aBc Children's Designs is one of the many new members of Steel Town Etsy. She creates adorable custom children's clothing like the pillowcase dress pictured above on her lovely model. Please check out the interview below to learn more about this talented STE artist...
Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
Hi! I'm Nicole Bomeli, everything woman at aBc Children's Designs. I live in Regent Square in the East End of Pittsburgh. I moved here from Charlottesville, Virginia 4 years ago when my husband started his surgical residency with UPMC. Before moving to Pittsburgh, I taught elementary school for 6 years. Currently, I am home with my kids, Alec 3 1/2 and Caroline 13 months.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
My most important (and time consuming!) job right now is full-time Mommy. My husband works crazy hours, so the kids and I spend A LOT of time together. However, they are also the inspiration for everything I make for my shop, so maybe I'm always creating?! When the kids are in bed, I work part-time as an online math tutor for Tutor.com. I teach kids all around the country via an online "classroom" and get to keep my long division skills sharp. In my free time, I like to cook, garden and generally be outside in the warmer months.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I learned to sew from my mom and grandmother, both of whom are excellent seamstresses, though they would tell you that they are NOT artists since they have to use a pattern for anything :) My mom always made our Halloween costumes, created beautiful smocked dresses and all sewed party-ware or special occasions. Lucky for me, those clothes are still around and my daughter is wearing them now! Having my own kids made me want to renew those skills so I could make special things for them.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
All of my designs are inspired by my children. I started with huge flowered headbands when my daughter was born with peach fuzz for hair. Later, I discovered historic pillowcase style dresses and began making them for several friends. Everything else has just spiraled from there. Around Valentine's Day my son started asking why I only make things for girls, so I added a few "boy" style tshirt and hoodies so that he can have something special too. As a mom, I make sure that everything I make is easy to wash and wear since no one likes to hand wash kid stuff!
As far as "when," I sew in my upstairs "studio" whenever my kids are napping or my husband is around for a couple hours to help out. I knit whenever a project comes along. I love that knitting is something I can do with the kids around too. For materials, I try to stick to sturdy cottons and brand-name tshirts that don't shrink or fall apart with repeated washing.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My husband is a woodworker in his spare time. When we were in college he made me an inlaid jewelry box that still holds all of my earrings. My other handmade treasures are all the dresses my mom smocked for my sister and me that have now been willed down to my daughter.
Name your top five places to be in the Pittsburgh area, books/authors, movies/TV shows, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
1. The Dinosaur Museum (aka The Carnegie Museum of Natural History)
2. Carnegie Science Center
3. all parts of Frick Park
4. Square Cafe in Regent Square
5. the Zoo
Friday Night Lights
The Blind Side
Zac Brown Band
What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?
As someone completely new myself, I can only say to network as much as you can! STE has given me a great gift of getting to know other Pittsburgh crafters and learning so much for each of you. My other other suggestion would be to always have your craft on you. i just made my kids appliqued hoodies so they can model for me where ever we go!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love Etsy! I think its great that it is so affordable and easy to use. I love to shop the gift guides and treasuries. As a very small time seller, I don't really have any problems with the site. My only issue is that I wish Etsy could accept larger photos. I'm always taking them on too high of a resolution and then having to do everything over again.
How do you promote your work?
My kids wear it! I also keep business cards on me at all times. I'm hoping to find time to check out Wildcard and possibly start selling there.
In five years I'd like to be...
making more children's clothes and designing my own patterns.