Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Brooke and I live in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland with my husband and our menagerie of pets — three dogs and three cats, all lovable, wonderful rescues. Oh, and we have twins on the way! They are due to join us at the end of January.
I run FuzzyMug and my other business as a “regular” graphic designer out of my home office, which is slowly taking over the whole house and garage. I graduated from Drexel University in Philly with a Bachelor of Science in graphic design and have been working as a designer for almost 14 years now. These days, my life is a whirlwind! In addition to lots of weekend craft shows, custom pet portraits and my design projects, I am trying to get everything super organized as we prepare for the babies.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Walking or hiking with my dogs and husband or friends is my favorite thing to do when I get a free minute. You can just focus on putting one foot in front of the other; it’s my meditation. And, you can’t beat seeing how excited my dogs (Beatrix, Cleo and Persephone) get when I grab their collars and leashes. I also love to read and go out to eat with friends. In the past few weeks, we have been redoing rooms in the house and I’ve enjoyed organizing and picking paint colors and making our house feel homey and inviting.
What would be the title of your memoir?
I guess I would say something like Fur because, in my universe, fur is everywhere — on my jeans, blowing across the recently vacuumed floor, and covering the back seat of my car. Animals have always been a huge part of my life so the abundance of fur they leave behind is just something you learn to live with. I keep 3M in business with my stash of tape rollers.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Definitely from my pets and other animals I know. I am continually amazed by the fabulous personalities that these furry critters have and I create images that show how quirky and unique each animal is. I also adore a deadline! I get really inspired right before a craft show or holiday, just coming up with little funny things that would catch my eye if I were a shopper.
What does handmade mean to you?
Little objects made of love. The person who creates handmade puts their heart and soul into everything they make. Gorgeous handiwork is so impressive to me. Cutting a clean line, sewing the perfect row of stitches, and paying attention to every detail of your own creation is just such a special thing that deserves respect. Handmade is also putting yourself out there and risking rejection.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
My husband for helping me do what I love. He’s incredibly supportive and puts up with a lot of my type-A personality neurosis. He also goes to every single craft show with me, models T-shirts, and wields an X-Acto knife and cork-backed ruler with great skill.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I think I’ve always known that’s what I was meant to do. I can remember making tiny pillows from fabric scraps when I was little and going door to door in my neighborhood to sell them. I was always obsessed with coloring books and drawing, too. My mom is an artist and it’s in our genes.
How would you describe your creative process?
I usually come up with an idea while I am doing something else. The shower is a pretty creative place for me — ideas just pop into my head. Then I head to the computer to flesh out an idea and play with color and shapes. My favorite part is cutting out the first card in a series or pulling the first screen print from a freshly burned image. Taking what I’ve been looking at on a computer screen and turning it into a tangible object is thrilling.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
For years, I’ve been obsessed with letterpress but never had the chance to see how the process works. So, I’d love to spend a week in a modern letterpress studio to see how they do it. Dear Colleen on Etsy looks like she’d be great fun to learn from.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a mint green and yellow acrylic baby blanket that one of my father’s secretaries made for me when I was a baby. It’s not particularly lovely (it was crocheted in 1975) but I have always thought it was spectacular.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I just try to be kind to myself and give it some time to pass. If something’s not working, I’ll put it away for a while and work on a task that I know I can complete. Crossing stuff off my to-do list gives me the confidence I need to get back to creating.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Right now, I’m really happy and content. I love what I do, I adore my family and I can’t wait to meet these two little beings we’ve created. So, in ten years, if I can feel like I do today, that would be perfect.