Guest Post: Kimi Avila
Every so now and then you chance upon something that really takes your breath away – for me, more often than not this is something handmade, carefully crafted and unique. That is exactly what happened when I stumbled across the wonderful Etsy Store Bumble & Birch.
It wasn’t long before I ordered one of the stunning art prints for myself…well, as a gift for my husband on our first wedding anniversary. Our wedding itself was very much a handmade affair, so picking out something that was handcrafted was very important, and you know what? This print didn’t disappoint! If you’ve yet to head over to her store…then you really must! I mean, Valentines day is just around the corner…so, what are you waiting for?
Here’s a round up of my Bumble & Birch faves for Valentines day!
Left to Right:
Custom Wedding Lyrics Heart £15.56 • Woodland Theme Love Never Fails £9.33 • I Love You To The Moon And Back £9.33
Etsy is one of my very favourite places to shop. It’s like a department store of awesome, I can’t actually think of a time where I didn’t find what I was looking for…more often, I usually find something better than I had ever dreamed of! Despite the stores owners of Etsy being scattered the world over, the community spirit is one thing that the store has got nailed! Communication with the sellers is a piece of cake, now not only did I get the perfect wedding anniversary gift that I was searching for (which looks rad on our photo wall!) I also got chatting to the creator of the store, Kimi, and now feel super blessed to call her my friend.
It’s an incredible feeling to find a kindred spirit, and it is always great to meet new folks, so Guest Posting today is the creator of Bumblenbirch, artist, illustrator and all round rad gal, friends, say hi to Kimi Avila!
♥ – ♥ – ♥
Life long love
I have been a maker since as far back as I can remember. Growing up, people knew that if it was creative, I was all over it. Even as a small child, my birthday presents were cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, and art supplies. Interestingly enough, I didn’t take any art classes in school, but whenever I had a project that required craftiness, the teachers would save mine to use as examples for future students! Fast forward 10 years and here I have landed a job as an artist where I have been mentored by my co-worker Elicia Powell, an extremely talented graphic designer, taken classes in traditional sign painting, and am continuously learning and developing through trainings and just the experience of my daily projects. I have found a deep passion for letters; the way they look, the curves, the lines, the diversity…thus my love for handlettering and typography. Add all of that up, and that is where my Etsy shop comes from. I would say my style is a romantic and whimsical marriage of classic and modern. I have a love for both painting and graphic design, so I love to create works that utilize both.
I create the things I love. Scripture I have on my heart, quotes that I need as daily reminders, illustrations of my favorite things. It is such a joy to know that I can share the word of God, inspiration, motivation, or just something lovely to fill other peoples homes. I know that for me, in my life…art is something that I need, and I am so humbled to know that I can meet that need for other people.
My most special piece of work is a painting of my Nonnie that hangs in a very special house that she bought for her four kids before she passed. This house sits in what used to be an Italian fishing village (where she was born and raised) in the delta here in California. My roots are there, my heritage. We spent every summer of our childhood there, just like my mom spent her childhood summers there; fishing and catching lizards and harvesting blackberries on the levy. I learned to drive there and we spent afternoons digging up artifacts from the early 1900s. The house of my great great grandparents, Luigi and Katie, is there. And, in the handful of houses that still stand in that ghost town, one of them will always belong to us, with Nonnie’s painting forever on the wall.
Making it work
I work full-time outside of the home, but my ultimate goal is to be able to be a stay-at-home mom, work freelance and run Bumble & Birch, so I have become very dedicated and have been working hard to make that a reality for myself and my family. My working process and routine really depends on what I’m working on, how much time I have, and for what purpose the project is being made. At work, we are all about production and pumping things out fast, so I will usually sketch out a small thumbnail of my chalkboards and then crank them out really fast, and when designing I just rework things as I go. When I’m at home and working on my Etsy shop, the only time I have is in between house chores while my son Jude is napping…which will usually end up being about 5-6 hours a week. That being said, usually my prints that I sell could have taken up to a month to design! Now, for commissions, it is a different story all together! I take client work very seriously, I find ways to make the extra time -staying up late and waking up early- so that I can make sure to spend quality time as well as get my client their project to them as fast as possible. I love working on commissions! The challenge of creating a project that will make my client happy while also remaining true to myself is what it’s all about. I can do anything from branding and logos, to custom invitations, portraits, or quotes.
I find inspiration in so many ways and at so many different times, that I really just have a ‘strike when the iron is hot’ outlook on my routine. I carry a sketchbook or take notes (on my iPhone or iPad) wherever I am. This way I won’t forget any ideas! From there, I will write out a list of words that describe what I am working on. For example, if I have the quote “Whistle while you work” I will break it down by word, and describe each word…whistle- song, sound, musical, whimsical, happy…Work- industrial, hard, heavy, 9 to 5, clock, and so on. Then, I’ll decide which words to use, and create a mood board with pictures that help to inspire the final project. From there- sketch, sketch, sketch. With paintings, I pull inspiration from life from photos, from experience, from imagination- then sketch, sketch sketch! When I’m happy with a layout, I just go for it, either painting it or scanning into my computer to digitize! After that, I display it somewhere I will see it daily, and I enjoy it!
Every project brings it’s own special challenges, but learning new things along the way is the best, and by doing commissions, I am giving myself the best gift, constant growth and evolution as an artist.
♥ – ♥ – ♥
Despite a huge expanse of ocean between us, Kimi and I have had our heads together and have been working on something pretty hot-damn awesome…so, watch this space, my friends, watch this space!