Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Buttercup Babies! So Sweet!

Beth Logan is the talented designer behind, Artstuff Ltd. Her new line, Buttercup Babies, should be in stores very soon. We had a great time chatting with Beth. Enjoy!

HG:  What is your company name?

HG:  Where do you live?
BL:  Beautiful Seattle WA

HG: What sort of design work do you do?
BL:  I create for the Art Licensing industry. My illustrations show up on all sorts of different products including stationery, giftware, home and garden d├ęcor, and of course fabric!

HG:  Do you sew?
BL:  You have no idea what a loaded question that is! If I say “yes”, my real sewing-goddess friends and family will roll their eyes and say, “oh Beth, you do not.” but if I say “no” that’s not really true, because I sort of do.

I love to make stuff, and every now and then that stuff incorporates fabric and thread and a sewing machine! I have mad respect for those with the skill, patience, and talent to create amazing quilts and beautiful clothing . . . I’m afraid no matter how hard I try I’ll never aspire to that, but I’d like to think I can still sort of try, and have some fun with it.

My creative process, no matter what I’m making, goes like this: I get a picture in my head of what I want to make, and without a lot of planning just start blundering toward that goal in a very haphazard way. Fortunately that works surprisingly well most of the time, whether it’s painting, cooking, or crafting - but I’m terrible at following directions which can be a real problem for those projects requiring cautious, measured steps. My cakes are lopsided, my sewing projects “uniquely shaped” and all my Ikea furniture has at least one shelf installed upside down or backwards.

I once thought I would start documenting sewing projects on my blog (to force myself to do it more!) and started with this post. That was 3 years ago. Aside from some boring old mending, the only machine-sewing I’ve done since then has been some pillowcases, and one of those tank-top-cut-in-half+piece-of-fabric-dresses that are all over CraftGawker right now, which I’ll probably never get away with wearing out of the house.

I really want to sew more, though. My husband just had my little Bernina serviced last week (my birthday request!) and now that she’s all clean and spiffy, I do have some pictures in my head of stuff I’d like to sew when I get a chance; if I’m feeling brave I will blog about these projects, if for no other reason, to make others feel better about themselves!

HG:  What is your background? Did you go to art school, etc?
BL:  I studied graphic design at Cornish College of the Arts here in Seattle for 2 years. I’m actually an art school dropout! I was very young, and it took me an unusually long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and how to make that happen. I always knew that would involve my art, but you wouldn’t guess that from some of the strange jobs I had: selling chicken at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, pushing a mail-cart in a large law firm, and managing the kitchens and cooking all meals for a couple University of WA sororities, just to name a few. 

20 years ago I started creating as a full-time job. I did graphic design in the form of logos and small print-projects, I hand-painted recycled/repurposed items that I sold at craft fairs and in local galleries, did decorative painting in people’s homes, and started licensing illustrations with a couple small, local companies. Back then it was whatever creative project I could get paid for! Eventually the art-licensing side of my business grew to the point that it became my main focus.

HG:  Tell us a little about your family.
BL:  I have a close-knit extended family, most of which also live here in Western WA: my cute little 85 year old mom, 3 siblings, 9 nieces and nephews, 13 great nieces and nephews + more on the way, husbands, wives, partners, and more cousins than I will try to count. It’s a pretty awesome bunch and a hoot when we all get together. Here at home it’s a little quieter: I share our little home with my husband (married 19 years last month!), our sweet dog Molly and crazy cat Flossie: the most adorable and weirdest animals in the world (not that I’m biased at all regarding their adorability).

HG:  Can we get a glimpse of your studio?
BL:  Sure! My studio is a tiny room in our tiny house. There’s not a lot of room to “spread my wings” but it’s home! I’m surrounded by things I love, and that’s the most important detail for me.

I draw and paint at my desk and spend a lot of time at the computer.

Since surface-area here is at a premium, fabric and big rolls of paper get cut on a custom-sized cutting mat that fits on the living-room coffee table. Bolts of fabric, large rolls of paper, licensed-product samples, and items sold in my Etsy shop all live in an ever-so-mysterious little room at the bottom of the stairs. Over the years I’ve grown more and more fond of living and working in a small space; it’s sort of nice having everything I need (literally!) right at my fingertips!

I had grand plans at the beginning of this year to renovate my studio this summer: repaint, reorganize, and more, but summer flew by so fast . . . well, there’s always this winter!

HG:  How do you "draw" your designs?
BL:  I draw and paint everything by hand, then scan it so I can manipulate it digitally in Photoshop. That way my drawings can be reformatted easily to go on so many different sizes and shapes of products.

HG: What inspires you?
Pretty much everything around me. I think all creative people go through life soaking in everything around us, visually and spiritually, whether we mean to or not. Because of this I try to fill my life with positive stuff so that’s what ends up showing up in my art. At least I hope it does!

HG: What specifically inspired this line?
BL:  I love baby animals. I know, who doesn’t? But I sort of go to extremes to surround myself with them: for the past 16 years I’ve worked as a volunteer at a local wildlife rehabilitation center, where we care for sick and injured animals. Every spring and summer we feed and care for hundreds of orphaned baby mammals and birds. Once they are released back into the wild, their survival depends greatly on a healthy fear of humans, so there is no cuddling, talking, or playing – and feeding is done as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimize contact. The way I manage keeping this distance in real-life is through my own little fantasy world I create in my art, where I draw soft, furry, sweet characters playing together that I can actually kiss and talk baby-talk to! When I draw critters, I often feel like I already know them – in a way they sort of draw themselves.

Thanks Beth!


Deb Grogan said...

Wow Beth, so nice to get to know some of the other sides of you! Happy to be your fan and get to say, “Hey, I know that gal!” What a wonderful collection and interview!

Natalie Timmons said...

I love your work and it was fun to get to know you here.