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Becky Striepe | The Interview

17 Mar ’11

Becky Striepe is a crafter & freelance writer based here in Atlanta. You can find her at GlueAndGlitter.com – Interview & Photos by M. Tioxon

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It depends on what you’re talking about…but I’m probably a seven on the ‘nerdy scale’.

Someone taught me how to sew and it was like this revelation because you can go to estate sales and thrift stores and find all this fabric, and maybe it will have a faded spot in the corner or there’s a tear and no one’s going to use that but you can take those pieces and give them a new life.  It really fit in with my environmental aesthetic.  The waste with jewelry just broke my heart.  Every time I snipped silver and it hit the floor it kind of made me a little bit sad.

How high can I jump?  Not very high at all.

We were talking before about how turning out a product line can be a little bit monotonous, but with the aprons it doesn’t feel that way.  Partly because of picking out all the different fabrics, but there are so many components to it – I can switch it up and I also use rickrack which is my favorite craft supply, so even just rolling out the rickrack is satisfying for me.

Rickrack is beautiful. You can use it in so many different ways.

I feel that it’s such a personal connection and that’s part of the point – when someone buys an apron from me, they’re not just buying an apron, they are buying a piece of me in a way.

My best play doh creation!  I don’t know, I think my favorite play doh crafting from childhood was  when we made edible play doh, and then it was like peanut butter play doh and my friends and I would make things we could eat like little play doh hamburgers and we’d have a play doh picnic.

I made peanut butter play doh when I was teaching crafting at Toomer Elementary and the kids LOVED it.  They freaked out over it and then the next session they asked if we were going to make peanut butter play doh again.

My name is Becky Striepe, I traded in an easy to pronounce name to a hard one.

What surprised me is that I was kind of expecting crafting to be my main source of income, but really… I was doing the freelance writing to sort of help pay the bills, and now it’s kind of balanced out to be half and half – which I didn’t expect… but it’s been kind of awesome – like the blogging feeds the crafting and the crafting business almost gives me “cred” in the blogging world in some places.  But it feels like a good balance right now and that was kind of unexpected.

I volunteered at the Renaissance festival every single year… my 4th year I was head of the costuming department at the Renaissance festival in Fort Lauderdale…that was my main activity.

I mostly stopped when I graduated high school, I still enjoy it though. IT’s FUN! You get to talk in an accent and walk around barefoot. Oh. Mine was a terrible, horrible accent.

I quit my day job on Halloween in 2009.

I probably spend half my week writing now for Green Option… they kind of changed hands… some stuff happened and now they are Important Media. I’m the director on three of their websites… Eat, Drink, BetterFeel Good Style… and Ecoscraps. I also write for GreenUpgrader, which a lot of people think is my blog because I’m the main person that writes there…it’s not, but that’s fine if people think that, it is my voice…at least three times a week it is.

I think was Christy and Shannon are doing with the Indie Craft Experience has been huge….I think as far as tying the community together.  I think more efforts like that, Atlanta has a big show now which is huge.  It’s a good place to meet other crafters.  I think just, you know, we all just need to meet each other.

My style? I think bright colors and unusual combinations.  I like to combine patterns when I can.  It’s tricky when you’re using reclaimed fabrics because you can’t always find the obvious pieces that match.

Almost all of it is reclaimed fabric.  The fabric that I have that is not reclaimed is organic.  There is this etsy seller than hand dyes organic hemp and I love buying from her, but organic hemp that’s hand dyed by one person is kind of expensive so I have to kind of balance my love for her fabrics with my budget.

In 2008 when I decided I wanted to quit my job, I picked up my first paid blogging gig.

It takes me between 45 minutes to an hour to make an apron.

I’ve thought about that, and if the sewing blew up to be more than I could handle on my own…I think a lot about that…what would I do if I couldn’t keep up with the sewing?  It would be really hard to let go of that.

What I’ll eventually have to do to really grow is to come up with a consistent source of fabric and I wouldn’t want to do that if it wasn’t organic fabric.

I feel like at the end of the day, my name is on it and if I’m letting someone else sew…I’m not comfortable with that yet.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable with that and part of me thinks that’s ok.

I don’t even know if I can separate those two things anymore.  I feel like I’m thinking about writing while I’m crafting and I’m always writing about crafting.

I just like meeting people. I feel like pretty much every blogging gig that I’ve gotten has been because of someone I’ve met that runs a website, or someone that ran across my writing and then we chatted about it and we clicked. The same thing with crafting – you know you connect with store owners, and you connect with your customers and I think the underlying thing is that I like meeting people.

What are you doing when you’re blogging, you’re just talking to people about whatever you’re passionate about… or whatever your editors tell you to be passionate about.

I think I would travel more, I’m much better face to face and I think I would want to travel to other towns to get my stuff in shop there.  Cause you can call and email a shop owner all day, but there’s nothing like being able to just pop in, plus I feel much better approaching the shop if I’ve actually been in the shop.  I’ve put my stuff in a couple shops that I hadn’t seen, and I feel like that almost never works out.

I love Atlanta, people really knock Atlanta, but I love Atlanta We have our problems, but everyone has them.

I love how it’s kind of a small town…and some people hate that about it but I love that.  It’s really about the neighborhood you choose.  I feel like a lot of the people that hate Atlanta… no I’m not even going to say that. Don’t print that.

What I love about it is that you can live somewhere like this… I mean, we’re in a neighborhood and people have kids here – they walk around with them and this road isn’t too busy with crazy drivers, but we can walk a mile and be at the bar or a restaurant and there’s a MARTA station around the corner.  I think Atlanta’s what you make of it, and I really like what we’ve made of it here.

That is a really hard question and I don’t know why… what do other people say about me… Becky is a great cook… she makes a mean shepard’s pie and life changing cupcakes.  I think people would say that I was brave to quit my day job because many crafters don’t or can’t.  I think a lot of people might always say that I’m lucky and they are right, I am SO lucky.

Everyday that I do my 10 foot commute from the bedroom to the craft room I feel really lucky.

Three awesome things.

  1. I don’t answer to anyone but me.  I work so hard now and I love every second of it.  And if I had to work this hard at a day job, especially getting paid what I get paid, I’d be disgruntled.  For me it’s totally different and for me that’s amazing and satisfying.  It’s doing something you love and believe in
  2. I get to travel for crafting.  I love that.  I do the Summit of Awesome, I’ve been speaking at that event since it start.  I’m on the green crafting panel the last 2 years.  I want to do more out of town shows.  Right now I do the Crafty Bastards show in DC.  I love DC, it’s right up there with Asheville and Portland for me.  I never really got to even experience DC.  They have an amazing community there and that show is unbelievably awesome.  I also do the Chatty Crafty in Chattanooga.  It’s fun to check out new town, especially for vending, it’s a neat perspective to have.  You get to meet so many people because they come into your booth.  You get a real feel for the neighborhood that the show is in.
  3. Having a 10 foot commute and that I can work in my pajamas if I want to.  I pretty much work in my pajamas always…  if I don’t have to be anywhere, why not?  I just got new pajama pants because I’m in them all the time.

I’ve been hearing people say ‘maker’ instead of ‘crafter’ and I kind of like that…I’ll take either one. I think because of MAKE: Magazine and Maker Faire.  I think maybe also because it’s a little broader.I think one of the awesome things about the crafting community is that it’s changing the way we think about it.

Oh, much harder.  You know in your head what you’re going to do, what needs to happen but then actually doing it, especially when you’re doing all your own book keeping and the business side of things.  I think some of my inspiration came from being in a different environment.  If I never had a corporate job, I probably would have never made lunch kits because I wouldn’t have ever packed a lunch but I packed one everyday, which is why I made my first lunch kit.  It was for myself.  I think it’s just a different kind of creativity.

I feel like almost all of my successful products have been ideas I’ve had while I was cooking or thinking about cooking.  It’s like when we were talking about the thrift store.  When you see the linens, you see a lunch kit.  And you’re cooking and thinking and grabbing tools and packing Dave’s lunch for work…that’s where I get my inspiration.  That’s why I focus on cooking related stuff because I love to cook and they kind of feed each other.

I think losing creativity is something anyone worries about if creativity is their livelihood.  Some weeks are harder than others.  Some weeks I feel uninspired.  But you just keep on chuggin.  If there is a week when I’m uninspired I try not to beat myself up.  If I’m having trouble coming up with ideas, I will just tell myself I’ll work on that tomorrow and work on something else today.

Find Becky at GlueAndGlitter.com

 

Interview & Photos by Mark Tioxon

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2 Comments

  • Reply Whitney 17 Mar ’11 at 9:21 am

    seriously…i want one of those aprons…and peanut butter play doh.

  • Reply andre 19 Mar ’11 at 11:13 pm

    I really like the reflection in the iron.

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