Welcome to our 2nd installment of Art Star Craft Bazaar vendor profiles! Meet Debby Weiss, the talented artist behind the clothing/accessories/housewares brand, Rebe. Debby travels all the way from California to do our show & we are happy to have her back again this year!
Art Star: Did you go to art school? If so, where did you study?
Debby Weiss: I did not go to art school. I went to the University of California @ Davis in the mid 1970’s and went back and forth between science and art. I did graduate with a B.S. degree in textile design.
AS: What types of items will you be selling at the bazaar?
DW: I design and make woman’s apparel. I do not like to think of it as fashion since fashion seems to represent trends. I create things that I feel will work for all ages and functionality and will be able to incorporate into a persons wardrobe for decades to come. As a woman I once met described it as art for “around the body.”
AS: What materials do you work with?
DW: I work with primarily woven and knitted fabrics, sustainable when I can find what I want. I have recently taken up knitting, making sweaters and will be making blankets so I get to work with yarns. I also incorporate all my scraps into stitched pieces that have first been collaged and they are meant for the wall. And I have brought macramé back into my life for both functional pieces and design inspiration.
AS: How are your items made? Describe your process.
RW: I first sketch my ideas, and then find fabric, although I often find the fabric and that leads to the design. I make a pattern, cut and sew. I am always letting pieces help dictate what is next by seeing how they function together.
I also try to take in how pieces are fitting my customers so I know how to alter for sizing for the majority of our varying shapes.
AS: Are you able to make your work full-time? If not, what do you do for your day job?
DW: My business, Rebe is my full time work for the past 6 years. For the first 7 years I worked as an ultrasound technician.
AS: Who are some of your favorite artists?
DW: I am inspired by many Japanese designers, not one in particular. I had also grown up with Marimekko designs in my life and still love it. I love Moroccan textiles. It is more the pieces by the masses than an actually artist that inspire me. I loved seeing Nick Cave’s Sound Suit Exhibition. I guess I would say just about anything with textiles inspires. Ghee’s Bend quilts too have been a great inspiration.
If it was not for my daughter (artist & bazaar participant) Hillery Sproatt I might not have ever been brave enough to have started Rebe. I always made and sold things but seeing her amazing talent gave me the courage as a mother to help guide her by taking a risk in starting a business and following my passion as I have tried to encourage all my daughters to do.
AS: What are you reading/listening to right now?
DW: I love listening to stories while I work such as This American Life and Radio Lab.
AS: Where would you like to see yourself and your art/craft business in the next 10 years?
DW: I hope to have a studio with a brick and mortar shop that perhaps I can include a bed and breakfast in. I always thought it would be in the Bay Area but not sure yet. At 57 I am still trying to figure out where I want to be when I grow up, but I am having an amazing time traveling the country with my art and doing what I love.
AS: Are there any bazaar participants that you are excited to check out this year?
DW: I have been blessed to meet some amazing artist and absolutely wonderful people on my journey. I am looking forward to walking the show and seeing all the work each person has put their heart and soul into.