I found Bernard and Jena, on Etsy in the very beginning of our adventure. Jena is honestly one of the sweetest women that I have ever met. Jena readily came up with an amazing idea for our garden box, a Mason Jar with specially cut drainage to grow herbs in. She put together an amazing little set that our subscribers were the first to ever have. She not only sent the Mason Jar but also included an adorable hanging tag, a seed packet, and instructions on how to put it all together. They also sent us their specially made hanging systems for their jars.
Jenna & Bernard live in Central Illinois and met in college. They have been Married for 30 years and have three children. Bernard just retired from teaching college music theory, and Jena is a retired homeschooler and reading teacher.
I may have had a near swoon moment when I saw that they live in a century-old church building. It is absolutely breathtaking and I love that they, like I, love history and treasure hunting. I took the following Excerpt from their about page on their website, I love the story and how Jena tells it: We started our business in June of 2009 because of a garage sale. Bernard came home with a basket full of miscellaneous jars. When we looked them up, we found a complete subculture of Ball jar collectors! That intrigued us and the more we studied, the more fascinated we became. So we decided to become collectors ourselves. We started buying jars. But you can't buy just one. They come in boxes, jumbled together with barn dirt and mud. That's why we decided to try an Etsy shop. We wanted to sell our extra jars and make some money to fund our habit.
As our jar obsession began to take hold, we wanted to incorporate them into everyday life. Standing at my kitchen sink, I looked at my plastic soap dispenser and thought, “Why can’t a Ball jar be a soap dispenser?” We had never seen one but my creative husband went to the basement and came back with a pump lid to fit a jar. He just does that. Give him a problem and he solves it.
Our hanging jars developed more slowly. We’d seen other hanging jars but didn’t like the way they looked. Eventually we came up with the chain and wire combination. His years of making bassoon reeds came in handy–working with wire and pliers is second nature.
At an auction in 2010, Bernard bought a kiln on a whim. That was the biggest thing he had ever brought home! He wanted to try melting jars, and through trial and error, he came up with this design. No one had melted mason jars like this before! His process keeps the adorable jar shape. I immediately said, "Spoon rest!"
We started selling our melted jars the summer of 2010. They were very popular, but by the end of 2010, Bernard was suffering some pretty severe health issues and the kiln went into retirement...until the summer of 2013. It's fun to see people love our melted mason jars just as much as we do. Unfortunately, some are copying our design, but if you want to buy from the inventor, you've come to the right place!
Lately he has taken mason jar glass, crushed it, melted it and created earrings. He just loves to think outside the box and come up with new ways to use his favorite media. We have a fantastic group of happy customers who have left us great feedback on our Etsy shop. Thank you!
I have truly enjoyed getting to know them and working with them. Thank you so much Jena & Bernard for all that you have done for us as well as every customer you work with!