Jocelyn of JOCE's Outback Retablos, Arts and Craftstore loves what she does. She's dedicated and wakes up every morning and goes to work building up her stock and working on customised orders. She's creative to the core and not only does she derive great pleasure from what she does as she loves miniature things, she finds it a relaxing way to unwind from the pressures of heading down the professional path of basketball and other creative pursuits which creates a life, work balance for her. She comes from a family of basketball players, her parents and grandparents also playing in their lifetime. Now her dad coaches her in the family tradition.
Her fascination with Retablos started when she used to watch her dad building them when she was much younger. He shelved it away to start his own business in hydraulics and it was forgotten about for a few years till they made a trip to Chile to a town called Pomadire. Retablos are an old and traditional art form by artisans and there are beautiful examples in Chile; its realism catching Joce's eye. Inspired and fired up when she got home, she pulled out every single box of Retablo related tools and supplies her dad had stored away and started building them. Helped along by her dad for the first 6 or 7 Retablos, Jocelyn now builds some amazing miniatures. In the picture above, Joce is holding the very first Retablo her dad made that hangs on their walls at home.
She handcrafts them with such precision and attention to detail, if you look on her Facebook page you'll be especially blown away by the pictures of a cakeshop that has been customised as a Retablo. The pictures shift from reality to Retablo and at some point it's almost difficult to pick one from the other. Joce is at the stage now where she replicates what customised orders require through her sheer creative imagination and crafting and building skills. She must get this precise methodical trait from her dad and her creative passionate flair from her mother who is also involved in markets, selling Chilean souvenirs, artefacts and more. To see the images here in its full glorious detail and to appreciate Joce's artistry, click on the images which will take you to an enlarged version of the picture. If you get a 'plus' sign when you hover over the enlarged image with your mouse, click it again and you'll see the image in its even larger original format.
Most of the styles Joce chooses are based on Australian themed houses as people relate better to them here and it makes a perfect Australian souvenir. She gets inspiration from pictures of real heritage houses and picks some of it's features to add to her own creations. With special and customised orders she can build anything as far as the imagination goes. She requires a visual photograph of the original building she's to replicate, the more detail the better. She closely observes the texture of the house and its colour and shape and scales everything down from there. That in itself requires a bit of mathematical prowess. She can also customise shops, factories and so on, reflecting the customer's requirement and adding her own flair to the project and giving the intended owner his or her own personal short story.
Working with miniatures takes a lot of skill and can be difficult when one is trying to make something new. Joce sells her Retablos at craft markets but she doesn't have specific markets she attends regularly. Her sizes range from small to large (in the very first picture above you can see Joce holding a small and large Retablo for comparison) and her prices from $35 to $75. It's a bit more for customised orders depending on how much detail is required and how large a Retablo is wanted. She can build them up to any size required outside the standard sizes she sells at the markets. During the winter months Joce catches up on building her stock and working on customised orders and heads for the markets the rest of the year. She doesn't have a website and she does not post her Retablos. They come packed in a lovely box for you to take away and you can order and be in contact with Joce through her Facebook page.
Just as I was about to leave I asked Joce what else she liked to do outside of making miniature things. She loves to design T-shirts and what she calls 'couch potato' wear. In the future she'd love to have her own court-side fashion and casual shoes line. I wouldn't put it past this young lady who managed to surprise me with her jewellery making talent she was playing around with. To market to market they should go too I told her. They're fresh, young and modern and her wirework and colour combinations were as good as any I've seen, especially her 'birds nest' piece.
It was a pleasure to meet such a skilled and dedicated young lady and the next time you see her Retablos, think of the amount of work, hours and skill that goes into it to become the type of gift that is special, personalised and representative of not only the facade of some building but of someones memories and all that they hold dear to them. Joce is the one you want to build you that special gift with great care and passion. Do contact her on her Facebook page.