Artist Interview: Michelle Powell of Sew Girlie!!

What do scraps of Ribbon and a MacGyver Challenge in ReadyMade Magazine have in common? Stumped? The answer is none other than our new artist – Michelle and her creations – and they’re stunning! Her eye for matching color is wonderful and the workmanship that goes into each bag is beyond words. She benefits from a bit of the creative ADD gene, so she’s got everything to show off from jewelry to ribbon bags to collar kercheifs for your pups and even a fully up-cycled teddy bear, too! Take a read through the interview below so you get to know her a little and then take a peek at her goodies – they’re better than you can imagine! When you come in, ask us about her article – we have a copy here for you to read (and we know you’ll fall in love with the magazine, too)!

Name:  Michelle Powell
Age Group: Cherry Blossom
Business Name: Sew Girlie!!!
Art Medium: Ribbon

ALBH: How did you get started turning bits of ribbon into beautiful bags?

MP: Several years ago, a friend asked me to replicate a purse she had seen.  (The first one was a disaster!)

ALBHWas the process hard to learn? It looks amazingly tedious!

MP: I made it up as I went along.

ALBH: Your bags are quite intricate – is there anything special we need to know about taking care of them?

MP: I do not tack the lining specifically so that, if your 4 year old gets Red Brick lipstick by Clinique on it, you can pull it out and hand wash the spot.  Otherwise, rain’s okay, but I do not recommend washing.

ALBH: So we already know you make a variety of items – why don’t you list a few for the readers?  

MP: Yes, I love custom designing purses for someone who loves a particular color combination– pink and black, for example. Each purse is a mixture of satin and grosgrain; printed and solid; wide and narrow ribbons.  And no two purses are ever alike! I love to sew, so I make clothes for myself and kids; curtains; quilts; recover/repurpose lonely, foundling chairs. I also dabble in jewelry. 

ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?

MP: World Domination?! Seeing my purses on the arms of starlets?!  Really, I’m just here to have fun and provide beautiful purses to light up the lives of women everywhere.

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

MP: A hippie is someone who’s laid back and tries to embrace the world around them.

ALBH: What advice do you have to offer other artists?

MP: Secure a patron first!!

ALBH: What’s your least favorite part of your craft?

MP: Hands down, my perfectionism.  I don’t offer anything I wouldn’t be proud to use or wear.

ALBH: There is a TON of work that goes into each of your pieces – how long does a typical bag take you to make?  

MP: 5 hours from concept to finish.

ALBH: What’s your inspiration?

MP: I love to repurpose things.  And I love to find new uses for old things.

ALBH: If a bag takes you 5 hours, you run a family and a household, what in the world is your typical day like?

MP: I do three chores, I sew until lunchtime, then I nap!  (In between, I clean up messes the mini-doxie makes while I’m being inattentive)

ALBH: What do you do for fun, outside of your art?

MP: I’ve read all the books in the Bedford County Library System. Now that I have a Kindle, I’m out to read every book known to man!

ALBH: What is it about your bags that keeps you coming back for more and continuously creating?

MP: I’m a very linear person; I love seeing the lines created when making my ribbon purses! I love the random match-i-ness of combining the ribbons.