Friday, October 14, 2011

Artist Interview - Heather Graef of Gstudio

The moment we've all been waiting for has arrived... Please be sure to stop by and say hello! Shop a little, have a snack and tour around to some spectacular open studios. Marin Handmade will feature twelve North Bay artists, most of whom you have been reading about for the past several days. 

Join us today, 3-8pm at Art Works Downtown, 1337 4th Street in San Rafael in conjunction with 2nd Fridays Artwalk.

Today's featured artist is none other than one of our talented organizers, Heather Graef of Gstudio ( Heather's eye for unique textiles and mix of classic and modern design is sure to convince you to get yet another handbag to add to your collection. Enjoy the interview!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My early years were spent within toddling distance of Venice Beach, before my family moved to the Bay Area, and I grew up in San Anselmo and Woodacre. I studied industrial and graphic design at CCA in San Francisco, and have worked as a freelance graphic designer for over 20 years.

What kind of artist are you, and what first drew you to that particular medium?
I’ve created everything from logos to interpretive exhibit graphics programs for major natural history exhibits in the United States. With many wonderful projects behind me I found myself on a quest for other ways to expand my creativity while taking full advantage of my experience in the design field. Using a sewing machine had always been tedious, until recently challenging myself to sew a handbag—and lets be real, it was on the ugly side—but I was intrigued. Several more odd creations lead to my “Mio” bag design, and since then I have worked on honing my craft and creating a collection. I also dabble in jewelry making. 

Please describe your creative process.
Lots and lots of thumbnail sketches, funny little mockups made with paper and staples… After developing a concept, I fabricate the prototype, rebuilding with different materials before going to my computer to create a final pattern for reproduction. I love hunting for unique fabrics and materials and often create one of a kind work, along with my regular designs.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Illustrations, paintings, pottery and jewelry made by my incredibly talented family of artists.

What is it about living in the North Bay that most inspires your creativity?
Country roads, beaches, fresh baked bread, fog spilling over the headlands, the city… My work is directly inspired by the North Bay’s urban-country culture and kick back attitude.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I feel I have found my groove and style making bags and accessories using unique, available materials. I would love to be working with my own fabric designs and exploring the world of home d├ęcor and apparel in the future.


  1. I would like to thank our other organizer for this show, Jen Spilly, for collecting and posting these great interviews on the blog this month!

  2. Thank you, Heather! If you hadn't been doing nearly everything else, I would never have been able to deal with the interviews. :-)