Friday Interview, Happy Owl Glassworks January 14, 2011 11:52

Happy Friday, everyone! This week I'd like to introduce you to Tracy Bull, the creative force behind Happy Owl Glassworks.I'm sure many of you will recognize Tracy's work and will enjoy learning more about Tracy. Have a great week, everyone!

When did you start your handmade business?
2003, in Los Angeles, California 

Describe your studio for us.
I rent a space, which is part of a larger, shared space in West Concord, MA. I love my studio, and over time it has become a place where so many thing have piled up--I've been in it for five years, and it's fun to see the history of Happy Owl through its old products and ideas. It has lovely window light, and a new roommate just moved in, so I'm anxious to meet her!

Some of our readers may recognize you from the documentary Handmade Nation. How did you become involved in that project, and what was it like?
I met Faythe (the founder/idea-lady behind the film/book) in 2004 at Renegade. We developed a friendship after doing numerous shows together, including her own hometown show Art vs. Craft. I was thrilled when she asked me to be a part of it Handmade Nation. It was super fun to be filmed and see Happy Owl in print! She is incredibly supportive and I am constantly inspired by her ambition, travels, and energy.

You have a background in both glass and graphic design, how does your work combine those two disciplines?
I studied glass in college, and glassblowing was really the name of the game for most of my classmates. I thought it would be my calling as well, but when I was introduced to kilnformed glass (fusing) I really felt like it was more my style. I had an associates degree in graphic design/illustration, so at that time I naturally worked "flat". I was very into the slow, planned way of working, whereas glassblowing is a very fast-paced way of working. Post-college, I incorporated my illustration work into the glass, and I've been adding to the line ever since.

What are your favorite tools for getting the word out about your business?
Not so good at this part of my business... I read blogs, try to keep in touch with people, and, occasionally, send out items to press. I also read posts from people/blogs who have advice on how to market a handmade businesses. :) I've actually become quite bad at it lately, since I had two kids they take up the bulk of my time. My main form of marketing is doing shows and meeting people, word-of-mouth.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to take their crafting from hobby to business?
Be patient. Let the transformation happen slowly so that you know that it's really something you want to do.

When did you first become involved in Craftland?
I think it was 2005, but maybe it was 2006. I've always had a good experience and I finally got to visit last year! It is such a beautiful store (not to flatter or anything...).

Guilty Pleasure?
So many, from strong beer to "I Shouldn't Be Alive" to Salt and Vinegar potato chips. I have a pretty long list but I'll leave you with those not-so-terrible three. :)