Creative Women Interview Series - Featuring Amy Reber!

The Creative Women Interview Series began as a way to share stories of creative womenentrepreneurs.

I'm happy to introduce you to Amy Reber!  I had the pleasure of meeting Amy last June in New York during Surtex.  I didn't know anyone at this event.  I went solo and expected that I would observe, take notes and meet whomever I was destined to connect with.  

Amy was someone who I met on my last night, during a fun networking event held by Ideaologie.  After meeting late into the event, we walked blocks and blocks back to our hotel and didn't stop chatting.  We've stayed connected thanks to social media and messaging!  I'm constantly inspired by this woman who is a self taught designer, mother of 3 who never stops creating and sharing new pattern designs and who has a real love and flair for retro colour palettes and designs!

I hope you enjoy this interview and I am pleased to introduce you to Amy!

Amy Reber, Designer featured on life i design's Creative Women Series.

Please meet Amy Reber based in Virginia, USA

How long have you been a surface and textile designer:  2 Years

Tells us a little bit about you! I am the wife of a US Marine and a stay at home mom to three young kids. I feel like my business has organically evolved into surface and textile design. I never set out to start a “business”, let alone surface and textile design – I began doing cut paper collage/drawing, etc work about six years ago, it was purely a creative outlet for me….my mind was craving something to keep itself busy that was just for ME ….I was plenty busy with kid stuff!  I tend to be an anxious person, and my mind will keep itself busy with anxiety if I don’t have an outlet like this.  It was such a gift when the art produced more positive thinking/feelings and the anxious thoughts became less and less.  I had a husband deploying on a regular basis leaving me alone to parent, away from family.  It was then that I felt the desire to share my art with others.  It was never my goal to make money, or even sell items….total bonus that that began happening.  I wanted to share to connect with others that found joy when looking at what I was creating.  People were telling me how much they liked following my “journey” and I still get that comment often. It was a way of connecting with like-minded people in a way…..Facebook became (and still is) a very comforting place where I can share my art and love of color and pattern. I began doing ink drawings because it was portable, I could be drawing while the kids played outside.  I began selling those simple ink drawings. on FB (lot so custom orders, baby gifts, family trees, etc) However,  I realized I was also creating things that I thought would look good ON things, subsequently figuring out how to repeat designs, and then realizing I could possibly produce art that would be available to a large population, my desire to make a go of the business side of things grew. This was about a year and a half ago.  My youngest started kindergarten in 2014, all three kids were going to be in school and I thought okay, I’m going to do this.  I started submitting desi­gns wherever I could, really getting my website ready for sharing, entering competitions, learning more and more about Illustrator etc.  A Bolder Band head band ad  came across my fb feed.  I sent them a link to my website and within a few days I was talking to the owner about selling designs to them.  I thought “What?!  Somebody actually wants to purchase designs for their product?!”  I was floored, thinking wow I could actually turn this into a real business and the fire continues to burn!  I’ve had some great successes on top of Bolder Band in the last year which has been wonderful validation for what I’m putting out there.  I’m on a mission now!

Surface Design by Amy Reber featured on life i design's Creative Women Series.

What is your favourite part of your art-form?  Depends on the time of day!  I love to do the actual drawing, pencil to paper in the afternoons and then in the evenings I love to take those drawings to the computer and play with colors and repeat.

Micron pen, Mechanical Pencil and Prismacolor marker are all a part of Amy Reber's tool must-haves.

What is the most challenging part of your work?  The computer skills portion, I am self-taught and therefore I work unconventionally which can be a bit distressing at times especially when prepping files for clients. Luckily I have some very savvy computer/graphic people that I have met on my journey that are okay with fielding my questions!

What was the last thing that you designed that you absolutely loved? The best thing, is that pretty much every design you see is something that I would wear or put in my home….I create what I personally love.  One of the pictures I’m attaching would be an example of a recent collection that I love though.

Do you have formal training? No, self taught as an artist and on the computer

Is this your full-time gig? I am a stay at home mom, but would love to turn this into a full-time, profitable career.  I was teaching kindergarten when I met my husband and never went back to work once married.

What is your favourite thing in your studio space? My favorite thing about my space is the floor to ceiling windows and natural light they provide that is perfect for when I’m sketching.

Setting up a workspace at the kitchen table and in front of natural lighting is key!

Do you have a creative process that you go through before you sit down to create? I have found that my most creative part of the day as far as the drawing is afternoon (which is unfortunate sometimes because I many times have to interrupt myself to go pick up kids from school), but I can’t make myself draw when I’m not “feeling it”  so have to go with it!  I usually get everything set out that I need, sketch pad, pens/pencils, large glass of water (have been known to substitute this with wine on occasion if it’s the weekend LOL), and I turn Pandora on.

What is one piece of advice that you have to share with those who want to pursue a life that they design? You have to find what you LOVE to do what you cannot live without doing.  I cannot imagine my life without surface design at this point.  I think I would be going crazy to be honest with you. FIND YOUR JOY

Amy Reber sketching in her sketchbook featured on life i design's blog series of Creative Women.

Now for the fun stuff!! 

If you could design your most perfect studio/office space anywhere in the world, where would that be? What would your view look like? Who would be with you? The Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington State where I grew up (my husband is retiring from the marine corps this summer and we are moving back there there!)  We would like to live coastal, so looking forward to the ocean air!  I would love either a “cupola” atop our house with tons of windows, or a small studio detached from the home with TONS of windows….possibly a mid century style.  A small deck so that I could sketch outside if I wanted.  I am perfectly content working ALONE for hours on end!  WOULD LOVE AN OCEAN VIEW

Chocolate or Coffee? Or both!! COFFEE, I like chocolate okay but I could live without if needed.

Pen and paper or digital?  Def pen and paper

What colours do you find you use most often when you create? I think probably bright pink, blues and greens

Surface pattern design by Amy Reber featured on life i design's Creative Women series.

How many Pinterest boards do you currently have?  141 boards.

How many are private?! 6 private

What's one tool that you can't live without? My GraphicGear 1000 Pentel Pencil .7I almost started crying once when I couldn’t find it, now I have two on hand!

What’s the last book you read? Eeep, I have no idea….I would rather play with designs on the computer

Your favourite magazine to peruse? Architectural Digest

Where do you get your inspiration from? Flowers, leaves, mid century design, fashion, abstract/geometric design….my eyes are ALWAYS peeled whether I am outside walking or looking at what people are wearing at church on Sundays.  I can’t NOT see pattern now! lol

I hope you enjoyed learning about Amy and her story! 

If you'd like to share a creative entrepreneur's journey with me, please feel free to email me a few links at!