When Bestowe was just a glimmer, I was meandering through West Coast Craft and came upon a small booth packed solid with blankets. They were by far the most unique in design; a delightful and exquisite selection of Scandinavian inspired storybook drawings coming to life on beautifully knit fabrics. Hillery Sproatt's blankets were the first item that I KNEW I had to have in my first baby box. Each one of her blankets is a vision of her own, painted in her studio and knitted for the softest touch. We had a fantastic time meeting with her! Thank you for sharing your studio space with us! Take a look below for a little Q & A with her.
How did you start your business/your craft/your art?
A career in art always felt natural. My mom is an artist so I grew up with a sense of pride in using my hands. My creative efforts were always met with encouragement and I was taught there was value in hand made objects at a very young age.
My mother, Debra Weiss, is a fiber artist and clothing designer, so fabric was a major part of my upbringing. I was heavily influenced by her love of textiles and pattern. Her studio is stocked full of hand pieced quilts, stitched blankets and patterned wool. I often swoon over the Japanese fabrics she sources when designing for her clothing line Rebe by Debra Weiss.
What do you absolutely need in order to begin your process?
A clean space.
What type of challenges do you find yourself faced with at this stage in your career?
Managing the amount of time spent on the computer vs painting and designing remains a challenge. I imagine as my business grows, this will continue to become more difficult, so creating good habits now feels important if not vital.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your patterns?
I draw inspiration from nearly everything I take in; places I’ve visited, conversations I’ve had, books I’m reading or a flower by the side of the road. All these things find their way into my work. At the moment, find myself inspired by countless self taught artists, children’s drawings, Paul Klee, Picasso, Matisse as well as Scandinavian, Japanese and Eastern European design.
Do you partner with other businesses or artists? how does that influence your work?
I do. I love collaborating with companies that specialize in textiles and home goods. Working in collaboration affords me the opportunity and the resources to make things I could never make on my own.
What has been the hardest for you to deal with when it comes to promoting yourself or your work?
Putting your work into the world is always vulnerable, but it is also endlessly rewarding watching it make it’s way into the lives of others. When I first began to wholesale my blankets it felt difficult to get my line sheet into the hands of buyers that I respected. I’ve learned that patience and plugging away in essence do this work for you. Allowing the buyers to discover the collection for themselves is far more magical and successful.
Your paintings are so beautiful and unique. I'm curious what your process for creating them is like.
My process is very intuitive. When painting, drawing or working in the ceramics studio, I value being able to play without limitations. I often experience great joy when allowing myself the spaciousness to simply respond to marks, colors and shapes without knowing exactly what they are.
What gave you your idea for selling blankets?
My background is in fine art, but I had been interested in design textiles for years. It wasn’t until the Fall of 2014, that I saw my first painting translated into textiles. I worked in collaboration with Alicia Rosauer and Robert Segal, the owners and designers behind Unison to launch the Harvest Print.
From then on I knew I was hooked. Translating my paintings into textiles is like watching them come to life. There is always a wonderful surprise when you play with scale and material. The painting and the textile, although connected, could not be more different- both objects have integrity.
What is the most important thing that has brought you to the success you are having?
I think one of the most rewarding things you can do as an artist is to make things that are close to your heart. If you are generating work that is honest, thoughtful and of yourself, I believe the work will resonate with others. So perhaps the key is to simply continue working.
Photography: Feather Weight
Artist: Hillery Sproatt // Bestowe Artisans
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