My name is Robbi, aka Smileybyrd; former college instructor/sociologist, part-time transition coach and foster advocate, and full-time indie artisan/fiber designer. Eager to jump-start my creativity, I wandered into a Jo-Ann store the Summer of 2018 looking for some inspiration. A feeling of calm and giddiness washed over me as I checked out all of the possibilities - some I was familiar with, others looked like they’d be fun to try. The last department I explored was the yarn section. I grabbed a big, red skein of Bernat Blanket yarn and a crochet hook and threw it in my basket. As I ran my hands across several skeins, I remember closing my eyes and returning to my childhood, sitting in a big chair in Mrs. Heard’s apartment (our upstairs neighbor) with rapt attention as she taught me how to crochet. As a teacher she had a knack for connecting with kiddie pops. She let me hang out with her almost everyday after school as a tween. She taught me a variety of fiber arts skills. Around the same time, my mom taught me how to sew.
TEXTAlthough I loved learning them all, sewing made the biggest impression. As I moved into my teens, my broad shoulders and lanky frame with long arms and legs, and large feet made clothes and shoes shopping a nightmare for me and my mom. This was all the incentive I needed to focus on becoming a skilled seamstress; I made and designed most of my wardrobe and even sewed for others. Unfortunately, I slowly allowed life's daily grind in my late 20s to push all of my creativity aside and on the shelf it went. I consider that whim in 2018 the creative smack in the head I needed to dust off those skills and re-engage in what has become my current obsession with fiber arts and my passionate second act. Now, as a fiber artisan biz builder, my intention via Smileybyrd Design is to invoke joy and lift spirits via color-rich fiber designs and whimsical art. I love watching my skills expand and my ideas evolve to match the vision in my head and heart so I can develop a lookbook and establish a creative digital presence. I'm mostly eager to use this platform to conjure smiles and lift spirits - both mine and those who dig my designs and what I’m up to. When I'm not designing or making something fun, I serve as a part-time coach, mentor and advocate for The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative where we serve and support teens and young adults who have or are experiencing foster care or homelessness. This service coupled with my creative endeavors via Smileybyrd Design bring me so much joy and satisfaction. Everyday, I try to capture the ideas dancing in my imagination to transform them into playful, interesting and intriguing designs for folks who truly appreciate the special energy of handmade products for personal enjoyment or to share as gifts with your favorite peeps.I recently launched my Ravelry site and an Amazon Handmade store. My ultimate goal is to step fully into my designer shoes and fill my shops with patterns and pieces that have an offbeat flair, and are fun to wear and gift. Stop by from time to time for a peek at my latest releases. While you’re here, take a peek behind the scenes at my creative studio and learn a little about my design process, below. So cool of you to visit…if you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for my newsbites and subscribe to my YouTube channel.