Bats, owls and spiders combined with antique style lettering give the paper crafts of Brandywine Designs an autumnal, vintage appeal. Owner Brandy K. Faulkner says making her Halloween art helps her recapture the magical feeling she experienced as a child celebrating the scary but fun.”
Brandy grew up with crafting not just as a creative outlet, but as a way of life. I lived on ranches my whole childhood. You couldn’t just run to the store. So we learned how to improvise and make things ourselves. My mom made everything homemade. I learned how to make everything from homemade donuts to candles.”
The knack for improvisation she learned as a child gave the kind of can-do attitude that enabled her to start a professional crafting business from scratch. After losing her job when the business she worked for closed, she started her crafting business with no money, offering upcycled, altered items for sale. Initially, she tried selling on EBay, but found the environment for crafters there less than friendly. Today, she sells her wares on Etsy.
Brandy finds inspiration in nature, as well as in vintage materials. I adore old paper and books. I could play with buttons, lace and glitter all day! And the changing seasons, each with its own special colors, scents, lights and sounds.” She also enjoys inspiring others: she participates with some of her crafty colleagues in a site offering how-to’s on seasonal craft projects. She also looks forward to teaching at craft retreats later this year.
Although she only started selling her cards, labels, tags and other decorative paper elements in 2007, her natural aptitude and artistic flair has already gained recognition. Brandywine Boutique has been featured in several magazines, including the 2010 Halloween issue of Better Homes and Gardens. She advises other crafters aspiring to go pro with their work to be true to their personal craft muse: It may sound corny but follow your heart. By trying new things and trial and error I have found my style. In the past when I would try to do what was trendy and it never seemed to sell. But, when I made something for myself that I loved, it was always a big hit. If I find myself not excited about a project I drop it and go to something else. Basically I only create what I love.”
Photo Credits: Brandywine Designs