The California Crafters Club of Etsy (CCCOE) is a group of independent artists, crafters, & artisans from California who sell their wares on Etsy.com.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Artist Profile - the BackLoop



Is it spring where you are yet? Alas it isn't ALWAYS sunny in California but hopefully this next profile will bring you a bit of sunshine. Let me present ME! A few people have sent me a message wondering about the person behind the questions for the monthly profiles and - since I have no other profiles in the queue I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself, Julia Akpan, designer and owner at the BackLoop.

Describe your shop.
The BackLoop is simple, beautiful and handmade.  Everything in my shop is hand crocheted and/or knit by me.  Spring is coming up so I'm working on posting more necklaces, earrings, and lightweight spring scarves but what's taking up most of my production time is making prototypes for my new wedding line - lightweight shawls for spring weddings, thicker ones for those winter, bridesmaids accessories, groomsmen hand crocheted ties, hanging garlands for photo booth backdrops -- all customizable.  I'm super excited! 

When did you learn to do what you do? 
My mom taught me to crochet when I was 8 or 9. It was just before a flight to visit relatives back in Chicago.  I made the longest scarf ever on that plane ride!  I taught myself to knit just after my son was born (he's 4 1/2 now). I used one of those Klutz books you find in the kids section of the book store.  I quickly became the resident yarn instructor among friends and colleagues. Having the responsibility of teaching someone else can be one of the best motivations to learn your craft even better than you thought you could.

What are your favorite pieces to make? My giant rose brooches and long spiral earrings.  I like accessories with personality. I like working with really thick yarn and huge hooks...or yarn so thin you could sew with it.

 














What inspires you? I like mixing the feel of vintage patterns with modern lines and colors. I love soft, cozy, and fluffy everything. I adore Japanese craft books.  

What does your work space look like?I treated myself to a trip to Ikea for Christmas and got a bookshelf and these drawers I've been fawning over for a year or so. Now all of my yarn is (mostly) tucked away. But the area where I do most of my work is the left corner of the couch.
(that's my sister)
Where would you like your shop to be 5 years from now? 
I'd like to be selling regularly and often to people outside of my immediate friends and family! I want to be a go to spot for brides who want handmade accents in their wedding but don't have the time or the skill to actually use their own hands. I'd like the BackLoop to be associated with a place to find the perfect gift. In 10 years I'd like to have a small brick and mortar shop that sells my merchandise but mainly that of other local artists and doubles as a handmade learning center of sorts with small DIY craft workshops in the back room.

How do you spend your time when you're not creating? Well, I have two kids (4 1/2 and 2), a husband, and a house with about 1/3rd acre of yard to take care of so I stay pretty busy. I also work as an editor in the publishing world. 

(these two test all prototypes for durability...and enjoy string cheese)

What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast? My breakfast is usually one of two things: fruit and granola with a splash of soy milk OR 1 fried egg on a piece of jalepeno cheddar corn bread; either of those, plus a mug of green tea.
 
Where else can we find your work? I have my own little corner of the web at www.thebackloop.com and, if you're in the SF Bay Area, you can find many of my items at Modern Mouse in Alameda.


Where can we learn more about you?
Etsy: www.backloop.etsy.com
Blog/shop: www.thebackloop.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/thebackloop/  Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/thebackloop 
Twitter: @thebkloop


If you're interested in being profiled, just contact Julia A. This post contributed by Julia A. of the BackLoop

9 comments:

  1. I was taught to knit and learned crochet on my own. And now I want a pair of those spiral earrings...

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  2. Lovely article. I love getting a peek at the artist behind the shop :)

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  3. Julia it was great reading about you and getting to know you better. You do beautiful work :) Thanks for all you do. Nan

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  4. Such a wonderful interview. I'm in love with your huge flower brooch!!!

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  5. Love your work, Julia!! And, I know your stuff is popular at Modern Mouse! See you there!

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  6. Spring has sprung ~ LOVE the pretty pink flower garland!

    . . . and your *prototype testers* are quite adorable! ❤

    Wonderful self~feature! ✿

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  7. I so enjoyed reading your story and getting to know you. Your work is beautiful :)

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  8. Love the crochet! SO fun finding out about our teammates.

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