Fabric Meets Metal

Our next collaborative project takes us to the sewing room of Lisa Billings of Pink Lemonade Boutique. Lisa designs and makes gorgeous fabric handbags. She completed a project with Mark Kaplan a metal smith who has taken a one year sabbatical from Arts in RI while he travels Asia. We interviewed Lisa about their completed design.

Please tell us a little about yourself and what kind of art you make

Let's see...I am a stay at home Mom trying to make a go of a handbag business on Etsy and various craft shows. I love to sew, quilting is my passion, but handbags are quicker and more profitable! I actually really enjoy designing handbags too, obviously. They are the perfect outlet for my fabric obsession. I'd rather buy fabric than food, clothes, shoes, (well maybe not shoes) and jewelry. I love to incorporate elements of quilting into handbag design, such as patchwork and fabric applique. I like quirky color combinations, and vibrant colors in general.

Can you tell us how you got started on this project and how it has evolved?

Actually it took me awhile to actually get started on the project. I approached Mark Kaplan about collaborating, and he really understood the design idea I was describing to him. Next thing you know, he has these gorgeous Sakura buttons for me. I kind of dragged my feet on it because I became daunted at designing the perfect bag for his buttons. I think I was overthinking it. But then I just happened to be showing a bag I just made, and someone suggested I add the buttons to it, and voila, it worked beautifully! It was serendipitous.

What inspired you about your partner's art?

I was intrigued by the contrast in our styles. His masculine metalwork was so different from my floral feminine style, I thought it would be pretty dynamic.

How did you ultimately decide to make what you did?

Well think I pretty much described how it inadvertantly came together.

Can you give us some insight into your brainstorming process?

As far as the idea I pictched to Mark, I just had these Sakura (cherry blossom) images floating in my head, and I thought he would be able to execute them, and he did perfectly. I don't know why, but at the time I was fixated on that particular motif.

Did this collaboration stretch your creative limits?

It did, and that's exactly why I wanted to collaborate with Mark. On the surface he seemed like and unlikely partner for me and at first I thought; "this is kind of wacky", but it was actually such a compatible meeting of styles.

Were there any roadblocks or setbacks?

Just my own overthinking and procrastination.

Did you find this to be a rewarding experience and why?

Yes it was very rewarding. I appreciated so much Mark being to willing to do this with me. He did such a great job with the buttons. And I got great feedback about what ultimately became the finished product. It was rewarding to see your particular craft from a different point of view, and do something you wouldn't naturally feel comfortable doing. I'd love to do it again.
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2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I know I am a little late with my comments (2 months) but I just found this blog and I LUV, LUV, these purses.

  2. Joy Says:

    Being a fellow purse maker I have admired Lisas` purses for a while and I have to say this is no exception to her fabulous and original work. Just lovely.