Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Meet the Artist Giveaway: Bee Wise Goods

It has been a while since I've featured an artist here at Serendipity Handmade, and I'm delighted to introduce you to the amazingly talented Gabrielle Krake of Bee Wise Goods.   

I had the opportunity to talk to Gabrielle about her artistic pursuits and inspirations:

Collette:  If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Gabrielle: I love this question because there are days when I relate better with all of my animals than any people I know. I live in a downtown area but have opted to create a rural setting. Along with my four home educated kids, we have 10 chickens, 2 dogs, 2 chinchillas, 2 budgies, and a gnarly 20 year old cat.

Now if I include my own animal alter ego there would also be a large cat like a cheetah or puma because I am really intense, low emotion, move very rapidly in lots of short bursts and sleep 9-10 hours and very protective of those I love. :)

Collette: And domestic and large cats are very graceful and intelligent animals too, even if they do have a bad rep for being overly independent. Tell us a little more about yourself.

Gabrielle:  I'm formally trained as a sculptor, later a successful muralist and now a combination of the latter along with sewist, think tank and pattern designer, I have always turned one thing into another. Whether as a “noodlers” challenge to figure out all possibilities or to fully utilize the materials within arms reach, I use my ability to turn found objects into beautiful art.

I use new and repurposed materials such as fabric, wood, paper, cereal boxes, wool, string, yarns, maps and all manner of items found and turned to artwork and sewn items. Most of my items have patterns and turorials for the DIYer. 
I started learning to sew at age five (buttons on fabric and pillows for dolls) then worked my way into making most of my clothes, by high school I worked for my mom's outfitter company.  I went to college for an industrial design degree but loved sculpture so much that I changed directions. Sculpture didn't make me any money to repay student loans so I started painting murals.

When kids came on the scene, I was reduced to sewing at the kitchen table.  I built sets for a while and have basically learned as I went and taken every opportunity to grow and develop for the last 20 years, as a professional artist. 

Collette:  You have an amazing artistic background Gabrielle, and quite a number of interests!  How was Bee Wise Bags born? 

Gabrielle:  Our team of wonderful family and friends came together to develop a beautiful reusable product line and from this venture I designed and developed patterns for the DIY customer as well. Our goal from the beginning has been to take steps toward better consumer habits:
To Consume Less

To Reduce our Waste Footprint

To Be Wise Stewards of Creation

To Work as a Community to form a Healthy, Thriving Business

When we started our business in 2007 making reusable grocery bags, we held a contest with everyone we knew and picked the name by the most popular choice, but lo and behold we involved a lawyer (copyrights, etc.) and he found a grocery store in the Philippines that had the same name and thought it was better to leave Shop Wise in the far east and change ours. I did not heed his wise advice and kept the name for a year, got all our awesome web rankings, brand recognition etc, then changed it anyway....  So Bee Wise has been us ever since. Now we are Bee Wise Goods, Vintage, Notions, Art, Bags, Crafts, Gifts, and Stationery.

At Indie Made with some of her creations
 Collette: You sculpt, paint, sew -- what is the first craft that you remember doing?  What types of crafts do you enjoy designing and making now?

Gabrielle:  My mom recognized early on that I was creative and without direction I would waste a lot of her supplies. For a week straight I took spools of her thread and wound, strung, stretched it through my bedroom, the living room etc to create spider webs. I remember thinking they were really beautiful and I was proud of how intricate they were. My mom thought the first few were lovely as well, but as the week progressed and my floor to head height webs took over our house, she grew less patient, not to mention using every spool of thread she owned (it's expensive now and was then too). She put an end to it and told me to start sewing buttons on fabric or make small items for my dolls instead. So, at 5-6 I began my crafty life.
Making fabric flower hair clips, like the one she's wearing
Within a couple of years I was creating stuff and selling it to anyone who would buy it. I took drawings to my parents workplaces and peddled my artwork for a few bucks each, then I would set up a table in front of our house with dolls I made by covering bottles with every color of yarn, googley eyes, fabric, whatever I could find. If I could think of something sellable and creative I would do it.

I am pretty much the same now, I love making everything, my artistic focus is very wide. Not only do I make lots of little gift type things, I have two stores that carry all my recycled paper products, notions, small art pieces and a gallery that shows all my large artwork. I run with an idea until I come up with another one and then strike out in that direction. When I decided to start turning all my crafts into DIY patterns I struck gold for myself because I could make as many as I wanted but also offer it to other folks to make themselves.

Collette: What inspires you?

Gabrielle:  As I am sure you have gathered, EVERYTHING inspires me! But I am really loving the coolness of repurposing, upcycling all that stuff, especially since I have always done it and until the last few years it wasn't looked at as cool just weird. :) My latest inspiration is vintage soda pop, so on November 1st I'm opening a soda shop near my house. It's a terrific happy place!!!

Collette:  Thank you for the interview Gabrielle, and best of luck with the soda shop!


Gabrielle has generously offered one Serendipity Handmade reader three delightful and original PDF sewing patterns that are absolutely perfect for holiday gift-giving:
Elegant Soft Doll pattern
Doll Bed and Linens pattern

And one additional PDF pattern of your choice!

To enter:  head over to the Bee Wise pattern shop and leave a comment with your favorite pattern!  Comments are open until November 18th at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.

Additional entries:
  • Become a new follower of  Serendipity Handmade Google Friend Connect
  • Like Bee Wise Goods on Facebook
  • Like Serendipity Vintage on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (be sure to use @SerendipityVint in the tweet)
  • Blog about this giveaway (be sure to leave a link to the blog post in the comment) 
Winner will be chosen by random number, as always, and announced on November 19th. Good luck!


  1. You honor me! Thanks so much for the feature! I can't wait to find out who wins!

  2. Collette! Thank you for introducing us to the lovely and talented Gabrielle! The craftiness is amazing in all those patterns but if I must pick a fave I think it is the Reusable Bag Caddy!

  3. I like all of the bags. And the owl too. That was an ineresting story about Gabrielle. I enjoyed it very much.

  4. Liked her on FB.

  5. Great interview! I loved meeting new people and other places to visit, as well as creative people.

  6. realitybbq*AT*gmail*DOT*com

    Reusable Bag Caddie

    Thank you!

  7. realitybbq*AT*gmail*DOT*com

    I'm a follower on Blogger/Google Friend Connect as spamgirl. :) Thank you!

  8. realitybbq*AT*gmail*DOT*com

    I liked BWG on FB - Kitty Cartouche. Thank you!

  9. realitybbq*AT*gmail*DOT*com

    I liked SV on FB - Kitty Cartouche. Thank you!

  10. realitybbq*AT*gmail*DOT*com

    I'm a follower on Twitter, @antispamgirl, and I tweeted:!/antispamgirl/statuses/136902081809362944 . Thank you!

  11. Thank you for the interview! The Owl pattern is my favourite, but I'm also a great fan of self-made shopping bags

  12. The Cute Owl is my favorite pattern.

    Kathy Davis

  13. GFC follower as Mrs. Kathy Davis

    Kathy Davis


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