Crafter Profile – Rachel Beckman

1. Tell me a little bit about your crafting business.

My business is primarily based on hand weaving and making accessories and utilitarian textiles, though I do dabble in the illustration to design and digitally print fabrics for quilting and other sewing projects.

I am interested in the history of textiles and the way cloth so quietly integrates itself into our daily lives. There are so many pieces of cloth that we use every day, like dishtowels in the kitchen, that we see as somewhat disposable, and my goal, to sum it up, is to make a dishtowel so awesome that it will become a family heirloom. Basically, I believe that when you buy objects that are handmade, and well made, they will last longer than that same object purchased from a big chain that carries to emotional attachment because there is no hand attached to the work.

I absolutely love weaving; there is a lot of love that goes into my work. My hope is that love shows on the cloth, and as you live with the cloth it will start to carry your own history.

2. Where can we find you?

I currently don’t do a lot of craft shows, but this year you’ll be able to see me at MICA’s Art Market!

3. Who or what inspires you?

History and color. Honestly, I just love to buy yarn. I have a whole bookcase full of yarn and most of my work starts with me grabbing a color and finding which want to be together that day.

On another note:

Parts of my senior thesis work at MICA involved heavy research on the history of the American circus so that part of our cultural history has a huge place in my heart, thus A Fiber Circus and the prominence of Circus-themed fabrics in my shop. Circus for me speaks to images of elegance and beauty, but also a quirkiness that I strive to bring to my pieces.

4. What helps you stay organized?

I write a lot of lists, and I give myself deadlines. I don’t always meet my deadlines, but if I miss one I always feel guilty and then I get back on top of things. I have a smartphone, and there’s an app that I use called Weave where I can make projects and to-dos, and keep track of income and expenses. That last part is great because sometimes it can be difficult to work out pricing or see a profit.

5. What is one thing that you would like to do better?

I wish I could sew faster! Sewing all those tiny hems takes forever!

But really, I do wish I was better at keeping on top of the neatness of my workspace. I’m more productive when I have a clean space, and it’s really easy for all those loose threads to get out of control, especially if I’m in a work frenzy.

6. What does your workspace look like?

I’ve attached a picture! I work out of the living room in my one-bedroom apartment, so it’s small but I think I make space work.

7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t do it if you don’t love it, and never let stress get in your way. Work often makes itself, and if something isn’t happening the way you wanted to expected, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s better to just let your hands take control and make the work for you, and if you’re doing work you love that can happen more often than you might think!

8. What’s your favorite thing to do in Baltimore?

I’m a simple girl and I love to eat! I love the movies, so I have to say going to The Charles to see a movie and then grabbing some crepes or tapas after is a heavenly day for me.

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