Young jeweler uses creativity to help others

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

Jenny Elfanbaum has been interested in the creative arts all her life. The Parkway Central High School sophomore is a very hands-on crafter. She does scrapbooking, card making, knitting, cross-stitch and embroidery, sews and makes jewelry, just to name a few of her talents. And she is always looking for different kinds of craft projects and skills to add to her repertoire.

Currently Elfanbaum’s artistic creations are focused on beaded earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Her inventory includes unique wire-crocheted items and wire-wrapped pieces. Jenny enjoys the surprise element of the wire-wrapped items since she just “follow the curves of the piece” she is wrapping. She picked up both skills at Bizzy Beads at Chesterfield Towne Centre.

Jenny visited Bizzy Beads when it opened a few years ago, and she became a very frequent customer. She got to know the store’s owner, Lynn Huthsing, who invited her to submit an employment application. Jenny started working at the store this summer and couldn’t be happier.

“I love my job,” Elfanbaum said. “I get to create and help others be creative.”

For the past two summers Elfanbaum has taken her craft skills to camp as the art counselor at United Hebrew’s Camp Saul Spielberg. She is also part of the synagogue’s confirmation class and teaches Sunday school.

Her mother, Valerie, said Jenny has always been an entrepreneur.

“When she was 7 years old she created a summer camp for the four- and five-year-olds in the neighborhood,” Valerie said. “She planned it all out and even hired other kids to help.”

Jenny sells her creations at craft shows and home parties. She has participated in the Parkway Central craft fair for the past two years where her beaded bobby-pins have been a very popular item according to her mother. She also accepts custom orders and does repair work. One valuable skill she learned was how to knot pearls. That has allowed her to design some lovely pearl jewelry and she is also able to do repair work on pearl items as well.

You don’t have to look very far to see artistic talent runs in the family. Jenny’s mother has created and sold personalized Lucite frames. Her grandmother Adrienne Rose is a graphic artist and illustrator who teaches art and helps plan the annual Queeny Art Show. Her great-grandmother Rena Gallop was a “seamstress to the stars.” Her analytical side comes from her father, Bob.

She is a whiz with computer graphics said Valerie. Jenny used computer graphics to design the cover of her elementary school yearbook and won a contest in middle school to design the eighth-grade graduation T-shirt.

Jenny has also used her artistic talents to raise money for many organizations. She started Cases for a Cause soon after the devastating tsunami hit the coast of Asia in 2004. Elfanbaum wanted to feel she could help somehow. She created various sizes of decorated felt bags and sells them. The cases can be used to hold eyeglasses, iPods, cell phones and make great gift bags for jewelry and other small items. She donates the material and her time so each month 100 percent of the proceeds are donated to a different charity. So far Jenny has donated more than $400 to various organizations including: Make-A-Wish, American Red Cross, Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Humane Society of Missouri. Her efforts were highlighted in the Parkway Central 2006 yearbook.

For more information on the artistic creations of Jenny Elfanbaum please e-mail her at: [email protected]

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