Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Scarlet Woman: Beatriz Rempel of Lucky14 Handmade

The Scarlet Woman series profiles women working in creative fields.  For more, go here.

When the air turns cool and the leaves start to fall, don't you wish you could just curl up inside and knit all day?  Well Beatriz Rempel does just that.  The British Columbia, Canada resident makes all of her luxe, chunky knit scarves, pillows, and coffee cozies from the comfort of her (very stylish) living room.  Originally taught this time-honored craft by her grandmother, and then re-introduced to the skill years later by her sister-in-law, Beatriz sells her homespun wares on Etsy and at various craft shows in Canada, including the Bloom Market and One of a Kind.  She was nice enough to show us around her home, giving us a peek into her crafty world.

Full name:
Beatriz Rempel

Founder / owner / knitter of Lucky14 Handmade

Media you work in:
Yarn – wool and alpaca mostly

Childhood nickname:
Beat-rice or Beat-it. They actually weren’t childhood nicknames. As a kid it drove me crazy when kids used Beat-rice to tease me. I would get so mad. As an adult in university I got over it as it became a nickname.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Brazil and came over to Canada when I was one. I actually celebrated my first birthday on the plane.


Favorite designer / artist / writer:
Hmmm. That’s hard actually. There are a ton of designers I love. To narrow down a favorite is nearly impossible. But I love the Architecture firm BattersbyHowat.  I actually worked with them for a couple of years and just learned so much. David Battersby and Heather Howat are amazingly talented and such fantastic people. They really had a huge influence on me and my design aesthetic.

As for favorite writers, that’s easier. Anita Shreve and Miriam Toews. Just really good. Their books are easy to read but not fluffy.

And then there’s bloggers. Where do they fit? Two of my favorites are Door Sixteen and The Brick House. I really like blogs written by everyday people telling you about themselves and their lives. These two women have amazing style, are fabulous writers (Morgan is especially hilarious) and share bits of their work and lives.

When you were a kid you wanted to grow up to be:
An actress or a teacher.

Describe your career path:
I re-learned to knit a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I was working as an Interior Designer in Vancouver. The goal was to get my Bachelor of Interior Design, work for a firm for a few years and then open my own design company. Then about 2 years ago I developed some health issues that made it pretty much impossible to keep a full-time job. So, to fill the days, I started knitting and spending a bunch of time online reading blogs. After a while, I ran out of things I could knit for myself or give away so I decided to open an Etsy shop to try to sell my stuff. So here I am. Spending my days knitting. Who would’ve thought? But I love it.

When do you feel most inspired:
In the morning. I am a definite morning person. I love the quiet of early mornings. And that’s when I have the most energy. I get a lot done between 6:30 and noon. After lunch, I turn into a sloth. I get tired, unmotivated and lazy.

How would you describe your personal style:
I’d say my style was livable West Coast modern. I love clean lines and uncluttered spaces, but I still need things to feel warm and cozy and comfortable. And I love layers. I am not a summer person. I love the fall and winter when the air is crisp and smells fresh and clean and I can bundle up.

First thing you do when you get up in the morning:
Open all the curtains and blinds. Even if it’s disgusting outside, I need to let the natural light in. Then I make myself a vanilla latte (or eggnog in the winter…yum!) and either start knitting or catching up on the blogs I follow. I’ll either listen to an audiobook or music while I’m working. Or nothing. Sometimes it’s nice to just have silence.

What’s the thing you love most about your job/profession/ etc.:
Two things: working from home and having complete creative control. I feel so lucky to be able to work at home, on my sofa with my cat curled up at my feet. What a luxury. And the creative control part – I design and make what I like simply because I like it. The fact that others like it too is just a giant bonus.

Favorite room in your house:
My living room (above). It’s where I spend the majority of my time. It’s comfortable with a giant front window that lets in the light. It's where I knit and where I hang out with my husband. When I think of “home” I picture my living room.

Biggest challenge you’ve faced with your career:
Promoting myself. I am NOT a business person. I am horrendous at schmoozing. I am incredibly shy when it comes to promoting myself and my work. It’s awful.

What brings you joy:
Fall time, road trips, books, and my husband (my favorite person in the world).

Design “rule” you never follow:
I actually never consciously think of any of the design “rules” I learned in school. I just do what I think looks good.

If you could jump back in a time machine, you’d go back to:
I actually wouldn’t go back to far. Early high school years maybe. Then I’d take school much more seriously and work harder so that I could have a chance at going to an Ivy League school in the U.S. Somewhere on the east coast. I would love to have had that experience.

How would you define a “scarlet woman”:
Independent, focused, driven, creative, aspires to impossible perfection.

*Photos courtesy of Beatriz Rempel; portrait photo by Vanessa Voth.

Have a suggestion for a Scarlet Woman?  Email it to ncammorata[at]gmail.com.

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