Happy Tuesday, everyone! I have an interview with Hollie Jenkins of rePresent today. Hollie happens to be an old friend of mine from our days at Waller High School, which is about 2 1/2 hours from Austin. Now, by a stroke of total luck & coincidence, we live in the same neighborhood here in Austin. So we frequently go on walks with her adorable daughter (pictured here) & their dog, discussing our crafty adventures.
Hollie makes the cutest, reversible baby bibs from thrifted fabrics and remnants that people give her, and also shares her bib scraps with me. The pieces Hollie cuts out for neck holes make perfect little ears for my elephant toys. Proof that one woman's scraps are indeed another woman's treasure!
Beth: First, please give us a little background on your studio.
Hollie: At first I just made bibs for gifts for my friends, but after my daughter was born, I started focusing on making and selling my bibs as a business.
I work at home. I’ve been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for over a year. Basically, my bib business is a part-time job, because taking care of my daughter is my full-time job. I work on my bibs while my daughter sleeps, when she is on play dates, and in the evenings. I’ve created my own work area in our study, but I also do a lot of cutting in the evenings in our family room.
Beth: Where do you find the inspiration &/or motivation for your creative work?
Hollie: I get most of my fabrics from relatives and thrift stores. Lots of times, a relative will give me a big box of fabric she has leftover from quilts and clothes. People hold onto fabric remnants for decades because they don’t like to waste things. When they find out I’m making bibs, they’re glad to finally put their old fabric to use.
I never know what I’m going to get, so it’s exciting. I get most of my inspiration from these fabrics. Certain patterns lend themselves to specific themes. For example, a floral pattern makes me think of gardens and birds. My mother-in-law recently gave me [some] adorable fabric with horseshoes printed on it, so I’ve been stitching a lot of horses.
Beth: Describe how a really productive day of making art goes for you.
Hollie: My ideal productive day would start the night before. I would cut out several bibs while watching TV with my husband. The next day, when my daughter takes her nap, I would sew the bibs together. After she wakes up, I would turn the sewn bibs right side out and press them while she eats lunch and plays. Ideally, she would sleep for two hours and enjoy playing by herself. (I think I can hear other moms laughing at the chances of this happening, but this is my ideal productive day, right?) In the afternoon, my daughter would go to her daily playdate at her friend’s house for two hours. During that time, I would finish and embellish the bibs.
Beth: What are your big-picture goals for yourself as an artist & your art-related business?
Hollie: I’ve really been surprised at how making my little bibs has helped me feel so fulfilled. It’s important to have a creative outlet. I want to continue making and selling my bibs even after I start working outside of the home again. I’ve been considering branching out into other products that keep you neat, like napkins and craft aprons. Even if I don’t sell them, I want to keep creating new things.