Artist: Abby Meadow Campbell
Location: Yachats, Oregon
Web site: Infusion - Etsy
Blog: Infusion Fibers
What do you create?
Currently I make handbags, totes, pouches, clutches and sometimes pillows filled with lavender and buckwheat hulls or kapok. I focus on sustainable textiles such as hemp, linen, jute and organic cotton, as well as recycled fabrics of various kinds. I have many ideas for the future and plan to have a line of organic clothing available sometime after the new year.
How did you come up with your business name?
I love the depth of texture in the weave of a natural fiber cloth, particularly that of a rich linen or hemp. I was trying to convey the way that textured weave feels to me. I'm not sure I did that very well, but the word infusion finally was the one that stuck for me. I like the quality of the word, and the versatility of meanings it has felt relevant to my work, even texture aside :)
When and why did you decide to start your business?
I have worked from home for years and love the freedom it allows, but the idea of making a living by being creative would have been a nearly un-thought-of-dream only a year ago.
I began thinking about trying to sell some of my sewn items just over a year ago, without really planning to start a “business” per se. I had taken up sewing again and found the creative outlet to be very fulfilling. I finally opened my etsy shop March '08 and I have been so enthused with how infusion has progressed, since day 1! The idea of making a living on my creative endeavors is not so far off at this point! I am thoroughly excited about what I do.
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
I am most inspired by textures and shapes, quality fabrics and fibers. I like to sketch a new concept with either a texture or a shape as my starting point, and then develop the functional finished item from there.
Another major inspiration for me, and is always working alongside my inspiration from texture, is in making a better product... a pillow that really travels and is actually natural; a bag that is attractive AND super functional (and made of natural fibers of course!). I find it really hard to shop for things and hit it all. I seek out sustainable products, and often find them lacking in a certain level of functionality. I am inspired to make something better.
Which of the tools you use is your favorite?
It's hard to pick one, but if I had to choose, aside from my sewing machine and cutting tools, I appreciate more than almost anything a little 6 inch stainless steel ruler I “inherited” from my boyfriend's toolbox. I also really enjoy playing with my quilting foot, and I would not be able to do what I do without my IBM ThinkPad.
What keeps you motivated?
At the core of my motivation, is the desire to bring natural and eco into beautiful and functional.
I have endless ideas and if I'm not careful I could go all over the place on any given day. Within the realm of staying on task though, my customers are definitely a major motivating force. They are so supportive and always have such interesting ideas. I also find I work well under a certain amount of pressure. It helps me keep my focus sharpened and sustained.
What would be a dream project that you’d love to work on?
Actively re-inventing everyday items into natural fiber, beautiful, functional, versatile and exquisitely useful things. It really could be anything in the realm that I and my sewing machine could accomplish, but what really excites me and feels so perfectly natural, is to create things that come from the earth and can easily and naturally return to the earth. Simple, isn't it? If everyone did this, we would be doing so well.
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Do what you enjoy and what excites you. Work on expanding upon your own original ideas and don't be afraid to try something new and different. We are all uniquely creative individuals and we all draw inspiration from one another, and from the world around us. Truly expressing yourself will only inspire others. On that note, I encourage you to keep in mind what will really matter in the long run, to yourself, your loved ones, and the planet we all live on. In other words, act with intent.
What's the most important thing you'd like people to know/understand about your work?
Well, I would first like to say that I absolutely love what I do and take the greatest care in everything I make. An item from infusion is an item that will endure for many years and will be useful in a variety of ways (and when you are all done using it, you will more than likely be able to compost 99% or more of it!) Infusion is a coming together of nature, beauty, texture and function.
What has been the most important lesson you've learned while running your business?
First of all, go for it, be original and do what excites you. Next I would say, if you are not a money person, get help from someone who is! I wish I had created a system for tracking my finances right away, as it would be so much easier now. I am way behind, which makes it even harder to get started. Also, taking time to set up the right space for photography is well worth it over the long run. I still need to work on this myself.
If you had the time, what new craft/medium would you like to learn or use?
There are SO many. I have just taught myself to knit again, and would like to find the time to make use of it. Mornings are a slow and quiet time for me, so maybe it will work to fit it in as a mellow morning activity. Also, I am very interested in learning to print my own fabrics.
What's your definition of a perfect day?
Many days come pretty close... Waking when I'm ready, to sunshine and blue skies (or even the occasional clouds and rain), with the ocean (or some other fantastic natural space) out my door, and my boyfriend close by. A hot drink and a gentle morning. A long walk on the beach. A nice long stretch. Some hours spent sewing. Some hours spent learning new things... I like the simple things... I'm an all around happy girl :)
Thank you Abby!