Friday, November 6, 2009

Better Know an Austin Artist: Becka Spellman of BabyBolt

Welcome to the first installment of Ask an Austin Artist Some Random Questions™. At first glance it might seem like an interview, but upon closer inspection, you'll find it's really just some stuff I wanted to know. I especially wanted to know about the reuse part. You know I dig that. A big thanks to all the artists who made the time to participate in this series. I've loved getting to better know each of you.

Becka Spellman, BabyBolt

You make a range of pieces. Is there one type that you find most satisfying?
You know, it really depends on my mood when I sit down to sew. Some days I love the simplicity of an appliquéd shirt and the rhythm involved in churning out several sizes of a particular style. Other days it’s coming up with a new fabric combination for a crayon roll.

Do you have a crazy-big stash of fabric?
I am actually waiting for A&E to show up with cameras and offer me help on their new show Hoarders. I have always been a collector of various things (as a child it was Pez dispensers as a teen Nightmare Before Christmas stuff) but after becoming a mom I thankfully lost the desire to collect things. But, with that said, sewing supplies, particularly fabric, are my weakness. I tend to buy fabric in really small quantities- say a yard or two of any print, but it really adds up!

How do you reuse materials in your business?
I have such guilt throwing any scraps away, no matter how small, that I have bins of scraps in small to teeny tiny sizes which I use for appliqués or stuffing for odds and ends. When I am feeling the need to purge and reclaim some studio space, I pawn off my scraps on crafty friends.

Which is more fun--thrift store or fabric store?
Must I choose? Um, if I’m not on a mission for something in particular I love wandering thrift stores. I use thrifted linens in a lot of my pieces. One of my favorite designs I have come up with was a black and white swirl in a circle that came from IKEA sheets that I put a car on top of. I used up that fabric a while ago and beg all my thrift shopping friends to be on the look out for it; sadly it’s been a bust. Hey wider internet audience, find me a set and I’ll give you one of my Mod Mod car shirts for free!

What material would you like to work with/or what skill would you like to learn that you haven’t yet?
I wish I had the patience for embroidery. I love Sublime Stitching’s designs and will someday finish the guitar onesie I started stitching for my son when I was pregnant. Maybe I’ll finish it in time for his upcoming fourth birthday!

You are stuck on a desert island for a year and can only take 3 things to make with--what would you take?
How did the professor build that Hamm radio on Gilligan’s Island? Copper wire, a magnet and a soldering gun?

If there were no restraints, what would you choose to do with the bulk of your time?
Hanging out with my family and friends and making them sew with me, I envision an ethical sweatshop with good music and lots of gummy bears to snack on.

Have you discovered any new talents while running this business?
I actually just discovered Red Bull yesterday and that is working out great for me and my time management issues.

The holidays are upon us. Which of your items do you think make the best gifts?
My aprons are always a hit; you can even custom order matching sets for siblings or even a Mom and kid set.

Any other info you would like to showcase? Run another business? Teach classes? Run marathons? Teach classes while running marathons?
I hope to have some time in the future to do some volunteering. In my life before becoming a mom, I was a social worker. While staying home with my small child and running my own business is surprisingly more conducive to my mental health, I miss working with people in a meaningful way.

See more of Becka's work on her website and in her Etsy shop.

BabyBolt offers gift certificates and is carried in select area shops:
Austin Baby 701 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Parts & Labour 1604 S. Congress, Austin, TX 78704

Upcoming Shows
Shops and online venues are great in lots of way, but sometimes the best way to see the full breadth of an artist's work is to catch one of their shows. Becka has several coming up:

Blue Genie Art Bazaar
December 2 - 24
Sunday - Thurday: 10am-10pm
Friday and Saturday:  10am-midnight
Thursday 12/24/09:  10am-6pm
Monarch Events Center
in the Lincoln Village Shopping Center
6406 North IH-35, Suite 3100, Austin, Texas
For more info:

Etsy Austin's Craft Riot!
December 5 and 6

Cherrywood Art Fair
Saturday, December 12 10am-6pm
Sunday, December 13, noon-6pm
Maplewood Elementary
3808 Maplewood Ave, Austin, Texas
For more info:

Look for more artist profiles in the coming weeks. Next up: One Creative Girl, Melissa Gable

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