SPOTLIGHT: RHYS JONES
June 30th, 2016
Like many Bettys, Rhys Jones splits her time between cleaning and art. In Jones’ case, that art is printmaking and screen printing, both for local print shop Burlesque of North America and for her own business, Lowwbones. Two Bettys had a chance to chat with Jones recently about her work, her art, and her favorite room to clean.
How did you get into the print-making business?
I graduated from U of M last May with a degree in visual arts. I graduated after 10 years of going to college off and on. This time I had so much more fun and did such better work because I was older and more experienced and knew more about what I wanted to get out of the experience.
While I was in school, I had the great opportunity to work with a local sign painter, Forrest Wozniak. He works with many people in the community and he was one of many personal referrals to Burlesque. I discovered their work online and then friends introduced me to Wes (the owner) via Facebook.
Tell us about the work you do at Burlesque of North America.
I interned there for three months and then they created a position to keep me on as staff. I’m the shop assistant there now.
Being the shop assistant allows me to have my hands in everything, which I love. I’m a total process nerd so I love seeing how things work, and I get to nerd out all the time in this role. I also get my hands dirty helping with whatever needs to be done. Even taking out the recycling helps make the magic happen at the shop. There’s a lot of creative stuff going on there that I get to see and be part of.
Now tell us about your business, Lowwbones.
I started Lowwbones in 2014 while I was a student at the U. I was learning to screen print, and I had a professor that really pushed me to create my own work. I made a print with the motto “strange girls never die” there, and that print and saying became my cornerstone piece. (I also curated a “Strange Girls Never Die” art show at COexhibitions Gallery that was a big hit.) At that time I was started making more t-shirts and patches. People liked them, so I continued. Now I sell online on Etsy and just launched my independent website. I also sell at local markets and festivals. I love being around the other artists and makers – it is one of my favorite parts of my work. Minneapolis is stuffed full of creatives — it’s a great place to be an artist. And (with a chuckle) it’s also a great place to print t-shirts because people don’t have to pay taxes on them.
You have lots of interesting things going! How do you fit all the pieces together?
I feel really lucky to have this life. I love cleaning. I was born loving cleaning. When I told my mom I got a cleaning job she said, “Finally! You’ve been training for that since you were a child.” Cleaning with Two Bettys has worked well because it has flexible scheduling and allows me to make the arrangements I need to make. My role at Burlesque of North America has been flexible, too. I’m very lucky to have work that is flexible and to be doing things I like and to be making a living wage while doing it. Seriously – making a living wage makes it possible to be creative. Really all these pieces work together well.
That’s really inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! It’s always so fun to hear more about the creative work going on in the Two Bettys community. But before you go, one more question. Something about that cleaning you were born loving to do! What is your favorite space in a home to clean, and why?
I really dig kitchens because you can always really see the difference after you clean them. Even in really clean kitchens – there’s just a huge difference. There are so many surfaces to really clean, and it all just looks new when you are done. It’s satisfying to see that.
Photo credit: Blkk Hand, www.blkkhand.com