Aug. 30, 2018

Jennie Hepler-Takens: Affection for Oddity

Jennie Hepler-Takens: Affection for Oddity

My guest is artist Jennie Hepler-Takens of Prim Pumpkin. Jennie creates dolls using vintage fabrics and found objects. Jennie's work is beloved by collectors and has been featured in magazines – including the cover of Art Doll Quarterly in Autumn...


My guest is artist Jennie Hepler-Takens of Prim Pumpkin. Jennie creates dolls using vintage fabrics and found objects. Jennie's work is beloved by collectors and has been featured in magazines – including the cover of Art Doll Quarterly in Autumn 2016. In 2017, Jennie and her husband, Joe, produced their first Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween show - their take on the magic passed to them after Scott Smith and Bill Gilmore retired the Ghoultide Gathering show.

Jennie creates from a place of childlike wonder. She loves Halloween because it takes us back to a magical time in childhood. She is 100% dedicated to Halloween; even if she tries to create for other holidays, she always finds herself swinging back to Halloween.

Jennie’s work is a family endeavor. As a child, Jennie’s mom took her to a circus side-show, which continues to inspire her. Jennie and her grandmother owned a Victorian gift shop, where she earned her chops in antiques and sourcing.  Joe creates the glass eyes for her work. He understands her obsession for using mismatched David Bowie style eyes. Trips to antique markets with the kids are a common weekend event. Her 5-year-old daughter helps her curate materials for her work-in-progress dolls. Her studio is in her home so the whole family is always connected to it.

The materials used in her work are sourced from all over the world. She lives in a 100-year-old house filled with antiques.  She dips into her personal collection for doll materials when the timing is right.

2017 was the first time Jennie and Joe produced Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween. The show has 50 artists from all over the United States. It is more than a show – it is a community. Artists and collectors leave the show charged up for weeks! The show will be hosted in Marshall, Michigan for first time in 2018. Producing a show and art work at the same time is her biggest challenge. The show is like a having a wedding every year – it needs to be magical and beautiful, so it takes a lot of planning.

Jennie is obsessed with side-shows and oddities. Her favorite side-show personality is Jo-Jo the Dog Face Boy. All of us have something inside us that we think is odd. Jennie loves this about people; our quirks make us interesting, embrace them.  If Jennie could run off to the circus, she would be the Bearded Lady.

Jennie loves cryptozoology, a subculture of folklore creatures (for example: jackalopes and the Loch Ness Monster).  Jennie’s favorite creature is Big Foot – she said, “I’m totally into hairy little beasts…that’s what I love.” That is just one of many reasons to love Jennie and her work.

To learn more about the Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween show, visit the show web site at: http://www.bewitchingpeddlersofhalloween.com. For more on her work, visit http://www.primpumpkin.com/.

Thank you for listening to episode 1.  Please check out our website at www.halloweenartandtravel.com and subscribe to the show.

Jennie Hepler-Takens

Folk artist creating magical things with a focus on Halloween art sculpture. Collector of antique textiles, dolls, and fairytales.