College student and maker, Caitlin Betsy Bell, makes adorable wares for kids (and kids at heart) in her crafty-cool Savannah, Georgia studio for her shop Nifty Kidstuff. Today, I am super pumped to be sharing Caitlin’s space, which is right up my alley: great wall art, a funky green desk, and lots and LOTS of craft supplies! What’s not to like, right?
So in typical pns studio tour fashion, I asked Caitlin a handful of questions to run alongside her tour. You know the drill! So, let’s get to it…
-I imagine any kid would be thrilled to have one of your pieces. And I would definitely put your goods in the “super cute” category. So, how do you typically describe your work?
I make imaginative toys (and more!) for kids from all natural fibers with a classic yet quirky appeal. They are lovingly crafted to be toys that wear in with play–not out.
-Where is your studio located?
I live in historic downtown Savannah Georgia in a rowhouse built in the 1800’s. My “studio space” is located within one of the three rooms in my apartment, which means that the kitchen, dining room, living room, and studio are all in one room.
-What have you found to be the best time of day (or night) to get work done?
Mid morning is a great time of day for me, I seem to just be able to crank out a large volume of work and stay really focused. I love working when there is natural light. I find at night there is definitely a point I reach when all of a sudden I can’t seem to do anything right and spend more time fixing mistakes than getting anything accomplished!
-How long have you been pursuing work as an artist and shop owner?
For as long as I can remember! I received my first real sewing machine at age six and haven’t looked back since. Nifty Kidstuff started on a whim when I was fifteen and I have stuck with it for the past seven years.
-I am always interested to hear about the processes of makers, especially sewers, since that’s not my forte. So, can you tell the readers about your process of creating?
I have a real fluency when it comes to sewing. When I sit down to make something there is no disconnect between what I envision in my mind and what I make with my hands. It is definitely something that has come with practice—just like any language.
-What has been your most exciting / noteworthy event or happening in your work recently that you interpret as a success?
Completing my senior portfolio for sure! I will be graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design in June with a BFA in Fibers. My concentration is called Studio Production, which essentially is the same as what I do for my shop. I had to create a line of five identical products, five related products, and three randoms to fulfill the portfolio requirements. They are all branded under Nifty Kidstuff—my portfolio can be seen at http://www.caitlinbetsybell.com/portfolio.html
-What advice do you have for other artists who may be just starting out, or are struggling to be seen?
I would tell others that if you are thinking of starting up your own shop, just do it. I started Nifty Kidstuff before I had any clue what I was doing and my craftsmanship was awful and there was so much I had yet to learn. I think that learning through experience has really been the best way to do it. Besides it takes time to really develop the skills (especially sewing—practice makes perfect!) Be the change you want to see—make it happen!
Thank you so much for sharing your space Caitlin!
All the beautiful photos (except Nifty Kidstuff product shots) are courtesy of Caitlin’s friend and fellow SCAD student Gabriel Stiritz.