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Featured Artist: Amy Urato of Bohemia Fibers

by The SpinArtiste on April 13, 2011

Our Featured Artist this week is Amy Urato of funky, artistic, and creative, Bohemia Fibers.

Without further ado, presenting the Spin Artiste interview with Amy…

Spin Artiste (SA): Amy, let’s start with getting a feel for your approach to your work.

Amy: Our business approach is pretty simple. Provide beautiful fiber, at fair prices affordable to everyone. Treat every customer as if they have a vested interest in the business and foster the Indie community in as many ways as we can.

SA: Your approach really seems to come from a place of great integrity…what was your journey like that got you where you are today?

Amy: When I first started working with fiber, I constantly doubted myself when I created my batts and my yarns in non-traditional ways. I didn’t think people would want batts that were both and bright, and full of texture. I naturally gravitated to the use of bold color, and I spun my yarns every which way that could possibly fit through the orifice of my Kiwi Wheel.

I didn’t think people would really like my use of color in my work. I was creating fiber that was different and I felt they would think my spinning was a bit crazy. I wasn’t sure they would understand the feeling I was conveying through my work.

Today, I’ve learned to really step to the beat of my own drum and I let the fibers I work with become what they will.

SA: Your passion for what you do really comes through in how your describe your journey — what is it about working with fiber, in particular, that fuels this passion?

Amy: I love fiber and the ability I have to create tactile “paintings” of my thoughts. I use my fiber to bring my thoughts and my dreams into something tangible. Every day I’m inspired by something I’ve seen or experienced and I can’t wait to transpose that into whatever it is that I’m working with — Whether it be dyeing the yarns or fiber or working on carding them or spinning them into yarn, there’s always something moving from myself into what I create, and that really satisfies the artist in me.

SA: So, let’s take that a step further — Which materials do you find yourself drawn to working with and why?

Amy: I love the variety of non-traditional fiber that’s available on the market today. Recycled plastic, and chitin fiber, for example, just amaze me. I mean, who would have thought that these fibers would be available to us today? Using more non-traditional fiber in my work is something I’m looking forward to exploring in depth in the near future.

I love working with raw fleece from small flocks as well as using commercially prepared top. I prefer to work with undyed fiber, because it allows me to create my own palette of customer colors with which to work.

My very favorite fiber to work with is silk. I love it for its natural sheen and the way that it just displays the vibrancy of the dyes so well.

SA: I’m a really equipment-geek, so I’m curious to know what you use and why?

Amy: I use an Ashford Kiwi wheel, and I love it for its simplicity and its ability to make any type of yarn for me from lace weight to funky art yarns. It was purchased as a “beginner” wheel for myself and the price was great. I’ve looked at other more expensive wheels, but the Kiwi does what I need it to do and for right now, I can’t see myself needing any other wheel. I’ve custom painted and decorated my wheel with dragonflies and she feels like an extension of me — I could never part with her.

I do my carding on a Fancy Kitten 90/120 drum carder. I love my Kitten carder. It’s a work horse, completely hand-made and the quality of the work is outstanding. It can handle a variety of fiber from very fine luxury fiber to crazy art fiber add ins.

I also use an ancient pair of hand carders I was gifted with years ago, from a very kind lady that gave them to me. I use them occasionally to pick and card smaller amounts of fiber when the mood hits. I don’t use them often but they’re sure handy to have.

SA: What is the inspiration for your work?

Amy: Nature has always been my biggest creative inspiration; from color to design. Some will say Nature has its imperfections, and I suppose that’s true, but those imperfections have so much beauty of their own. Emotions do drive a lot of my work also. I create fiber from the reflection of my moods, and I try to embody that in my colorways when I use my drum carder to “paint” with fiber.

I create to feed my soul and that brings me so much personal satisfaction in my work.

SA: Your work and your life seem to be in great alignment — What’s on the horizon in the future?

Amy: I want to acquire more wholesale accounts this year, and we’re expanding the line of yarns to include additional bases for the standard weights of yarns we carry. We’re growing the business slowly and we have quite a dedicated following of customers and for that we’re very grateful. We’re bringing in more undyed fiber options for the Indie dyers and we have a few new projects up our sleeves for this year.

SA: Let’s get a little more personal — tell us, where do you find happiness in your life?

Amy: I think happiness is so subjective. What makes me happy is knowing I have a family that’s healthy and happy, and I’m so blessed to be able to help support the family with my fiber creations. We live a very simple life, and we like it that way. We don’t get wrapped up in material items and we’re hoping to downsize a bit when our son is grown and out on his own. That we we can concentrate on traveling and doing some of the things we’re not able to do right now.

SA: I have a couple of questions to ask you that I love to ask — starting with who are your heroes in real life?

Amy: My fiance and business parter, Eric, is one of my heroes. He isn’t afraid of anything. It’s amazing and he is so willing to take chances. He’s done so much for me, and he’s helped me to grow in so many ways. Without his encouragement in everything I do, I don’t feel I’d be where I am today. He truly believes in me.

My other hero is my son, Dante. He’s my “miracle” child, and came at a time in my life when I never though I’d experience parenthood. I am so lucky to have had this incredible gift of another human being given to me. He’s always happy, very empathetic and gentle and incredibly smart. I can see the man he’ll become some day and he makes me so proud to say he’s my son.

SA: Ok, we’re coming down to just a couple more questions. Tell us something about yourself that people might be surprised to know.

Amy: I think most people would be surprised to know that I wanted to be a forensic pathologist when I was younger.

SA: Wow! I didn’t even know what a forensic pathologist was when I was younger — Alright, onto the last question: What is your motto?

Amy: “Believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see.”

It was wonderful getting to know Amy & Bohemia Fibers better! If you’d like more information on where to see more of and purchase her work, check out her Artfire store.

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