Thursday, December 8, 2011

Studio Spotlight: Graceful Arts

The creative hands and mind behind Graceful Arts is Katie Forbes.  She's our next Studio Spotlight from our guild.  

I'm always interested in where someone is coming from... what's their background that got them to this place of creating and making things by hand. 

Katie's personality comes through in her own words:

I've always loved making things!  I made handmade gifts for friends and family for many years, and actually  have nothing to show for some of my creations.  Gave them all away!  When I began planning to open an online store, I began making handmade note cards.  I guess it was my current craft at the time.  I quickly got more involved with jewelry making - another thing I'd dabbled in for awhile.  

However, one thing I'd always done is sewing.  My Mom taught me when I was about 10, on a well-used Pfaff.  I swear that machine had a personality of its own, and it did not like this new "pup" coming in and messing with it!  It was always jamming up on me.  It took quite some time for us to come to a good working relationship!  When my younger sister started learning to sew, it was the same scenario for her.  Because I've been sewing for more than 40 years now (I can't possibly be that old!), it's what I do best.  Everyone knows me knows that I can sew - anything!  The quilting was an off-shoot from the sewing, inspired by my youngest sister.  I think what I enjoy the most about sewing and quilting is the design factor. I really love the act of selecting colors, patterns, prints, and learning what works and doesn't work.  That whole color thing is where it's all at for me!  (For me, too, Katie!)

Who or what inspires you?

I love to look at quilts and artistically designed and created clothing and accessories.  There again, it's the color and design thing, as well as learning the techniques used to accomplish a look.  One of my favorite quilters currently is Gwen Marston of Liberating Quilting.

Where do you create?  Do you have a studio space?

My studio space is, well, all over my home!  My husband and I built our home about 15-20 years ago.  In designing it, we put a sewing "desk" with storage drawers at the inner wall of the breakfast room - right in the middle of the kitchen/breakfast/family room.  This was a dream come true; I no longer had to clear my sewing in order to set the table for a meal.  And, I could keep an eye on the stove and sew at the same time.  I also ended up with 6 feet of floor to ceiling cabinets for fabric and craft supplies just around the corner in the family room.  Heaven!  And, no, it can no longer hold everything!

My beading takes place in a 
corner of our guest room 
upstairs, which works well 
except for when our married 
daughters are visiting.  
do much of my photography 
in the guest room, as well.

My papercrafting takes place 
at my desk in the office, 
where it seems much of my 
time is spent. 

What is the best experience you've had with a handmade buyer?  

My best experience with a buyer is ongoing.  I sold a baby blanket to someone in Connecticut a couple of months ago.  She wrote that she loved it, and her baby boy did, too.  Soon I received a request for another blanket, but I could find more of that flannel, so we agreed upon the same print in a cuddly fabric with satin binding, along with some "loveys."  She loved those, too, and asked if I could take one of the flannel ones in similar vibrant colors but a different print because her older boy wanted his own.  And now I'm working on 2 more blankets and a few "loveys" in similar colors and print, because her little guy won't sleep with any other blanket.  They aren't using their store bought blankets at all anymore!  Oh, how I love a happy customer!

What is something others may not know about you that you'd like to share?

Before I went into business with my creativity, I worked for many years as an administrative assistant.  But my job responsibilities had changed greatly and the workplace atmosphere was becoming intolerable for me.  I was quite literally ill from the stress of it.  So, I ended up resigning and going into business.  I have learned that my level of creativity is a very strong indicator of how healthy I am.  I can easily say now that I love what I do.  And, I know that as I make my business more profitable I will enjoy it even more!

My favorite items of Katie's are her quilted table runners.  This graphic red and white one I just love!

Posted for the Pacific Northwest ArtFire Guild by: Honey from the Bee


Michelle said...

Beautiful!! I love those blankets, I can totally understand not using any store bought ones.. grew up with a quilter/sewer as a mom and we never used store bought blankets. I can't wait to go explore your shop and check out the table runners.. that red and white one is beautiful!

Linda Landig said...

Such a good interview. I totally love that table runner, too! Wow!

Dana said...

Love the blankets and what I wouldn't give to have separate areas for sewing, beading and paper crafting. Great interview.

Katie said...

Gosh, thank you Janet!