I started my blog Art Bar in 2012 as a place where I could document all the artsy things we were doing at home. My children at the time were 11, 8, and 5, and within two years they all seemed to be too busy to sit down and make art anymore. I had missed the window with my own children, but I decided this was my chance to become an art teacher to other children - something I had always dreamed about. I posted flyers in town and started teaching classes out of my living room.
Seven years and many art classes and art camps later, I have a thriving blog with over 160k page views per month. I have grown my Instagram to 50k followers, and my Facebook page has 150k likes. I’ve written two books, and my first book has been published in four other languages.
My teen daughters now work at my art camps, and my brand is growing every day as I continue to find ways to spread my love of process art and handmade goodness.
I opened my Etsy shop in 2017 as a way to expand my brand and explore the world of products. I began with hand-dyed and hand-printed t-shirts, then slowly added some curated beads and jars of art supplies. Once my Artsy Emojis app came out, I created clipart packages for designers. Recently I added art kits, which sold out in one day!
My dream is to design a line of art supplies for kids and sell them in Target. The line would center around color - gorgeous tertiary colors - and encompass non-toxic tempera paints, oil pastels, and watercolors, as well as pony beads, pom-poms, yarn, and art kits that are open-ended so parents don’t have to tear their hair out trying to help their 4yr-old make something. All packaging would be bio-degradable and/or able to be repurposed.
My first book, Art Workshop for Children, was published in 2016 by Quarto. It features 25 open-ended art projects for children, and focuses on the importance for children to freely experiment with materials and explore their creativity without limitations. There are sections on how to set up your art area, which art supplies to buy, and how to display your child’s art. There are also essays written by my friend and Reggio educator, Betsy McKenna, which are incredibly valuable and rich in both parenting and teacher advice.
My second book, Cardboard Creations, was published in 2018 by The Innovation Press. Featuring 20 sustainable art projects using cardboard and other recycled materials, this book continues with my mission of providing parents and teachers with simple creative invitations that stretch a child’s imagination and builds their confidence. No fancy art supplies needed! Just stuff from around the house, a designated art space, and some time.
I’ve always wished that the emojis that come with the iPhone included more whimsical and artistic ones so that I could fully express myself. I decided I needed to fill that gap myself. Making an app, however, proved to be way more challenging that I thought. At the time I created these emojis, Apple did not allow you to create a keyboard (maybe things have changed). So Arsty Emojis is actually a sticker app. You can use them when texting, drag them up to use as stickers on texts, or use them as stickers on photos, which I call “photobombing”.
Artsy Emojis is a collaboration between me and illustrator Bee Brown. The emojis have been so popular, I decided to also sell them as clipart in my Etsy shop.
Read all about Artsy Emojis and how the app works, and download them on the App Store.
I’ve always been obsessing over fonts and typography. All graphic designers must. Finding that balance of color, shape, size, and space is more than an obsession, actually. It’s more of a calling. Something I have to do.
I Just Like to Smile // hand cut lettering and handmade rubber stamps, free printable
My main Instagram account is @artbarblog, but last year I started a second account called @100daysofArtBar. This new account is dedicated to posting 100 art prompts that are easy to set up, use materials that are on hand, and allow children to just explore and create whatever they want without any worry about making something right or wrong.
Someday, I hope to make a book with all of these art prompts and complete my trilogy of open-ended, creative ideas for children.
I went to school for fine arts, with a focus on textile design and printmaking. I never imagined back then that someday I would be using computer software as a creative tool.
In school, I learned about color, line, shape, texture, space, proportion, and the all-important balance. These elements of art helped form my design sensibilities.
I started my graphic design business, B. Rucci Studio, in 1998, the year before my first daughter was born, and ran it for 13 years out of my home studio. I loved each and every challenge, and was able to develop a vast portfolio of work which included logos and business identities, stationery, invitations, and retail branding.
At the heart of everything that I do, I am motivated by design. From making a simple flyer to creating logos for my businesses to designing both of my books, I use my graphic design intuition every day.
I started my postcard company, Late Night Cake, out of necessity. I wanted to make my annual holiday card-sending operation a little bit easier, cheaper, and not as wasteful. Out with the envelopes, in with the postcard stamps. In order to get bulk pricing, I had to place A LOT of postcard orders all year long. So hey, why not start a company?
I loved building this brand. I made two movies (see them here and here on Vimeo) that fueled my movie-making passion. Orders came in, but mostly during the holidays. I ultimately shuttered the company after three seasons because I either had to do that or take it to the next level. And at the time I was starting my blog which felt like a more creative path.
I still have a rack of my patterned postcards in the front hall of my home (yes I do!) and my friends buy them when they come over.
The idea for my quilting company, Tender Threads, came to me in the summer of 2008 as I was putting my son's outgrown clothes into box that would be stacked in the basement. There were memories in these little clothes and I hated that I wouldn’t see them again. It struck me, why not create a quilt from them? A keepsake that was not only useful and beautiful, but that also told a story. I made my son a quilt, and Tender Threads was born.
Over the years, I made keepsake quilts from the well-loved clothing of children, dads, moms, grandmas, and grandpas. The most rewarding part for me was the final piece, with all its colors, textures, and love. Lots and lots of love.