Melissa Frueh of Sqrl Bee Studios





What are you currently working on?

Mobiles! And baby rattles but mostly mobiles. I started making them just to see what I would come up with and see how people would respond and it was overwhelming so I keep making them. I’ve been messing around with all kinds of mobiles for years now – our house is covered in my experiments. And people have been telling me to take it more seriously. So I guess I am.

Are you currently exhibiting your work? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

Nope not really. I have a bunch of mobiles in a shop in Reading Pa – Hello Blue Bird – http://www.hellobluebird.net. I want to do more though. Making takes so much time and I run my own graphic design studio so this doesn’t leave too much time for finding places to exhibit – but I do want to, it’s on the To Do List.

If you had the time and resources to segue into another medium/ or art project, what do you think it might be?

Oh I would love to work with a different medium for mobiles. I would love to work again in clay – that’s where I started out artistically. Or some kind of flat medium that’s not fabric – I haven’t figured this out yet.

Do you have any non art interests you’d like to discuss?

Well I’m a graphic designer as well as a fiber artist. It’s more of a day job but I do like it. I LOVE designing custom event work like weddings and announcements. I love being a part of that process, it’s so fun.

How would you define your visual style?

Let’s see maybe colorful, folk art, primitive, organic, natural, simple.

What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around?

Well it has a lot to do with what the fiber will allow. But usually for me a lot has to do with color. I’ve always been obsessed with color so for me everything starts there.

What’s your background?

My background? Well I didn’t go to school for art if that’s what you mean. I got my degree in Nutrition believe it or not. And I loved it and still do. My artistic background probably starts with the usual kid crafts that my Mom would bring home so she didn’t have to hear “I’m bored.” Then I discovered clay in High school and was hooked. I stuck with that for years – finding open studios to work in. Then after I got married and moved to LA I worked for my Mother-in-Law doing decorative painting in huge expensive Hollywood houses (yes for many famous people) and she was the first person to say I was an “artist.” She gave me a lot of responsibility and with that a lot of confidence. And then I was given a sewing machine (and couldn’t sew a straight line to save my life) and discovered fiber…..So that’s my background, pretty much.

What do you think of the Philly art scene? Are you involved with any groups or organizations?

Oh my, I’m so not very socially active. I get SO obsessed with my work I lose whole weeks it feels like. My husband is the same way and that doesn’t help the situation much. It’s hard to choose an event over my work. But I’m part of Handmade Philly and try to attend craft/art shows in the area.

What are you currently reading?

Lots of child development books since we’re about to have our first baby in July.

The Creative Family – http://www.soulemama.com/the_creative_family/ which is a fun book to read. I’m a big novel reader though. I love good fantasy and suspense. But haven’t had the time lately to find anything good. Any suggestions?!

Music you like:

OMG really… It’s endless and always changing. My most favoritest band is Hem. I love, love them so much. But I huge fan of Bobby McFerrin, Miles Davis – Kind of Blue, Paul Simon, Harry Nilsson, Fiona Apple and Nick Drake. I’m loving some new stuff right now as well like Nellie McKay, Meaghan Smith and Brandi Carlile. There’s a ton but this is what comes to mind right now.

What are some of your interests?

Wow really!? Like any interests? Where do I start…. Well holistic nutrition and herbs are always happening around here – making skin creams and salves, mixing herbs for healing teas, keeping us healthy. Together we are working on a gallery piece – interactive show with my creatures and Andrew’s (husband) kinetic-ness – it’s starting to be about the quite, shyness of nature – that’s all I can say about that. Sewing, felting, stitching, designing, gardening (I LOVE my garden). The problem is I don’t have enough time in the day to get it all done.

Favorite comic strips/ comic books/ graphic novels?

Nope not really. Though I am an anime fan. I mean I’m certainly a novice but I love me some Cowboy Bebop and Escaflowne.

Favorite visual artists?

Oh wow, well it would start with Van Gough of course. And then I just have always loved Remedios Varo. She is amazing. I love the Art Nouveau movement so much. I also love children’s book illustrations like Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar. There are two clothing designers that I’m loving so much right now – Elizabeth Dye – http://elizabethdye.blogspot.com/ and Alabama Chanin – http://alabamachanin.com/

Favorite movies?

Another long list, but this one’s easy ’cause I’ve already listed them on my blog. I’ll give you both of our lists and no order.

Sqrl’s list::

Amelie (or – Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain)

Chocolat

Labyrinth

The Neverending Story

When Harry Met Sally

16 Candles

Muppet’s Take Manhattan

Science of Sleep

Penelope

Much Ado About Nothing

Bee’s List::

Baron Munchausen

Time Bandits

Punk Drunk Love

Brazil

Raising Arizona

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The Dark Crystal

Science of Sleep

Back to the Future (the whole thing)

Twice Upon a Time

Fantastic Planet

…and I believe Star Dust and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus would be on our updated lists.

Favorite websites?

Here are a couple, mostly blogs::

Food::

101 Cookbooks – http://www.101cookbooks.com/

Simply Recipes – http://simplyrecipes.com/

Homesick Texan – http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/

Crafty/Art/ Photo/Family::

Soule Mama – http://www.soulemama.com/

Lucky Beans – http://www.luckybeans.typepad.com/

Anne Wood – http://annwood.net/blog/

Sweet, sweet life – http://www.sweetsweetlife.typepad.com/

Kiss the Groom – http://www.kissthegroom.com/

Elizabeth Dye – http://elizabethdye.blogspot.com/

If someone were to come to your town/ city to visit, what places/ bars/ parks/ events etc should they be sure to check out?

Well let’s see… I’m a big fan of driving around on windy roads and taking random turns and finding random places to stop. Like River Rd North of New Hope there’s so much good stuff to find there. I love tubing on the Delaware (same area) and stopping at Dilly’s Corner for some Fries. Artistically speaking it’s not a bad area to find lots of artists as well. I love trying out new Farmers Markets and farm stands. In the summer we get almost everything from local farms. I LOVE Owowcow – it’s a local ice cream shop that gets it’s ingredients locally and makes all their ice cream in small batches – it’s out of this world. I LOVE food so a lot of our outings would have a lot to do with finding local, small, natural food places.

Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?

I feel like I covered everything. Except to emphasize my LOVE for doing custom event design for anyone who would be reading this and is about to get married or have a baby.

Your website(s):

Shop::http://www.etsy.com/shop/sqrlbee

Blog::http://sqrlbee.blogspot.com/

Graphic Design::http://sqrlbee.com/

Portfolio::http://melissafrueh.com/

Felties::http://sqrlbee.com/felties/shop/

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