Bette Brody has been a part of Art Collective since November 2018 and is affectionately known as the shop’s “Artner” and Manager. A self-taught mixed media artist, she became involved with Art Collective after meeting owner Chelsea *Sparks* at Artomatic Frederick, an annual event for artists.
Bette specializes in handcrafted journals and books, paper design, mixed media, and unique jewelry. She did not become a full time artist, however, until she retired from the corporate world.
“A lot of people will say that they have done art their whole lives, but that wasn’t me. I started late and it was all because I wanted to make a book and the paper to go in it, and then one thing led to another...” Bette spent over 30 years working in IT at IBM and it was in corporate meetings where she found her initial inspiration to become an artist later in life.
“When I was working in the professional world and was in conferences or meetings, I would be doodling and designing and think, ‘This would make a cool book cover or jewelry.’
After retiring, Bette found her passion for art. She learned and honed her skills through attending various workshops and art retreats and from getting to know other artists. One of the artists she met had a deep passion for books and book making and eventually became one of her best friends. Since then, Bette’s favorite material to work with has been paper, used to make her handcrafted journals. “If I had to only do one thing, I would probably just do that, though I can’t do just one thing. If I get stuck or am in a stump of what to do, I’ll always fall back and make a journal.”
Bette is open to many different art forms and often mixes different materials together. Combining found objects, antiques, paper, and metal in her artwork gives it a unique appeal. Her art is one of a kind. In addition to her journals, Bette enjoys painting, metalsmithing, resin, jewelry making and more. She loves to find new ways to create art, and has a special fondness for all things rusty and vintage.
With a variety of mediums comes a variety of tools, and Bette has a lot of them, each with their own special purpose and contribution to her work.
“I couldn’t live without my tools, whether they be jewelry making tools, paintbrushes, drills, sanders, or any number of things,” she said, “I even have a t-shirt I bought one time with art friends that says ‘tool whore’ on it.”
In this season of thanksgiving, Bette is grateful for the tools that allow her to create her art and the support and encouragement that she receives from her art friends. From drawing inspiration from them, to collaborating with them, it’s clear that these friendships have made an impact on her art career, though she wouldn’t consider it a job.
“I knew I was never going to make money to support myself being an artist, so I do it for the joy of doing it. If it started to become a job, I would probably quit, all of it,” she said. “As for Art Collective, just being able to have your art on display and being able to sell it and have people appreciate what you have there, that’s always rewarding. It’s rewarding when people come in and even just admire your artwork. It’s rewarding in the sense that people look at it like in an art gallery.” Stop into the shop or set up a virtual shopping appointment to see Bette’s work. You can also find her at www.bettescreations.com or www.instagram.com/bettescreations/.