Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interview with Etsy Weaver - Meet Bobbie Bridgeman

The time has arrived for us to visit Sunny California and our talented Etsy Weaver in San Jose - Bobbie Bridgeman, representing panthapyre store on Etsy.
It is hard to say what comes first - the TALENT or the NATURAL SURROUNDING, but California is known for it - gorgeous nature, the climate that is so welcoming, and people are so open-minded and receptive - all of it and ... maybe something else that make an everyday into something really special... And today is such a day - with Bobbie!
See for yourself!
 - "My greatest source of inspiration comes from Indian and Hindu art and culture"

How long ago did you start weaving and what got you started?
I started weaving during my senior year of high school. I was set to take independent study in fine art that year but due to class funding they cut the freelance course. I had taken all of the other offered classes in art at the school except one. I admit I wasn't looking forward to it. It was Fiber Arts. At the time, I had considered it below other fine arts like painting and sculpting but I set out to do my best and enjoy it! Little did I know that in that class I would find a few passions of mine, sewing and weaving. My first woven piece was an awful rendition of a peacock with cheap department store yarn. 

Any particular technique(s) that you enjoy the most?
I love to hand embroider. My favorite stitch has got to be the French knot! I put those puppies on everything! When it comes to weaving I enjoy a simple lap heddle loom. There is something magical about using a technique that humans have been crafting with for centuries.
What part the process makes you the most passionate?
I am addicted to hand spun yarns. Etsy has helped fueled that habit. How did I ever get by on commercial yarn?? The best yarn out there has got to be made by the amazing She has made the most awesome custom colored yarns for me. I often keep yarns around for months before I actually use them. *Hoards hoards hoards!* I have the same problem with buttons and stones, I keep them around in overflowing boxes and baskets.
What is your source of inspiration?
My greatest source of inspiration comes from Indian and Hindu art and culture.

I can sit around for hours drawing paisley and henna designs. The majority of my paintings are inspired by the vibrant colors and patterns. I also take a lot of creative energy from nature. I grew up in the Midwest surrounded by miles of corn fields and flat scenery. How bland and dull!
About 6 years ago I relocated to the West coast and fell in love with the ocean and mountains.

The terrain in California can vary so greatly in just the span of a few miles that it boggles the mind. To the east, there are dry brush hills. To the south, there are towering majestic redwoods.

To the west, the endlessly blue Pacific Ocean. One cannot help but being empowered by the daily scenery. When I am finding myself in a creative slump I will turn to my zen gardens. I have a table set up in my third floor studio next to the window dedicated to my ever changing zen garden collection. Most of the items that dwell in the sands are ones that I have scavenged on beach combing expeditions: beach glass, skipping stones, shells, sand dollars. 

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
As my day job, I work as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic. I have loved working with animals since I was a child. I got started in the veterinary profession at the bottom of the ladder doing down and dirty kennel work. Thank goodness I don't have to do that anymore! Hah! Though I do like working with dogs, I have always been a cat person. They just seem to gravitate to me. Maybe they can sense a sucker when they see one hmm?  I have accepted that one day I will be a crazy cat lady!  My collection has started with our rotten black domestic short hair named Vincent. Another hobby of mine is gaming. I have wasted lord knows how many hours of my life sitting at my computer playing video games. I was turned into a gamer at a young age. My father and grandmother were always playing video games and it rubbed off on me early. I can still remember how mad my mother was when my father brought home our first computer, an old Tandy, when I was in elementary school. My love of sewing and weaving has even leaked over into my gaming! My mage troll character in World of Warcraft is a tailor! RAWR!  For the Horde!

What first made you want to become an artist?
I don't think there was ever a conscious decision to BECOME an artist. You just are an artist! Since I was old enough to hold a pen I have been drawing or painting or otherwise filling my space creatively. I still have My Little Ponies that I decided were too plain and doodled on from when I was a little girl. All of my poor toys ended up with a new paint job or hair cut.  It's been downhill from there!
Please describe your creative process
The creative process for me is spectacularly random and fractured. I often start and finish pieces months apart. Nothing is ever completely finished either. I can weave a scarf and a few months later it will be deconstructed into something else. A water color painting can end up being stitched onto the cover of a journal. Weeks can go by where I don't touch anything and then I suddenly have a spurt of productivity. I hate to measure and cannot cut a straight line to save my life. Many thinks that I sew never start with a predefined set of measurements in mind.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?

 When I first moved away from home and into my own apartment I was pretty poor. To pass the time my friends and I came up with some pretty creative ways to entertain ourselves. One of those ways included covering my boring wooden paneled kitchen in scads of coloring book pages. We would use everything from the basic crayon and markers to puffy paint and nail polish to color outside the lines and make one of a kind masterpieces. By the time I moved out the entire room was filled floor to ceiling with them. I took them all down and bound them into a keepsake book. There are many of those friends who are now gone and I feel like I have a little piece of their imagination still alive with me.
What do you like about Etsy?
Buying things. I admit it. There are so many original artists on Etsy that it can boggle the mind.
Do you have a website, blog, Facebook page, or other online endeavors?


  1. Great interview, Bobbie! I am an admirer of your bracelets; they each have their own personality. San Jose is not so far away. We should get together! (Already a fan on fb) ~Annie

  2. Love this interview, Bobbie! So nice to meet you.

  3. NIce to meet you!

  4. such nice colors and textures---love the stone and raffia touch!

  5. Super great interview! I also like a decoration with stones! It is really simple and beautiful.