Hi friends! I've got a lovely treat for you today! An interview with a lovely and talented artisan that I "met" through Etsy. I'm excited to share her story with you today. Enjoy!
I’m Becca Koopmans. I’m a stay-at-home-mum of four kiddos in the midwest of the United States and I run a little cottage industry of upcycled clothes called Wear Love Now.
How did your Etsy shop get started?
My heart was pregnant with a lot of different ideas and issues when Wear Love Now was born. Some of the contributing factors were the image issues that I had struggled with finally coming to rest in my own personal style. As a busy mum of four I often struggled just to get a shower, let alone put on an outfit that matched. This frustration took me to my faith in God, where I learned wearing love was way more important than wearing clothes in vogue. “Regardless of what you put on, wear love...” Colossians 3:14, became my daily dress code. Other factors included good stewardship with thrifting, a creative outlet with sewing and a flexible family schedule.
This is a bit embarrassing to admit. Though I come from a heritage of pattern followers and excellent seamstresses...when I was in middle school home economics, I stapled the hem to my final dress project and transferred to woodworking shop...where I scored an A+ (probably because I was the shop teacher’s babysitter). All that to say, my art has always been there in various forms...but, sewing skills I had to learn as an adult. When I became excited about upcycling clothes, my Dad bought me a sewing machine and I asked an outstanding seamstress in our area to give me some private lessons. Whenever I would hit a glitch in my vision versus skill she came to my rescue. And now, I’m quite proud of my set of skills that make my art come alive.
One of the biggest surprise gifts of selling my clothes on Etsy is the friendship factor. I pursued selling on Etsy following a difficult health crisis of our youngest daughter who has a progressive neurological disorder. My normal venue for interaction and friendship became more and more limited as her medical needs increased. I never anticipated the treasure house of friends in Etsy sellers (especially Homespunsociety Teammates) and in Etsy buyers...literally around the world.
I also love that when I sit and sew, or pin something, or sort through one of my baskets, one or more of my kids are right next to me...humming, drawing, or sewing a button on a bookmark....I love that. I also love creating the clothes...it’s like art with my sewing machine for me...pure joy.
What inspires you?
Good artwork, especially by French Impressionists; beautiful music; nature, well-written books; friends; family; strong coffee; inspiring conversations; history; vintage style; bohemian style; designers creating outside of the box and my faith in God.
Could you please describe how the artistic process flows for you...from initial concept design to completed product?
The process varies with different pieces of clothes, but, typically it begins with the main item I want to use. I purchase items for their quality, possibilities and versatility. And then I set the top ones, the ones I’m most excited to use next, on a table and start putting lace out, material on top, twisting seams in various places, etc. Usually the longest part is gaining the inspiration...and it also is the most exciting, because I choose to wait until I get the ‘aha’ idea for each piece. Then, once I get my ‘aha’ idea, I consider the best plan for tweaking each piece and begin the cutting and pasting, so to speak...also a very fun stage as I get to see it come together. Then I let it set a day and come back to it for any last adjustments or additions. Finally, I take pictures using a barn door my husband put up for me in our backyard.
What’s the biggest challenge for you in the artistic process?
Probably my biggest challenge is balancing my to-do lists for my family and my shop. And another is, when my heart is heavy with some issue or another, creativity can’t be forced.
What does an average day look like for you?
My days begin early...I love to get up and exercise and then spend some quiet time reading and praying before all the breakfast chaos begins. My husband and kids are typically happy hearts...so that’s a great thing in our home. Mari rides a small handicapped bus to school with her wheelchair, our twin boys, Steven and Schyler, ride with my husband on his way to work and then I walk my oldest daughter, Liesel, to the bus stop.
Usually I check my shop early in the morning before for the kids are up or after they get off to school to see if any packages need to go out, any questions need to be answered or anything updated. Often, I go into my sewing spot and work on a few items. Depending on each day, I pick Mari up early from school, she goes an hour to a few hours. Then, she and I spend time reading and playing and then she takes a rest while I work on home life, sewing or Etsy teamwork.
When the other kiddos get home...homework, supper and life take a front seat with my time. I’m not a night person, so I’ve learned the hard way, with a seam ripper, that sewing after the kids are in bed isn’t a good idea, but I still check in on Etsy.
Any advice for those thinking of pursuing their artistic dreams?
Dreams are really important in life. Hang onto your dreams...but, realise they may take a different form or fruition timing may be different than you picture...and that’s usually best in the long run. Listen to those who love you when you consider your dreams...including God....he’s made a lot of mine brighter and bigger than I ever imagined!
Where can you see more of your work?
Thank you so much, Becca, for sharing with us!