I came across Hillery Sproatt’s lovely wares at the 2011 Pile of Craft in Baltimore this past June. I was just so enamored with her double-sided soft dolls and her soft sculpture mobiles. I decided then to interview Hillery for my Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx interview series.
Specks & Keepings is the name of Hillery’s shop where, in addition to her soft sculpture prints and drawings, she also features the work of other artists who are all just a perfect complement to her own goodies. It’s a lovely place…be sure to visit after reading my interview with Hillery below.
What’s the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get your start?
Specks & Keepings is an online shop that specializes in handmade objects and design. It is a showcase of thoughtfully made goods that aim to inspire a simple lifestyle that is carefully shaped and chosen. The shop currently features the work of seven artists from all over the country, including myself. I make prints, drawings, and embroidered dolls & mobiles. I have been making things for as long as I can remember and I received my BFA in fine art in 2007.
Share something silly about yourself.
I am a bit clumsy and I am scared of almost everything, especially of tripping on the stairs.
What three things would you want to be able to have if you were on a deserted island? Beyond the basics of survival.
I would want my family (for good company), my dog (I think she could help me hunt) and my granola.
Were you an arty craftsy kid? What other types of crafty stuff did you do?
I was always making small dolls and books when I was young. My mom is a clothing designer, so I grew up in a house filled with textiles and other ongoing art projects. It was a very inspiring environment.
What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
I love when people find a special place in their homes for my work. The downside is that I haven’t a business background and have yet to master how exactly I use my skills to make a living. With that said, I work part-time as a nanny and love that work as well.
Is your home messy or organized? Which one do you think is ideal and why?
I think my home is mostly organized. It helps me focus and relax when I can see what it is I am doing.
When did you get your start and what made you decide to take the plunge?
I worked with my mom designing, producing and selling her wonderful women’s apparel, Rebe, since I was fifteen. I think it was through working with my mom and helping her grow her business that I decided to start Specks & Keepings.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment so far?
This is a hard question as I feel as though a lot has been accomplished since Specks & Keepings first launched in April 2011. I think I get the most joy whenever I get a customer who is so excited to have stumbled upon beautiful things made by the hands of another. It is a wonderful feeling to make something that brings someone else happiness.
Share 3 things that you are crushing on right now from other indie artists/crafters/designers.
1. I love Elizabeth Rayman Yong’s collection of handmade knit sweaters, Primoeza.
2. I am always taken with Renilde De Peuter’s embroidered works and mobiles.
3. I think Annie Larson’s knit works are fantastically playful and inviting. I would love a sweater.
Of course, there are lots more things being made that inspire me. For updates about the shop, new works and other artists that excite me, visit my blog.