, to bring out the beauty and uniqueness that is too often written off. I never would have called myself an artist, or creative; I have a gift for administration and work in accounting, I love rules and control and structure. It was a huge step to release that and see what happens if I try *this* or fail at *that*. Every step I made in faith was rewarded. At times it was excruciating to lay down my agenda and desires, but the more I did the more I grew, not just as an artist but as a partner and a mother and a friend.
The brand IS my story, it’s redemption. It’s all about how circumstances can try to hurt you and take you down, but the end result is beauty.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We live in the mountains and it’s near blasphemous to say I hate hiking, but as beautiful as it is here, it’s not for me. WNC is “poppin” when it comes to local breweries and food, it’s my favorite scene. Downtown Sylva is a fantastic array of local shops and artisans as well as a smattering of restaurants that all have something unique to offer, from the atmosphere to the foodstuffs. Balsam Falls Brewery in Sylva, NC has the BEST locally brewed beer list in the area, they regularly have a dozen or so ciders on tap that you’ll never find elsewhere, and you can finish with a cheesy norman – a deconstructed cheeseburger flatbread. Just down the road is Innovation Brewery, but the real gem there is the BEST burger you’ll ever have from the food truck Cosmic Carryout. You can sit outside by the river and enjoy the beauty with your burger (instead of on an arduous hike). Next on our favorite food tour is just up the street at Lazy Hiker; my husband loves to try a new thing every time we go, but I stick to what I know and the bacon and goat cheese wrap has never failed me.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
God, and my now husband for leading me to Christ. My pastor, Blake Stanbery for speaking God’s truth and calling out the creative in me.
Emily Stuckey – Centered Photography