Little Fish Designs | interview

Self proclaimed Creative Obsessor and “Not Your Normal Girl”, Amy Baas, and I go way back…
Here we are with the founding board of “Women in Leadership”.  Yep, we were entrepreneurs in the 90s as well!  And, yes…. that is faux brick wallpaper with yellow painted cabinets in the background…college living at its best?
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Today Amy lives in a suburb of Minneapolis with her husband (also a Blue Devil) and their three boys. She is a freelance graphic designer and amazing jewelry maker with a style all her own.
A few weeks ago I wrote a spotlight post on her work for another blog Twin Cities Design Collective – we feature the amazing creative talent in and around Minneapolis/St.Paul – I needed to know more about how she came to do this.
Pictures just were not enough.
So…I decided to make her my first interview!
fork place card holders
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Hey Amy! Hey! Hiya!
How did you get started making jewelry? 
I’ve been a lover of vintage junk my entire life.  I grew up in an antique collecting family and spent summer weeks surrounded by cool stuff in my grandparents’  Detroit Lakes flee market.
My grandmother gave me the love for flatware by collecting spoons. My 94 year-old grandpa has kept my love for industrial thing consistent in my life. 
He passed down 2 anvils ~ one that he made out of a railroad tie and the other a 5th generation anvil used by the town blacksmith.
I see everything in a different light – mostly as jewelry.
I started up-cycling vintage jewelry officially some 3 odd years ago when digging through my collection of hardware junk . . . there was this white, chippy cupboard hinge that was just too cool. I love substantial/heavy jewelry, and this felt “good” on my wrist so I strung it with old chain and added bits of fancy across the front (broken earrings & tiny keys) and presented it to the world.

The response was amazing and I was floored! The satisfaction to me is when people see one of my pieces, love it because it’s cool and THEN they see that it’s an old hinge or door plate or drawer pull!

Do you have a signature?
Industrial Chic.
I’m not SUPER girly so I tend to make pieces that have an industrial feel – unusual hardware – rhinestones with huge chain, chandelier crystals with large safety pins, beautiful broaches with cut & bent flatware .
Who are three artists you’d like to be compared to and why.
I’ve been told I’m the Martha Stewart of the biker world – does that count?!  ha!!!
I’m fueled in all flavors of design by following DesignSponge.com & reading Ready Made magazine.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Jewelry designing comes LAST in my life. I’m a mom of 3 boys 10, 7 & 5. I’m a full time freelance graphic designer.
I am also a vintage motorcycle rider! My husband built me a 1939 knucklehead last year and before that I rode a 1958 sportster.
I love motorcycles.
We eat & breath motorcycles in the warm months and my kids think it’s no big deal to be carted around in one of our sidecar bikes – “don’t all kids do this?” 
I’m not a typical girl! I do all my own metal work. I use scary tools like hand grinders, I got a drill press for my bday, I pound on an anvil, I solder & weld.
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What is your dream project?
I would love making statement jewelry for an eclectic bride using her grandmother’s costume jewelry. lots of chunk, lots of flair but all one color . . . I can feel it.
Any designer you would like to use your pieces to style their clothes?   Vera Wang!!!  … Models with big, fluffy layers & corset tops wearing cowboy boots, shot in a forest with chandeliers in the trees or on the beach at dusk, laying on a vintage table with TONS of pillar candles…   
Do you hear that Vera?  HIRE THIS GIRL!  
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Your photo pieces are wonderfully personal. What inspires you? Do you have a favorite piece?  
I can’t pick out just one! I am inspired by coming up with unobvious ideas for things that are obvious!  The pairing of non-related items, the “look twice” pieces… the “OMG, that is such a neat idea!”
MY top 5 Favorite UNOBVIOUS Creations
#1. vintage bathtub couch on wheels
#2. hinge bracelets
#3. beer cuffs
#4. chandelier necklaces
#5. vintage items turned into lighting – ball jars, globes, doorplates . . .
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If you could go back in time and tell your old self one bit of advice concerning design what would you say and why?

“It’s all going to be OK . . . trust yourself & your skills!” Not gonna lie, I was very scared when I plunged from corporate design to SAHM/freelancer. The unknown is s-c-a-r-y and even worse when you’ve got a toddler and a newborn but I trusted my gut and stuck with it. I truly believe if you work hard, things will work out in your favor and sometimes other doors open up that you’re not expecting. Either that, or I’m lucky! Ha!

Fantastic!  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!  I can’t wait to hear more about the signs you and your husband are working on together & to get my “G” necklace on order finally!

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