Maker City KC

Meet Jessica Rogers, the textile artist behind Cartwheel and Boulevardia Makers Market

Jessica Rogers is the smiling face behind Cartwheel, a creative lifestyle brand specializing in design and housewares.

Rogers, a Florida native who earned a fine arts degree in fiber at the Savannah College of Art & Design, is also the assistant director at the Kansas City Artists Coalition. She uses her background in traditional textiles to create one-of-a-kind garments, quilt-inspired paintings, public murals and more. She is a resident artist at the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Neighborhood Artist Residency.

Outside of her personal artwork, Rogers is known as a serial community-preneur who uses her background in the arts as a catalyst for connecting people and creating community. In 2010, she started Cartwheel as a mobile retail and gallery space in a converted bus, and shortly after, she opened The Gypsy Market, a local artisan marketplace.

For the past six years, she’s been on the Boulevardia Makers Market committee, a role that involves gathering makers for the festival. She has created and contributed to many community driven projects and is very passionate about providing new experiences and opportunities for her community.

This weekend, more than 20 makers will be on display at Boulevardia. The festival is Friday and Saturday at the Stockyards District in the West Bottoms. Click here for more info about the Boulevardia Makers Market.

1. What inspires you and your work?

As an artist I am inspired by the traditional work of women’s handicraft. As an arts administrator and community organizer I am inspired by my community and providing opportunities that don’t exist yet for artists and creatives.

2. Are makers doers or dreamers?

I believe makers are doers and dreamers. It’s my belief that you have to be a dreamer in order to be a doer!

3. What invention/product do you wish you would have created?

The self-tying water balloon.

4. What is the worst invention/product still embraced by modern society?

Straws and pretty much all non-recyclable plastics — including the self-tying water balloon.

5. If you could sit down and have a drink with any person in your industry, who would it be and why?

I really admire the work of Saya Woolfalk. Her artwork is filled with color, pattern, traditional craft processes, and these incredible completely immersive installation experiences, I would love to have a drink with her. And if you have time, do yourself a favor and go check out her current work at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

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6. What do you love most about the Maker Movement happening in Kansas City right now?

I love that it has provided so many opportunities for makers to become self-employed business owners.

7. Who or what is another maker in Kansas City that you’re impressed and inspired by?

Whitney Manney.

8. What Kansas City creation/icon best reflects our makers’ community?

I would say the KC creation that best describes our makers community are makers collectives such as Maker Village, Cherry Pit Collective and Print League. I know I am forgetting a ton, but organizations and collectives where makers and creatives have realized that the real power is in collaboration — to me that sums up the maker community.


9. If you could ask people to do just one thing to support the Maker Movement what would it be?

Buy local, support local.

Keep up with Cartwheel Jess on the web here: