Featured Artist: Barbra LaBosco

This month I'd like to introduce you to my friend Barbra from All About The Buttons. Like me, Barbra dabbles in a lot of different crafts, including knit and crochet. If you love to knit and crochet too, you definitely need to get your hands on a few of her tape irresistible measures.

Tell us a little about yourself.

It’s never been easy for me to ‘talk’ about me because I never think anyone is interested but you asked, so here goes! My father was a leather designer and my mother sewed a great deal & had an artistic leaning. My brother tinkered and built things & still does today. He is just about ready to sell his photography work which is extraordinary. My nephews, are also very creative and sell their work. (My own son, not so much but wonderful in other ways!) We were a creative bunch and still are. I taught myself how to knit at 8 and shocked my mother and her Mahjongg friends. My loving to create continued as I was an art major in college. I sold many things from cards and scarves, to posters for fraternity parties and sporting events. After college, I chose to go into elementary school teaching and did so for 33 years while still creating on the side and always in my classrooms.

In 1993, I inherited my mother’s/grandmother’s cookie tin of buttons and I just sat and played and imagined and All About The Buttons was established at my kitchen table. In 2002, my husband and I moved from New York to South Carolina…a bit of culture shock! The motivation to come here was my son and his family which now includes his 3 boys, the light of our lives and also life without snow! Upon the move I gained a dedicated studio. No more cleaning up just because someone wants dinner! It’s the “not for public viewing” space that I don’t have to clean up if I’m not in the mood. In the mid 90s, it was suggested that I sell online but doing so for one-of-a-kind items was not feasible then. In 2006, it became possible for me and here I am!

What inspires you?

I have always made “stuff” and loved to sketch. I started with macaroni pictures as a young child to tape measures now! There’s barely any craft or material that I haven’t tried but a few are on my wish list. I have done extensive beaded flowers but the old eyes won’t tolerate that today. I dislike painting and anything with clay but have worked with both. I am in awe of quilters and one day I’d like to have the quilt in my head materialize. I have only made one stained glass piece and would love to give that another go for personal pleasure, not for sale.

I am inspired by basic supplies-buttons, yarn, paper and ribbon-which are often purchased with no goal in mind. Those materials began as someone else’s creations and I make them mine. I don’t make buttons, or spin yarn but taking them from a kind of raw state to a useful and beautiful item is so enjoyable. Often a material will sit for months but eventually will get used somehow. Actually, that’s not true! My button and yarn stash could keep me and several others busy for years! I also love to recycle and repurpose, whether it’s for sale or my private use. Making clocks out of old CDs, trays and dishes has been great fun.

What do you create?

As I said, the knitting was started very young and was quickly followed by crocheting and needlepoint. They came from a desire to emulate my Mom, Aunts and Grandmother who all indulged in activities requiring needles and I still enjoy them all. Working with buttons came from a desire to highlight them, rather than just use as garment closures. To me, they are often little works of art.

Tell us about your product line especially for knitters and crocheters.

The tape measures evolved from embarrassment! I pulled mine out in a store to measure a small stool and it was so grungy, it gave me the shivers. “Make it pretty” it said to me, and they have been an amazing ride ever since.

A knitter or crocheter must have one. It’s such a practical, useful item for anyone but I’m shocked that I’m not bored making them. Each one is just that different to keep my interest. Knitters and crocheters love all the sheep themes but have other interests as well and the tapes make great “I don’t know what to get her” gifts. Everyone can use them! I still get excited when another one sells and am always looking for new ideas for them.

Do you accept custom design orders?

I love custom tape measure orders and find my customers are very creative. The latest custom order was for a graduating pharmacy student from her aunt! People, buttons, yarn and fabric are constant inspirations.

What is a typical day for you?

A typical day consists of the mundane and ordinary household responsibilities. I fit in at least one hour of creating whether it’s tape measure construction, knitting or making shipping envelopes and cards. Much time is also spent on promoting online, a necessary evil. A great day may include gardening if my body and weather permits!

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career and phase two has been just as exciting. I love what I do!

Anything else you would like to share?

One of the side benefits and joys of selling online is meeting great, creative souls all over the world. Creating can be an isolating endeavor but the internet has opened up the world for us all. I love that I can say I have friends in Texas, Oregon and New Hampshire, Germany and Australia. We may never physically meet, but we share passions, goals and intensity. It’s something no one anticipated with online selling and a wonderful bonus.

Stay Connected with Barbra



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The Chilly Dog: Featured Artist: Barbra LaBosco
Featured Artist: Barbra LaBosco
Meet Barbra from All About the Buttons and learn more about her irresistible tape measures.
The Chilly Dog
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