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College Issue: Savannah to Sydney
shopSCAD wares featured on MTV's <i>Real World</i>
Some of Jennifer Jenkins's quilts

THE FORMULA for MTV’s popular Real World series couldn’t be more simple, or more addictive: Get a diverse bunch of college-age hotties together in a big party house, fuel them with alcohol and let the cameras roll 24/7.

While that’s certainly the case with the latest installment, Real World: Sydney, there’s a new, local twist: The work of several SCAD students, faculty and alumni featured at shopSCAD can be seen on the program.

SCAD tells us that the MTV folks were working late one night when one of them found the shopSCAD website at and “fell in love” with some of the offerings there.

In all, the featured artists and their handiwork include: Ashley Byer (wool rug), Irene McCollam (pottery), Tom Gattis (hand-turned bowls), Ray Willett (salt and pepper shakers), and Working Class Studio (melamine dinnerware).

We spoke with another participating artist, Jennifer Jenkins, MFA fibers, whose “Curly-Q” quilts were chosen to be featured in the show, and who sells other items as well at shopSCAD under the Double J Designs label.

How did you find out that MTV wanted to feature your quilts?

Jennifer Jenkins: I’ve had my work at shopSCAD for about the last year. Since they’ve put up their website their reach has been much further. Actually MTV contacted shopSCAD, who then contacted me. MTV wanted nine quilts from me — three different colors, three each. The shop had already sold all my quilts, so I had to go back and make nine quilts in about ten days.

You must have worked 24 hours a day.

Jennifer Jenkins: Pretty much. My husband has been working with me in my quilting business, based out of our garage. We have this industrial-sized quilting machine, fourteen feet long, basically a sewing machine on rails. I wouldn’t have been able to do it unless I had that. So yeah, it was me, my husband and the machine working a week and a half straight.

How does one ship nine big quilts to Australia?

Jennifer Jenkins: Well, shopSCAD took care of all that. MTV had asked for all the work to be donated, in exchange for the PR benefit. But shopSCAD actually purchased the work from me just as if anyone had bought it from the store, which was nice.

Describe what makes your quilts special.

Jennifer Jenkins: I have two different routes with my work, the fine art side and the more commercial side. My quilwts for MTV are more like what you would use at home. They’re throw-size quilts, sixty by sixty, and they’re meant to be used. They’re 100 percent cotton and can be washed like normal. The other, fine art route uses a lot more stitching and decorative aspects.

All the quilts the Real World people have on their beds are always so huge and fluffy. Are yours like that?

Jennifer Jenkins: They’re not that big, really. What MTV does with my quilts is fold them in half and sort of put them on the foot of each bed. I have no idea why most of the bedding is usually so fluffy -- I guess because MTV wants the show to look really luxurious and hip, and I guess that fits into it. When I made these quilts I was thinking of selling them in Savannah, so we didn’t want them to be as full as maybe they’d be up north.

How do you leverage all this as a resume item?

Jennifer Jenkins: Well, one of the conditions was that shopSCAD and I couldn’t mention this for PR purposes until the show aired. But I am the featured artist for the month of September at shopSCAD, to coincide with the MTV release, which is kind of cool.