Thursday, June 23, 2011

Member Spotlight - BZB Designs


Tell us a little about yourself (name, where from, where you are now, your Etsy shop).
Hi! I’m Beckie, from bzb designs and bzb paperie. I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (and no I am not Amish – people love to ask!) and now live in Pearl River, New York.

What is your professional background?
I am a textile designer/colorist from 9-5 for a commercial upholstery company but whenever I am not at this job, I am immersed in work for my two shops.

What led you to your current craft?
Being the daughter of a professional photographer and a teacher/interior decorator, I have always been surrounded by creativity. I grew up playing and creating in my dad’s studio while my mom sewed curtains and pillows for his various room sets. Scraps of fabrics were instantly taken off the floor and turned into dresses for my dolls.

In high school, I won a few awards in the county’s art show and my pieces hung in a gallery in downtown Lancaster. While walking around the show, my parents and I noticed a very eclectic artist’s studio with a huge wooden loom on the second floor. My mom called around to see where I could take weaving lessons and I ended up taking classes from the woman in the gallery!

All throughout high school I would go to weave every Saturday with Bernie and also work at an artisan’s jewelry store making and selling jewelry after school. In college I decided to pursue textile design because I saw the struggle and demand Kathryn, my boss, went through, doing craft shows on the weekends while keeping her wholesale customers and retail clients happy. Ironically, I am now juggling my day job with doing craft shows and creating for my Etsy stores!


How do you feed your creativity and deal with a creative block?
I get inspired by lots of different mediums. Sometimes a walk in the park or flipping through a fashion magazine or looking at home d├ęcor blogs I find a color combination or texture that gets my mind going again to work through a creative block. I love looking at everyday items and things that might be thrown away and try to find a different way to utilize them into something useful. This is how my recycled grocery bags and caution tape bags came about – I refused to throw plastic bags out and slowly ended up with a closet full of bags. The little trash bins in our apartment never filled up quickly enough to go through this stash so I looked for other ways to use them. And voila! The zippered pouches were my result.

Describe your work area.
My husband Bill and I live in a very small apartment, so my work area is also our living room, dining room, guest bedroom, and office. It’s a pain when we have company to have to clean up my fun, just to get it all out again when they leave. I keep dreaming of a day when we have a bigger place and I will have a room for my creativity so that I can just shut the door and the craftiness is contained!

Our families live in Pennsylvania, so when we go visit for a weekend, Bill will drive and I will be knitting or assembling wedding programs in the passenger’s seat. He calls the car my “second studio” and keeps telling me he wants to take a picture of me working in the car to show people how their goods are made!

Favorite time of day to work?
Late at night

How did you end up on Etsy?
I was dealing with the winter blues a few years ago and needed to express myself creatively, so I started knitting and weaving for people. Then Etsy just fell into my lap and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Other than your supplies and  materials, what do you want with you on a stranded island?
I would love my Kindle, running shoes, knitting needles, and my family.

Any guilty pleasures?
Stephen Starr restaurants! My aunt started taking me to his restaurants in Philadelphia when I was in college and I love them! Each one is so different, yet each has a great atmosphere and even better food. I haven’t been to Morimoto or Buddakan in NYC, but the ones in Philly are amazing!

Words of wisdom for aspiring artists?
Do what you love and love what you do. Whatever that evolves to, keep it truly you.