ABOUT THE ARTIST
Name, and company name:
Betsey Ashley with Betseybrite Designs
Type of art you create and medium used:
I suppose the best way to describe myself is as a Textile Artist, as my favorite mediums are fabric and thread. Although many of my pieces include mixed mediums, the needle and thread have always been my favorite “brush” ever since my grandma taught me how to sew doll clothes when I was 5 years old.
What inspires you and your designs?
I am most inspired by other people’s delight in giving, and their love and passion for whatever it is they have asked me to design. Every person is different and I love the challenge of bringing to life a piece that I may never have thought of to create on my own. Custom designs allow me to stretch and grow in my work, and is an almost inexhaustible source of inspiration!
To date, what was one of your favorite projects you worked on and why?
I had the honor of being a part of the first ever Pride Parade and Festival on Kaua’i in 2019, and again this year for Pride Online. Both years I created a Pride line of hats and patches to fundraise and support that awesome and important event that fights for, and celebrates, my LGBTQ+ Community.
Can you describe your process?
The most important part of the process, for me, is in the very beginning. For custom orders I do my best to ask questions and get a “sense” of what the person wants and what is getting them excited about the piece. If it’s a landscape or house portrait I do some research about the surrounding area...local wildflowers and plants, how the sky looks, etc. I usually spend quite a bit of time gathering information, research, and my own creative ideas all together until the design begins to shape itself inside of my head. Finally, it all just swirls around until it hits me in just the right place and I can begin! From there I lightly and roughly sketch the design onto the fabric and get the foundational paint down. I could not tell you what happens, really, between that time and the finished piece. There just comes a point in every creation when I know it’s just Done.
How long does it take you to create a custom piece?
This is a difficult question, as every single piece is unique and includes different elements. Typically I let people know that something like a custom hand stitched hat will take approximately two weeks. However, a hand stitched house portrait may take more like 3 weeks, and a zippered pouch 3 days to 3 hours!
Has living in Hawaii influenced your art or style in any way?
I live on one of the most beautiful islands in the world and there is no doubt the influence this has made on my work. While living on Kaua’i my creativity has grown and deepened beyond what I could have ever imagined. My heart has always belonged to the Sea and the Shore, and although I was not born and raised here and cannot call this Island my home, I am honored and humbled to serve and love this community in all the ways I am able. My art now is a reflection of all that I am learning here.
Who is your artist/style icon?
Both my mom and my grandma are my artistic and style icons. I grew up surrounded by strong women who sewed clothes for my sister’s and I, put on weddings, baby showers, countless events and celebrations and did it all while raising children and working (more than) full time. Their ability to create amazing Something from almost Nothing, combined with their resiliency, strength, and creativity make them not just icons, but also my Heroes.
And a personal fun question: What are you listening to/reading/watching these days?
At the moment I’m reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, watching Love on the Spectrum. I especially love listening to podcasts while stitching and my current laugh-out-loud staples are Go Bayside, Do You Need a Ride?, and My Dad Wrote a Porno.
Go check out her amazing work at: