We immediately fell for the contemporary designs of Lizzie Greco's Craftbelly paper products and knew that they would fit perfectly into our customers' lives. As part of our occasional Meet the Artist blog series, we're pleased to provide a peek into her background and what fuels the engine of her talent and inspiration.
How did you get started in designing and making your products – how did you learn to do what you do?
After going to school for graphic design and working in the field for a couple of years, I ended up working at a stationery store in Chicago where we were given the unique opportunity to sell items that we had made ourselves. I was in love with the beautiful decorative papers we sold there and began covering wood frames with it and selling them in the store. Those first frames were really crude and I had no idea at the time I wanted to turn it into a business, but it became such a great outlet to work with my hands and I just kept at it. After a couple of years of selling online and in craft shows and really perfecting my skills and process, I decided I wanted to design my own patterns and do this thing for real! This next step came naturally to me as it satisfied both the designer and craftswoman in me!
Where do you find your inspiration – how do you come up with your design ideas?
I have always been drawn to bold and colorful patterns, especially graphic ones. I usually just keep an ongoing inspiration board of pattern and color combos that excite me, whether they be from paper, textiles, wallpaper, rugs, you name it! My most recent collection was inspired by more natural elements, specifically the mountains, stars and flowers. I wanted to create a more graphic take on the things in real life that truly inspire me all the time!
What are some design elements and/or products you are particularly excited about right now – both for your own work and what you're seeing from others?
I am constantly amazed by artists who block print their own patterns onto paper and fabric. I think it's a wonderfully tactile process and I would imagine takes much more time and precision than most print methods. It really makes you appreciate the final product and I think it's awesome that artists are able to create their goods so thoughtfully and make a living from it! In terms of my own work, I have recently collaborated with Seattle based artist Cristina Miglino of Conjure Movement, where we screen printed a small collection of her hand drawn illustrations to be made into frames. I'm really excited to create products with these new designs as they are quite different from my own patterns but still translate quite nicely into my product line.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs in creative industries, especially those starting out?
You truly need to enjoy and be passionate about what you are creating, because at some point you will become bogged down by all the other necessary and difficult but not very exciting parts of running a business. You won't actually be creating all the time, so when you are actually making or designing the things you are presenting and selling, you want to be able to find yourself over and over again in that process and be inspired to continue. I think that helps me get through the stuff I'm not so great at or don't necessarily take great pleasure in, such as accounting, marketing, etc., because I know it's all going towards the greater good of these products I am making that I love so much and want to share with the world.