Welcome back to the BEST interview series. Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Beth Robitaille, living in Brampton, Ontario in Canada. To find out more about her, check out her Blog, follow her on Facebook, and visit her Etsy-Shop, of course.
Hi Beth! How come you are called BethR99?
When I first signed up for etsy I wasn't aware that the user name was the store name, so I was stuck with BethR99. I am soon opening another store called Roundtheworldin80pgs. (I am planning for June 1st.) The store is set up but I have not transferred any books over or listed any new ones yet.
How and when did crafting and bookmaking come into your life?
I was majoring in Photography at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) in Toronto and decided to round out things with a bookbinding course. Unfortunately my MS progressed so I was unable to complete my run at University but I continued book binding on my own.
Tell us a little more about your shop and your crafting: What do you make and sell? Is there someone who helps you with the shop?
I am the sole contributor to my store and with all my books. I now focus my time on bookbinding but in my store I still have books along with photography, boxes, portfolios, picture frames, die cuts for scrapbooking or card making, and some de-stash.
The new store I will be opening - Roundtheworldin80pgs - will focus on handbound books by me that use papers I collect or buy from around the world...India, Nepal, Japan, Italy and of course locally found papers. I will continue with lined and unlined journals but Id like to venture into albums or scrapbooks.
Where is the source of your inspiration? Do you have a special way or place to get ideas?
I really like to look at all sorts of art and I draw inspiration even in abstract ways. My favorite photographer and film maker Floria Sigismondi also studied at OCAD and although her work is visually different than mine I really admire her ability to think and shoot outside of the box
What's the most challenging part of your crafting? I always second guess my work and worry about how customers will like their books. I recently filled a custom order for a wedding guest book which is posted on my blog. I was very nervous about how the bride to be would like it, thankfully she loved it!
How does your typical workday look like?
Because of having MS I am not able to work every day, that is the thing with the disease. On days that I am working, I always start by re-organizing my studio area from any mess that I have left or any new supplies I have picked up. Once my space is tidy and tools that will be used are at hand, I put on my old painters apron on and get to work.
Do you have interests and commitments outside Etsy that you want us to tell about?
I participate in an annual event called We Shoot We Score, a hockey tournament that donates to MS research. The event co-ordinator also has MS and manages to organize the event successfully himself. Since I can't play hockey, I sell my books and donate all profits to the cause.
Through the year I also donate some of my profits from Etsy to donate to different charities but there is no definite percentage or amount that is reserved for that.
Introduce us to one special piece of your work. It doesn't have to be for sale, and a photo would be nice.
I have two books that I particularily love. The first is one of the first books I made after the class. I am not normally drawn to pastel colours but this handmade paper (by a fellow student) came to mind when I found the bird paper. I left the raw edges of the paper along the spine to add to the natural theme. I really love its square shape since most of my books are a regular rectangular shape.
My other favorite is one I have recently listed. I suddenly had a jolt of bookbinding energy the evening I made this one. I was particularly nervous about the window in the cover and how the end papers would match up but it all worked out! I had typed the phrase 'what do you think' ages ago and I didn't know what I'd use it for, things came together and here is the journal.
Do you have special plans for your crafting and your shop for the future?
Well as mentioned above I will be focusing on the Roundtheworldin80pgs store and using the paper I have bought from around the globe.
Thank you, Beth, for taking your time, to show us some of the background stories of your shop and crafting. Good luck for the launch of you new shop!
Thank you! I hope to welcome you in "Around the world in 80 pages" for the launch on June 1st.
If we managed to stir your interest, click here to browse Beth's current shop.