Happy Marathon Monday, as today is known is known in the Boston area. After being away from home for a week I am really looking forward to being back home for what I know will be a day filled with cheer and celebration, and of course remembrance for what happened last year. I am hoping to take Eve to watch it for the first time (though we’ll hit up our usual spot in Brookline rather than the end of the route, where I’m sure things will be a bit crazy) and maybe even catch a glimpse of some of the people I know (including fellow Boston Handmade member Stephanie Cave).
Speaking of the Boston Marathon, if you haven’t already, I also encourage you to check out the Why I Run photography project by another fellow Boston Handmade member, Lucie Wicker has done. Finally, don’t forget that today is your last day to order my handcrafted runner bracelet with 20% of sales being donated to the One Fund Boston.
And now, speaking of Boston and all things handmade, I am excited to introduce my friend and fellow member Dana Garczewski of the Patterned Peacock.
I actually met Dana a few years ago at my favorite local craft show in Somerville, where Sam and I were really struck by her beautiful prints full of unique designs and bold, vibrant colors. I’ve already told Sam that for Mother’s Day I would actually like one of Dana’s prints for Eve’s room!
How did you get started designing prints?
I majored in illustration in college. After graduating I went to work as an in-house product designer. I loved it and it inspired me to try my hand at developing my own product line. Given my artistic background, prints were a natural fit.
What is the story behind your shop’s name?
Garczewski is hard to pronounce and spell so it ruled out the possibility of naming the company after me. I decided to take a different tactic and come up with a name that evoked an image in someone’s head, even if they didn’t know what I did. Surface pattern design will always be incorporated into my work. And the peacock represents the bright vibrant color I try to include in my pieces. Hence The Patterned Peacock was born.
What do you like most about having your own creative business? What do you find most challenging?
The two aspects I love the most are the amount of flexibility and control I have in my life now. But the flip side is dealing with a level of risk and uncertainty. It’s hard to chart a course with no guidance and it takes a lot of courage to believe you’re on the right path especially when things take a long time to pan out.
What inspires you to create?
On a surface level, I’m obsessed with color and pattern. I love playing with them and they will always be the backbone of my work. But I also believe that we have things in our life–stories, interests, experiences, favorites–that shape who we are and allow us to connect with others who share our passions. The joy that people feel for the things they love is irresistible and inspiring. For example, my boyfriend is an engineer who loves building things and solving problems. I barely remember high school physics so his mechanical knowledge is fascinating to me and became the inspiration behind my Robot Inventor print.
What do you think motivates others to buy handmade?
For some people it’s important to know how or where an object is made. But I also think that people are looking for things that have some kind of story behind them. Handmade objects offer that in a way that mass-market products don’t.
What is your favorite handmade item you have bought or received?
I was traveling around Australia in 2008. It seemed every place I went had some kind of weekly market, which was awesome! I’m not a big jewelry person but I saw this one silver ring at a market in Port Douglas. It has a cut out pattern that makes it look like abstract lace. I had to have it and I still wear it everyday.
When you are not designing prints, what do you like to do with your time?
I love traveling but it’s not something I get to do all the time. On a more regular basis I love cooking, taking kickboxing class, going to wine tastings, hiking, and reading.
What is something people might not know about you?
I lived in New Zealand for a year.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to others with their own creative business?
It’s okay if you’re not successful straight out of the gate. In fact, it’s probably better if you fail at first. It will give you the incentive to dig deeper, become an expert at your craft, and really understand your business and what you have to offer.
Thank you so much for joining me on my blog, Dana, and be sure to check out her website!