Maker of the Month: Michelle Warble

Michelle Warble has been a maker for over eight years. After experimenting with different materials such as cotton and canvas, she moved forward with leather and canvas to create Busty’s Fun Bags.

THE PLAN

What piqued your initial interest in designing your product(s)? I’ve always been a fashion lover and a fairly crafty/artistic person. One day I decided that I was going to make myself a bag. I had no formal instruction on sewing – just a vague recollection of a 7th grade Home Ec. class. I bought some super cool Japanese fabric and a bag pattern and made my first bag. I was sort of ambitious because it was a fairly complicated messenger bag. I succeeded in completing that and just started making my own patterns after.

What was your first job in a related field? I’ve been a manager at a high end department store. I currently work in marketing in the consumer products industry.

Where does your artist influence comes from today? I love to travel; I try to take in trends across the globe wherever I am traveling. I am going to Italy at the beginning of September, so I hope to be inspired by things I see on my travels.

What is personal your style and how does it differs/relates to your product(s)? My personal style is colorfully classic. I think as a maker you are constantly putting your style into your products. If I didn’t like something I would not put the care and detail into my products. I have to love something to feel accomplished when I am done with my creation.

What do you love about and what challenges do you face being a maker? I love taking the raw material and making it into a functioning item that the end user can have for years to come. Challenges: (1) there are never enough hours in the day! (2) Consumers undervalue the work of a handmade item because the market is flooded with cheap items made in sweatshops.

THE PROCESS

How would you describe your design aesthetics and values?  I would describe my design aesthetics as classically modern. I like clean lines and classic silhouettes with a modern twist.

What is your favorite tool, and why? Sewing Machine! I have a sewing machine that sews through leather, and it is my number one tool.

Describe a piece you’ve created that you are most proud of. What was special about it? This changes all the time, but right now it’s a two tone large leather tote. I just love the way it turned out. The leather is beautiful and the design is very elegant.

What comes first for you, the design materials or the design concept? Definitely the materials. I like to pick out awesome materials from a variety of places i.e. a local leather shop, thrift stores, or even a flea market. You never know where you will find your materials. Once I’ve acquired some materials I like to see what works together and go from there.

Describe the commissioning process. What are the best and worst aspects about doing commissions? Customers would just have to contact me (e-mail, Facebook) to commission a piece. I enjoy creating a custom piece to fit the customer’s style. It is a challenge when someone wants to copy a design. I’d rather not copy but take inspiration from an item they love.

THE PRODUCT

What advice you would give to aspiring makers? Throw away your fears! Just try to make what your soul is telling you. You don’t need training or fancy classes (unless your machine can kill you, then get training). If you mess up, so what? Start over! Every failure is teaching you something.

What is your most rewarding memory in the business? Seeing customers love their bags and come back for more.

What are your goals for your business and plans for future? I would like to have more time to dedicate to making more products. I have three jobs right now; I would like to get it down to two to have more time to be a maker.

Who are the makers you follow/are inspired by? Lucy & Co. (I love my dogs), Digby & Iona Jewelry, People for Urban Progress, and Upholstery Club.

Throw away your fears! Just try to make what your soul is telling you.

Shop Busty’s Fun Bags online.

All photos taken by Aubrey Smith.
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