Sunday, July 21, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 67

This week we are off to Bloomington, IL

Name: Priscilla and Andy 
Age: 34 
Occupation: Owners of Bruno and Betty/Screen print artists/Seamstress
Etsy Shop: moxiemadness and brunoandbettyshop

Tell us a little about yourself.
We are a husband and wife collective inspired by all things vintage. We spend loads of time thinking up new design ideas, taking silly pictures, drinking coffee, taking random walks, listening to records. Both Andy and I find a huge gratification in making things, even if it's only dinner.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
Andy has been creating things for as long as he can remember. Building skate board ramps and making music. I was a bit of a late starter when it comes to creating. I started sewing when I inherited all of my crafty grandmothers supplies. I've been a buyer on Etsy since 2006 but only started seriously selling in the past year or so.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
Bruno and Betty came to life last summer when I retired from roller derby, my teams name was the Alpha Betties and I guess I got used to being called Betty all the time. Bruno is one of Andy's many nicknames. When we paired the two it was instant cuteness.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
Yes! I've been full time screen print artist since October of last year. I quit my day job that I had for over 14 years and decided to give it a go. It's super stressful sometimes but the best stress I've ever had! Andy still works part time at his day job, but hopeful that won't be the case for much longer.

How would you describe your creative process? 
Since there's two of us our creative process is a little crazy. It's not uncommon for one of us to randomly blurt out a concept while we're grocery shopping or taking a walk. My pockets are usually full of scraps of paper with ideas written on them, then once or twice a week we'll have a brain storming session where we go through and weed out all the jots and scribbles from that week or the endless backlog of ideas we haven't gotten to yet. Then we sketch it out and try to figure out if it's better suited for a garment or house ware or both, and what colors to use. Once that's done it's pretty easy, breezy to the finished product. We love to work in limited edition batches so there's always room for something new.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Most of our inspiration comes from things we adore like plants, nature, kitschy knick knacks and vintage eye candy from all the old movies we love watching. Lots of times inspiration strikes while we're at the thrift store or when we're listening to ever growing record collection. We refuse to make anything we wouldn't wear ourselves or have in our own homes.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows?
Yes, we did our first show; Green With Indie back in March, and just returned from the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange in Indianapolis a few weeks ago.

• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
Because we're still pretty new to the craft show scene we don't really have any special methods of getting ready. We usually start preparing about 2-3 months in advance but we don't actually feel ready until we get there and set up.

Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work
We were a bit nervous at our first show going from Etsy which is such a lovely community of people who don't mind helping each other. We really didn't know what to expect from fellow vendors at craft shows, luckily we've been embraced by our neighboring vendors who are much more seasoned then we are and have been super encouraging with tips and leads to other shows. One of the best experiences we had at our first show was a lady brought to tears over our "I Love You More Than Biscuits and Gravy" designs, because her mother used to say that to her everyday. Sharing a genuine moment with a stranger like that couldn't be done on the internet.

What is your most cherished handmade item?
It would have to be the sampler my mother made for me of a vintage sewing machine, which is a replica of my grandmothers sewing machine.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
We recently acquired a plot at our community garden, growing assorted heirloom veggies. It's insane how much time we spend out there but we love it. We also enjoy cooking together and hosting brunches for our friends and families.

We're always trying new things and have a sort of list of DIY projects that we enjoy mastering, like making our own cleaning products, laundry soaps and organic bug sprays for the garden. Our latest project was making black berry brandy for fathers day gifts. 

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
I always wanted to be a photo journalist when I was a young'n. Andy still talks about going to culinary school.

Five years from now you will be…
Still creating and selling our work, but hopefully via a micro farm somewhere. I really want chickens and goats!

Describe yourself in five words:
Kooky, quiet, headstrong, eclectic, maker

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
The Cramps, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Billy Childish, Kimya Dawson and Tom Waits.

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Don't talk about it to much, DO IT! Also don't let nay sayers discourage you, most people lack the follow through of actually doing something. Whatever you do make it yours, love it and don't look back.