"I've always made things," says 16-year-old Jinah Parker. "Any craft-oriented thing, I would do."
First there were popsicle-stick boxes. And pot holders. Then homemade beads out of Sculpy clay. Paintings. And now, bead necklaces.
Until this year, the only buyers for her jewelry were fellow classmates at Nardin Academy, where Jinah is a senior.
But when her mother spotted an ad in Artvoice asking for local artists' work to sell at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Jinah responded.
"It was quality work that I thought would sell, and it does," says Karen Waldin, visitor service coordinator and Museum Store associate at Burchfield-Penney. The necklaces have been selling since they went on sale in February.
"I try to make all of my necklaces unique and different," says Jinah. Her inspiration for the various designs she uses is spontaneous, she says. "I've never taken lessons. I just get ideas, like a songwriter."
She also adds that she has no particular favorite pattern; depending on its complexity, a pattern can take from one hour to two days to complete.
The necklaces, as well as occasional anklets, are made from monofilament fishing line and an assortment of different-sized, colorful beads.
She also makes hemp necklaces, though those are sold strictly to classmates and friends.
Her talent also caught the eye of the Bead Gallery on Main Street, which Jinah frequents for supplies.
"I always thought it would be cool to work there," she said. She now works there as a design consultant, explains Jinah, "to assist customers in making jewelry, but not to make it for them."
Jewelry-making is not her only talent.
Enrolled in dance lessons since age 4, she now takes ballet, tap and jazz.
During the summer she choreographed and practiced a solo for college auditions with Nardin's dance teacher, Ann Mane Caldiero.
She plans to pursue a dance/business major in college, "but that could always change."
A trip to France this summer with several other Buffalo high school students provided, according to her mother, "an art history lesson."
After she returned, Jinah began an internship with the curators of education at the Burchfield-Penney "to get an idea of how a museum works."
Jinah has volunteered at the Frank Lloyd Wright windows exhibit, and she also helped prepare Family Day for that event. She is also being trained to give tours of the museum to other students.
So when does she find time to make necklaces?
"In my free time."
Anna Brady is a sophomore at Nardin Academy.