We had the good fortune of connecting with Lexi Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lexi, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always loved to make things out of other things. As a kid I took discarded pieces of clothing and old sheets to sew new dresses and made jewelry out of things I found in my dad’s shop. In 2014, I was having fun experimenting with making giant birthday cards out of record covers for friends and family. People kept telling me I should sell them. So I took a pile of old records my husband no longer wanted to make music from or listen to, and I made a few collages. I created an Etsy shop to use as my storefront and 4StoriesUp was born! I knew from the start that I wanted to keep my art focused on up-cycling materials that would otherwise be garbage, like scratched vinyl records. In this way, my childhood goal of making discarded things beautiful again, could remain the driving force.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been a Social Worker for 11 years, which is both a source of pride and one of the main reasons I continue to create. I’ve worked with children in foster care, inmates in need of treatment and seniors and adults with disabilities. I ran a community center in Virginia for a few years and am currently a Director of a program that provides services for the Blind.

Social Work is the type of career that necessitates having an escape that you can get to easily. Often, my assistance is needed because my. clients are going through the most difficult periods in their lives. I listen to stories of challenges and loss and face issues having to do with funding, flawed public policy and discrimination. It can get heavy and if you aren’t careful, it can weigh you right down! For me, pulling out my scissors and glue at the end of the day and making something beautiful allows me to let go of what I’ve carried with me from the day.

I think of my art as a reflection of the struggles, triumphs and beauty I’ve seen in my life. Along with seeing the dark times in people’s lives, I’ve also been there as my clients found joy, new purpose and accessed the help they need. Life is not black and white. The joy is found in all of the color and texture in between.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We currently live in the suburbs just outside Philly, a City I first moved to in 2002 to attend Temple University.

Chinatown is one of my favorite areas to show someone who’s never been. Donnell and I had our first date at Banana Leaf and its still our favorite restaurant. Their food is unique and the staff always makes you feel welcome, like you’re at their home for a meal rather than eating out. I love browsing the stores full of Buddha statues, plants and incense and being part of the busy-ness on the sidewalks. It feels like its own world within the City.

In college, I spent a lot of my time in Fairmount Park. I would do homework on a blanket, walk the trail along Kelly Drive with my roommate, and attended DJ parties set up under the stars. The park is the perfect place to sit and eat lunch before a visit to the Art Museum. Visitors love a run of the Rocky Steps and I love “Pay What You Wish” on first Sundays, when you set your own admission price. The Art Museum is amazing and I always find something I hadn’t seen before when I visit.

Out in the burbs, I love Peddlers Village! This perfectly landscaped, quaint village has sidewalks that wind between stores, restaurants and gardens. It’s easy to navigate with a group and almost every weekend there is some festival or event. You can always find an awesome food truck, someone performing live, or something beautiful to. decorate home with. Last time I was there, I ate lobster rolls and browsed stores with my friend and her daughter while sipping a frozen margarita. Its always a good time!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband, Donnell “DistantStarr” Jones, was the first person to encourage me to call myself an artist. He encouraged me to share my art with the world, not just our family and friends. He is a constant supplier of vinyl records and always willing to climb a ladder to help me hang my work at art shows. We have spent many nights side by side on the couch, both letting our creativity shine. I am inspired by him and determined to make him proud.

Website: https://4storiesup.com

Instagram: @4StoriesUp

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4StoriesUp

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbVa3SbdzgaJztNk2TQJKlw

Other: Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/4StoriesUp

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.