Spotlight: Bianca Spizzirri, Fiber Artist
Bianca Spizzirri designs block-printed fabric providing earth-friendly materials that inspire quilters, crafters and sewists to make their own creations. Using repurposed fabric and her original printing blocks, she transforms trash to treasure.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
Always there! I was always painting and crafting, starting from a very young age. In high school, I signed up for as many art classes as I could, but started taking it really seriously in college–I went for a BFA program.
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How did you get started upcycling fabric? How do you source your raw materials?
The idea actually started with my Masters thesis. I wanted to start my own business, and used the thesis as a basis for my business plan and website content. I am a commercial designer, and at that time had been working in the corporate design world for about 8 years.
For my business, I wanted to do something that would serve others, incorporate something I enjoyed, and was good for the environment. I went through a lot of ideas before landing on Reprint + Repurpose!
I get to be creative, start something that would allow me continue my career while I needed to, work with my hands (as opposed to a job that is all done on the computer) and provide an earth-friendly fabric option for crafters, quilters and sewers.
Sourcing the fabric is so much fun because it always feels like a treasure hunt. I find fabric from thrift stores, estate sales and deadstock collections.
What inspires your block printed designs? Do you create your own printing blocks?
Seeing and exploring new places is inspiring, as well as nature, magazines anything visual. I love getting to observe everything. I have found I tend to really enjoy creating (and wearing) cute and whimsical designs.
Yes! All the blocks and designs are created by me.
What do your customers create with your fabrics?
So far I have seen clothing, napkins, totes and quilts. It’s so exciting to see what people create!
When you begin to create, do you visualize the finished piece? Or does the work evolve?
For my block prints, I start with an idea in my head. When I start sketching it out, it sometimes evolves.
Is there an element of your art you enjoy working with most? Why?
I love just getting to be creative and work with my hands. Seeing the finished fabric pieces is always satisfying, and knowing they will be used again to create another beautiful project is a great feeling!
What is your favorite lesser-known tool for your trade? Have you taken something designed for another use and repurposed it for your studio?
My standing table. It can be raised pretty high, so it is perfect for carving out blocks. So much better than sitting and trying to do that.
What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, movies? If so, what kind?
Mainly podcasts or silence. I have a variety of podcast in my library, but lately I have been listening to entrepreneurial and news ones – “Work party”, “Skimmed from the couch”, “Goal digger” to name a few.
When you have time to create for yourself, what kinds of projects do you make?
I love to sew, and that’s where my love of fabric comes from :). I am currently working on a pair of shorts using some Reprint + Repurpose fabric printed with flowers.
What are your earliest memories of your own creative expression?
Making collages and finger painting with my mom and twin brother.
Do you think that creativity comes naturally to people, or do you think creativity is a skill that people can learn?
I think everyone has it, but for some, maybe they don’t have the confidence to express it. That was the goal of my mini course. One of the goals of Reprint + Repurpose is to have more people to enjoy and continue sewing and quilting. It is not as main stream as it used to be, but I really think there is a resurgence. For someone who is interested but has never tried, I hope this mini course is a pressure free and fun way to get their feet wet.
How can people overcome the challenges they feel to their creative ability?
I think with most things, you need to just try, and then try again (and again!) Take some sort of action. No one is amazing at something the first time they try it. You need to keep trying, and be patient and kind to yourself. Especially if it is a hobby, it should be fun!
Was there a turning point when the business side of your art really took off, or was the process more gradual?
For Reprint + Repurpose, I always knew it would be a business. But the idea of having my own business was a little more gradual. We are still a pretty new business, less than a year old. I think being a vendor at Quiltcon 2020 was a huge turning point! It was so amazing getting to meet fellow crafters from all over the world, and we had such a welcoming reception from so many people who loved the idea and fabric from Reprint + Repurpose.
The next goal is to start offering larger yardage options, cut squares, multicolor prints on the online store. For the Instagram and Facebook accounts, I will be sharing more finished samples!
Interview posted May 2020