This week, we are thrilled to welcome Betz White to Creativebug. She is a stellar addition to our family, with her unflappable style and wealth of knowledge. Her bag projects will propel your sewing to the next level, while leaving plenty of room to insert your own sense of style with the prints and fabrics you choose.
When did you start crafting and what was your gateway craft?
I started crafting as a child in the 70’s with my mom and brothers around the kitchen table. We tried every craft of the moment: macrame, paper mache, sand candles, corn husk dolls, tie dye, silk screen, knitting, sewing, you name it! I’ve always loved knitting. My love of sewing came a little later.
A lot of your work is created from recycled materials and you were one of the first to start this trend – what sparked that for you?
I went to college for fashion design. One quarter we learned to use the knitting machine and I became obsessed! I began knitting with wool yarn then felted it to make wonderful dense fabric that I could cut, sew and mold into anything. At some point I realized that I could get to the sewing faster (and more cheaply) by buying wool sweaters at the thrift store. Wool sweaters lead to vintage sheets and now thrift stores are one of my favorite places to shop for materials. I love the way that the limitations of reuse can spark creativity.
You have all boys, are they at all interested in making stuff and do you do anything to get them excited about being creative?
When they were little, our boys spent a lot of time drawing, playing with clay and building things out of found objects. As they’ve gotten older their creative endeavors have expanded to Lego stop motion animations and very elaborate Halloween costumes. Our kitchen pantry is filled with more art supplies than food so they’ve always had access to whatever materials they may want.
You’ve had so many amazing moments in your career- what’s been a highlight for you?
My first 2 books, Warm Fuzzies and Sewing Green were both huge career highlights for me. Bringing a book into the world is an enormous undertaking. Another highlight was being able to realize my dream of designing prints for organic fabrics.
Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own craft based business?
Be authentic in everything you put out into the world. If something isn’t making your heart sing, it will show in your work. You can listen to advice and ask your customers what they would like to see from you, but at the end of the day you need to love doing it. Expect your business to change and evolve along the way, there are no wrong turns unless you choose not to learn from them. I read this somewhere once and have always loved it: “Don’t compare and despair. Admire and inspire.”
What’s next? Are there any new goals for you on the horizon?
I’m currently busy writing my third sewing book which is being published by Interweave, available in 2014. After I get through my big book deadlines I have a million and one ideas on my “after the book” to do list including new sewing patterns, more teaching and more fabric design.