With places like Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters gobbling up artists’ ideas and designs and calling them their own, originality seems hard to find these days. As I was feeding my craving for handmade jewelry online, I came across Bumblesea and instantly fell in love. Not only is the jewelry stylish and modern, it’s also local. How delicious is that?

Designer Jennifer Morris pleasantly answered a few questions for Smile Politely:

Name: Jennifer Morris

Age: 20

Hometown: St. Louis, but my heart’s in Champaign

Occupation: Jewelry designer

Consumed by: Making everything myself. Right now I’m in the middle of soap, a chair, two lamps and a mannequin. I nearly attempted making my own boots but I decided that I’d gone too far.

One item you can’t live without: Margarine. I have some on my desk right now.

What has influenced your style?: Pop culture, flora and fauna, my sardonic mind.

What are you working on next?: A more upscale jewelry line for Bumblesea, and a blog called Nine Orchids where I feature indie artists and designers.


Most prized piece you’ve created: The “I hate Metallica” design will always be my baby since I made it when I was only fourteen, but I think the orchid spine is my best design.

Loveliest person, place and thing about Champaign-Urbana: Person: Nearly everyone. I’ve lived all over the place, but C-U has the most witty and interesting people I’ve ever met. Place: Central High School, I can’t believe how much we got away with there. I’m surprised the building’s still standing. Thing: The character in the older parts of town, cobblestone streets and old style lamp posts.

Nastiest person, place and thing about Champaign-Urbana: Person: Judy Fraser, definitely. Place: The only place that comes to mind is Bobo China. Thing: Since it’s a college town there’s hardly anything for high school kids to do. You pretty much have to become a mall rat, start a band, or get in trouble. I couldn’t play guitar very well so I got into trouble.

Jennifer Morris hates Metallica, and loves Champaign-Urbana. She spends her days gardening, writing for her art/fashion/design blog Nine Orchids and running her online jewelry boutique, Bumblesea.