Jenna Reynolds, aka Gypsy Mermaid Makes a Splash With Her Art Pieces
From a young age, Jenna Reynolds (Class of 2008) sensed a creative spark within her. With the support of the Santa Maria College Community and, most notably, the Arts Department, Jenna’s work was shared with the public eye, earning her numerous accolades and solidifying her passion for the creative industry. A few years down the line, she took the plunge into becoming a freelance creative and never looked back. Here is her story:
Could you reflect on your time at the College and share any memorable anecdotes or staff members who left a lasting impression on you?
My educational journey commenced at Mel Maria Primary School and extended all the way to Santa Maria, where my focus shifted towards sports and the arts during high school. The faculty in these departments played a pivotal role in making my time there not only enjoyable but also truly memorable.
The Art Department staff, in particular, left a lasting impression with their unwavering positivity, encouragement, and passion. Graduating in 2008, certain key experiences stand out vividly in my memory. One highlight was the Art camp at Yanchep, an event that allowed me to create wearable jewellery and art pieces while painting on the beach—an experience that remains etched in my mind.
I am immensely grateful for the unique opportunities provided, such as engaging with live models and interacting with resident artists. These classes were a treasure trove of education, filled with inspiration and an undeniable sense of excitement. Looking back, I consider these moments as not only enriching my academic journey but also contributing significantly to my personal growth.
Your involvement in the Arts Department is interesting. Could you elaborate on that aspect of your college experience?
Starting from Year 10, my fascination with art and art history deepened. While I had always possessed a creative spirit and found joy in expressing it, I never contemplated it as a viable career option. However, during this phase, my aspirations shifted towards becoming a fashion designer. In Year 11, I directed my focus towards textiles and art, particularly emphasising a textural component.
Elevating my involvement in Year 12, I assumed the role of Art Captain. Embracing the responsibility, I relished the opportunity to offer encouragement and support to my peers. Choosing textiles as my major, the annual fashion show became a highly anticipated highlight, adding a vibrant touch to the academic year.
The unwavering encouragement from Mrs Bowden and Mrs Withers remains etched in my memory, a source of inspiration that propelled me forward in pursuing my passion for art and design.
Was your passion for working in the creative industry always a constant in your life?
Since childhood, my love for jewellery was evident, and I seized every opportunity to grab my dad’s film camera. Innately creative and drawn to all things related to fashion and art, these interests were always a part of my identity. However, it wasn’t until Year 10 that I began seriously considering them as potential career paths.
The turning point came when the art department entered some of my pieces into competitions. Winning awards in these competitions boosted my confidence significantly, providing the validation I needed to pursue my creative inclinations further.
Post-graduation, what pursuits did you find yourself engaged in?
Following my graduation from Santa Maria, I embarked on a journey that led me to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Design Photography at Curtin University, culminating in receiving the Photography award. Subsequently, I ventured into the freelance realm as a fashion and portrait photographer. Despite the challenges and limited job opportunities in the industry, I decided to further hone my skills.
Recognising the importance of diversifying my expertise, I enrolled in TAFE to pursue a Cert III in Events Management. Concurrently, I delved into my passion for jewellery making by attending after-hours adult courses at TAFE.
The events industry soon became my focus, and I dedicated over eight years to working with formal catering companies, venues, and event management firms. Throughout this period, I actively planned, managed, styled, and executed a diverse range of events in Perth, including weddings, private functions, pop-up bars, festivals, park openings, and more.
With a wealth of experience and honed skills, I reached a pivotal moment where I decided to take a leap of faith. I left my full-time job to pursue my own business, driven by the culmination of my journey and the expertise I had acquired along the way.
Could you provide insight into your current role and shed light on Gypsy Mermaid Creative? Additionally, what does a typical day look like for you?
As the sole artist and owner operating under the brand name Gypsy Mermaid Creative, I specialise in aerial drone photography and craft unique, hand-beaded jewellery pieces. Fortunately, my work has garnered recognition, finding its place in stores and galleries, and even featuring in two exhibitions in 2023.
Both my photography and jewellery reflect my distinctive abstract style, emphasising textures, colours, and shapes.
A typical day in the life of Gypsy Mermaid is quite diverse. It might begin with enjoying a hot coffee before diving straight into the studio to fulfil orders, ensuring they are ready for prompt dispatch to customers. Administrative tasks, including invoicing, managing stock levels, and responding to emails, fill a portion of each day. However, the heart of my routine revolves around crafting jewellery pieces, a process that involves working with freshwater pearls, gem nuggets, and an assortment of beads.
During market season, my day takes a turn towards pricing pieces, loading up the car, and meticulously setting up my market stall. At times, creativity strikes during the night, prompting me to work late and create new styles that I eagerly share on social media the following day. The dynamic nature of my work keeps each day unique, blending the practicalities of running a business with the joy of creating art.
For those contemplating the leap into entrepreneurship, what advice would you offer?
Conduct thorough research, identify the demand, and take the plunge when you feel ready. I strongly advocate the philosophy of “do it right if you’re doing it at all.” Keep in mind that establishing rapport with people will consistently work in your favour, and always adhere to your ethical principles.
Running a business demands considerable time and effort. In your free time, what activities bring joy and fulfilment to your life?
I live on the Ningaloo Reef, so I fill my free moments with friends, enjoying and immersing myself in nature. Either free diving, skurfing, jet skiing or hiking. It is currently turtle season so ending the day watching turtles hatch is very magical.
If you had the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
The Greek Islands – I have been once and want to do it again. I love the architecture and the island life.
After a busy day, how do you unwind and recharge?
Either a drive along the beach watching the sunset or an ice bath.
Looking ahead, what is your primary goal for 2024?
To keep creating unique, wearable art and abstract prints and launch my website
Where can we discover your artistic creations?
- To follow along my day-to-day and see my creations and what inspires them; along with it being a location to contact me for custom works.
Website: (COMING SOON)
I have work which can be viewed in person at the below locations:
- Exmouth Cultural Arts Centre, Exmouth
- Wandering Tide (Boutique), Exmouth
- Haven (Boutique), Jurien Bay
- Community Markets, Exmouth
One-off Jewelery Pieces
- Ningaloo Discovery Centre, Exmouth
- Wandering Tide (Boutique), Exmouth
- Community Markets, Exmouth