Home InterviewsMeet the Maker The adventures of Boodle Boutique (featuring a five-legged panda)
cat and sardine, illustrated mug, Boodle Boutique, bristol

The adventures of Boodle Boutique (featuring a five-legged panda)

by Camilla

Nature is at the heart of Boodle Boutique – the Bristol-based business created by designer Beth Buss. Her screen prints nearly always feature animals (often on adventures), and all her clothing is made from organic bamboo cotton printed with eco-friendly inks. We caught up with Beth and discovered that her creative interpretations of nature started with a painting of a five-legged panda, aged four… 

Can you introduce yourself?
Hello! I am Beth from Boodle, a designer maker from Bristol. I illustrate everything myself and screen print all of my clothing range by hand as well as my art prints and tea towels. I do everything with sustainability in mind, using eco-friendly inks and organic/bamboo cotton to ensure a high-quality product.

boodle boutique, beth boodle, bristol

Beth screen prints all her work by hand in her Bristol studio using eco-friendly inks

Have you both always been creative?
I’ve always loved drawing and creating. Doing an Art Foundation course was the tipping point for me – if I hadn’t done that I would have studied geography! The first thing I ever remember making was a painting of a panda when I was about four – it had five legs, but apart from that I remember my parents being pretty impressed.

What was the first Boodle Boutique product?
My first Boodle products were hand screen printed cards and art prints. I soon realised that screen printing greetings cards by hand was a lengthy process, so I now digitally print these. I also remember investing my saved pennies into my very first screen printed T-shirts, and quickly realised these would be my main focus for the business.

hand screen printed tshirts, screenprinted t-shirts, uk, babygrow,

Beth designs and screen prints T-shirts for men, women and children made from sustainable bamboo cotton

How do you think your work has developed since then?
I have definitely become more business minded since I first started out. When you start a craft business you spend a lot of time making and not as much time selling, you slowly figure out what sells, what is worth it in terms of time and money, and how much you have to charge for your products to make a living. In terms of my product development, I feel they have moved on in terms of the quality of illustration. I used to work part time at a screen printer’s and on Boodle part time, so I was always strapped for time. I now work on Boodle full time so I have more time to develop products, and I can feel fully happy with them before putting them on the market. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I like to feel proud of what I am selling.

Can you describe your making process? 
My making process starts in my sketchbook. I draw mainly in black pen on white paper to get a good contrast when I scan my work to edit on the computer. My inspiration comes mainly from animals and nature – I get ideas on walks or watching nature documentaries. I like the idea of animals going on adventures! Once I’ve scanned in my work, I start editing by adding layers and sometimes colour in Illustrator. I then print out my acetates using black ink (one acetate for each layer for screen printing) and then go about making my screens. I share a studio with fellow designer-makers so we’re lucky enough to have our own screen printing facilities in house. Once the images are burned on to the screen, I set up for printing – I align the screen to the acetate and start printing by pulling the ink through the exposed image.

Whale tshirt, children's t-shirt, screen printed wale, illustrated

“It’s exciting to see an image come through on to your new product”

What is it about the screen-printing process that you really love?
My favourite bit is seeing the first print –it’s exciting to see an image come through on to your new product. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with screen printing, so sometimes the print doesn’t come out and you just have to start again, which is a bit frustrating, but it’s always worth it in the end.

Are there any artists or designers you particularly admire?
I mainly admire other screen printers as I really appreciate the work that goes into it. My current favourites are Jenny Sipthorp, Charlotte Farmer and Jane Ormes, all fellow designer-makers.

Can you tell us a bit more about your studio?
I share a studio in Bristol with Sally from MyBearHands and Alice from Rolfe&Wills. It’s great to share a studio so we can bounce ideas off each other and ask advice when needed. I used to work from home which can be isolating at times, so I feel lucky now to be able to work alongside amazing makers.

Hummingbird necklace, my bear hands, mybearhands, resin jewellery, illustration

Beth shares a studio with some other amazing designer-makers including Sally from mybearhands

What’s your most treasured possession?
It’s a jewellery box which I inherited from my grandparents who I unfortunately never met.

How would you spend your perfect day?
A perfect day off would be going to the beach in Devon (where I’m from), having a swim in the sea, playing and foraging on the beach and then off for fish and chips and a G&T in a local pub.

What’s the best thing about being a designer and maker?
The best thing is having the freedom to work by yourself and seeing your ideas develop into products. It’s always great when you get loyal customers who love your work too – you need a confidence boost now and again to keep you motivated.

Blue tit, rain, rainy day card, illustration

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
My advice would be to go for it. You have to be really self-motivated to keep going though – it’s not an easy path to take, so you need a great deal of determination to get you through quiet spells.

 

Beth is offering a 20% discount on everything in her Folksy shop with the code BOODLEFOLKSY (valid until the end of May)

Shop Boodle Boutique on Folksy >>

 

 

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1 comment

Ruth Petersen May 6, 2015 - 4:04 pm

Great story and lovely t shirts.

Comments are closed.