Brown Deer artist has Erin Hills pottery featured in U.S. Open merchandise tent 


June 10, 2017

Artist Jean Wells with Jean's Clay Studio smiles as she looks over some of her work on display for sale Thursday morning in the merchandise tent at Erin Hills in the town of Erin.
John Ehlke/Daily News

TOWN OF ERIN There are more than 250 vendors selling merchandise at this years 117th U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills. Those vendors range from international companies, such as Ralph Lauren, to locally owned.

One of the Wisconsin vendors is Jean Wells, owner of Jeans Clay Studio in Brown Deer.

Wells studio was specifically picked by officials from the USGA to create souvenirs for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

I didnt even know it was happening, Wells said. They contacted me about a year ago. They said this was the third year they were contacting local artists in the area of the championship.

Wells, a pottery artist for about 25 years, isnt a golf fan, but her husband is. So when he found out she was asked to do this, her husband was ecstatic. Initially, Wells was apprehensive.

I normally dont do logos, she said. Its not what Im known for. Im more known for graphic imagery. I usually shy away from logos.

She was intrigued, courtesy of the urging of her husband. He emphasized to her the magnitude of the event and the opportunity to have her products in front of tens of thousands of people per day throughout the championship. So she asked to see the logo to see if it was possible to fulfill the request.

Once I saw the shamrock, I said, Oh. Yes. Thats a great image. I can do that, Wells said. Its a beautiful logo. Its simple.

Wells spent months making vases, mugs, dishes and serving dishes out of clay with the 2017 U.S. Open logo on it. Each item, depending on the size, could take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour to make.

I worked all winter long on these pieces, Wells said. Im really proud. They look great right here on this little kiosk.

She also took on the project because it was the right time, adding it was during the slow months of her business.

Wells display is almost in the center of the merchandise tent, near where fans can purchase artwork of Erin Hills. Her kiosk also has a looping video that shows how her products were made.

Its very exciting, humbling, Wells said.

In all, Wells hand-crafted more than 600 items specifically for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills between February and now. When the championship is over, she hopes she makes a few sales.

Ive already had more followers on social media, Wells said. My website has tripled in the amount of people that are visiting my website.

I hope I have a few more fans.

Wells said she does ship nationally and has a store online: www.jeans

I hope I get a little more business from it, she said with a smile.