Featured Artist: Rebecca from FIP Designs

If you like vibrant colors and rich textures in your bling, you need to meet my friend Rebecca, from FIPDesigns on Etsy.
I meet a lot of talented bloggers and artists virtually, so it's a real treat when I get to meet one in real life. I was introduced to Rebecca, from FIP Designs, via Etsy. She happens to be a fellow Tucsonan and now we get together for lunch every few months for some shop talk, good food and beautiful desert views.

The patio tables at our favorite cantina are small and the Tucson temperatures can be blistering but you're always welcome to pull up a chair and join us.

Until then, meet Rebecca.

Who are you and where are you from?

I’m an escapee from the corporate legal world and the very cold winters of Chicago. I spent years doing international law at several large corporations primarily in Chicago, with some temporary stints In Europe and the East Coast. In retirement, my major requirement was sunshine and no more snow- I’d had enough of wading through snow banks and digging my car out of a mountain of snow (made worse of course by the snow plow). The sunny Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona was a perfect choice. Clear blue skies which seem never to end, sunshine to perk up even the dourest of people and awe inspiring scenery. But in the end, I am and always will be a Midwesterner.

If you like vibrant colors and rich textures in your bling, you need to meet my friend Rebecca, from FIPDesigns on Etsy.

What do you create?

Right now it’s jewelry, worry beads and bejeweled geegaws. (Isn’t that a great catch-all word?) I’m very eclectic in the pieces I make- thus one of my my taglines “fun, funky and elegant”. I love working with stones- be they precious or semi- precious. My preference are stones that have a rough and organic feel. You’ll see a lot of nugget jewelry on my site. I also love to combine beautiful stones with various ethnic beads- Mala beads from Tibet, Bodhi Sead beads from India,filgreed brass from Africa. Secondarily I like the classic gemstone pieces that you can wear everyday, with jeans or designer suits, and feel perfectly put together and elegant. Then again, some pieces are just happy and fun, like the pieces I make with African trade beads or Tibetan mala beads. Like I said- I’m eclectic.

When did you realize your creative passion?

Hmm. I’ve don’t really think of myself that way. Other people have told me I’m creative or that I have an “eye”, so I guess there’s something there. I just know that I want to be surrounded by wonderful, unique and beautiful things. So I needed to make that happen, be it in my garden, or home or making jewelry. And the best way to satisfy that was to make or create it myself. And doing so, served another purpose, relieving some of the stress of my job.

What or who inspires you in your crafting?

Oh my goodness- the entire world inspires me. The sun, the moon, the stars. But seriously, everything about nature inspires me, different cultures and people inspire me,history inspires me.

One example- and it involves you. I was in Honduras a few years ago exploring the Mayan ruins at Copan. There I discovered some of the most beautiful handmade pottery and beads made by the women of the Lencan Indian tribe in the highlands of Honduras. I brought some back but have been unable to get my hands on any more. I even planned a trip down there, but my husband was totally and unequivocally against it and admittedly it is a bit dangerous down there.

Then I was reading The Chilly Dog blog, and you had decided to try out polymer clay. That got me started experimenting with clay-hoping that someday I could maybe re-create some of those bead designs. I have a long way to go- but I’m learning!

What’s your philosophy about crafting and/or life?

In both life and crafting-never ever stop learning.

Is crafting a hobby, business, or something in between?

It started as a hobby 10 years ago, but then I opened my Etsy shop and needed to make sure I met all the business expectations, so it has become more of a business at this point.


How did you choose your brand or shop name?

The name FIP started as a family joke. My husband and I were discussing retirement with my sister and her husband one day, speculating on when we might decide to retire. We each came up with an answer and then it came to my brother-in-law, who is a well respected federal court judge in Chicago. He was adamant that he would never retire because he didn’t want to be a FIP. Understandably our response was ”What the heck is a FIP???”

It seems that it means he did not want to become a Formerly Important Person-e.g. a FIP.

So my shop became FIPDesigns. And we still laugh about it.

What is a typical day for you?

Retirement has brought me freedom from schedules (hallelujah), so I don’t have a typical day. For me waking up, reading the news and deciding over a cup of coffee what I want to do that day is heaven.

What is an ideal day for you?

I wish I could say that I do 4-5 hours worth of work on my jewelry, but when I get started I work for many, many hours and let everything else slide. So I guess my ideal day is one that is a bit more balanced.

What projects are you the most proud of?

Generally the one I just finished. Really though, the pieces I’ve made for my family and friends are my favorites. I love being able to make something special just for them. That and the bookshelves I decoupaged for my husband one Christmas. All wild west wanted posters and old postcards accented with brass clavos. It turned out really neat and we have a mini dispute over who gets it- me, in the living room, or him in his library. He’s won round 1.

What is the strangest thing you have ever created?

A paper mache flying pig. Red, with pink polka dots, stars and gold wings. It sits proudly in my living room.

How do you deal with crafting failures?

Not very well, I fume a bit at myself, then go vent at my poor husband. Then it’s back to my workshop to do it over. The worst though is when I have a picture in my head, I can see what I want, but I just can’t seem to create it as I see it. Now that requires big time venting.

Where do you do most of your crafting?

I’ve taken over our formal dining room and expanded to the kitchen from there.

Have you ever experienced a dry spell when you put your crafting aside? If so, what brought you back to crafting?

I often do when I get back from a trip, but walking past my dining room with all my stones and materials as well as looking at the pictures from the trip (such tremendous craftsmen the world over) inspires me to get back to it.

What keeps you busy when you are not creating?

I’m trying to get better at marketing- I’m really bad at it and it doesn’t help to be an introvert. Other than that I love traveling- with a passion, both to see family and friends but also because my husband and I are both avid history buffs. I’d add that I’m also a culture hound- I’m fascinated by other cultures and people. Really in conjunction with that, I am a research junkie, if something catches my interest, I’m off and running on Google. Travel planning, politics, art, music, polymer clay, you name it, I research it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your craft, or business tips to help others with small crafting businesses?

Be open to connecting with and learning from others. The Etsy community of artists is so helpful and you need to really jump in. I still have trouble doing that, but I’m getting better. I also seek out craftsmen and artists where ever I go. Most are eager to share their own expertise and insight with you. And it’s all those talented people that keep me plugging away when I hit that frustrating “give it up” stage that we all go through on occasion.

Stay Connected with Rebecca
FIPDesigns on Etsy

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The Chilly Dog: Featured Artist: Rebecca from FIP Designs
Featured Artist: Rebecca from FIP Designs
If you like vibrant colors and rich textures in your bling, you need to meet my friend Rebecca, from FIPDesigns on Etsy.
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The Chilly Dog
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