Inside the Crafters Studio: Nicole Lee

Our profiles of Richmond Craft Mafia’s Spring Bada-Bing vendors continue with thoughts from local designer Nicole Lee.

Nicole Lee, a self-proclaimed “military brat,” is originally from Virginia but spent most of her childhood in Los Angeles. She returned Virginia to attend college and decided to stick around after graduating in 2001 with a degree in fashion design. Nicole lives in Richmond, crafting clothing and accessories, which can be found on her website. She’ll also be selling her goods at the Richmond Craft Mafia’s 2010 Spring Bada-Bing! Here she tells us about how she got started as an artist, her creative process, and what you can expect from her at this year’s event.

Have you always been an artist/crafter? Do you remember your first creation? If so, what was it?

I’ve always been crafty. My first “creation” was a egg carton dragon using the instructions from a craft book my mother gave me, I was probably around 4 [or] 5 years old. It eventually got so long it went the length of the hallway.

When/how did you get started?

In college I majored in fashion design, so I was pretty set in my path.

What types of materials/patterns/shapes/etc. do you prefer to work with and why? What is that process like for you?

I dabble in just about all mediums for fun but I always come back to fabric. I like figuring out different ways to make flat, limp piece of fabric into something snazzy. I think its the pattern making part I enjoy the most, its very much like working a puzzle for me. I usually start out with a couple of yards of cool fabric and brain storm what I can make with it. I make a rough sketch and set out to make the pattern.

Did you set out to create your designs specifically – bags for example – or has your craft evolved with time?

I set out to design clothing, but bags sort of took over, the plan in the near future is to add clothes back in.

Do you create items by request? Any strange requests?

I do sometimes take on custom orders. I haven’t had anything strange… yet.

Would you say there is a common theme in your work?

I use mostly natural fabrics in my designs. And I my designs tend to be fairly structured.

Are you a member of the Richmond Craft Mafia? If so, what can you tell me about the organization and your involvement?

I’m one of the founding members of the Richmond Craft Mafia. The RCM is a affiliate group of the Austin Craft Mafia who had the great idea to ban together to network in Austin, TX. For me, It started out with a need to connect with other like minded creative people here in Richmond who had the desire either graduate a hobby to a business to for those who had already started, take it to the next level.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to read, mostly mysteries and thrillers.

What items can people expect from you at this year’s Spring Bada Bing?

More bags in great unusual prints and button rings.

Thanks to Tasha for talking with us! Stay tuned for more profiles on Spring Bada-Bing artists this week. To see a full list of vendors set to appear at Spring Bada-Bing, stop by their website.

(The bag featured in this story is Nicole’s Red Vespa Scooters Urbanna Shoulder bag and is available on her website,

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Marge Weimer

Marge Weimer had the distinct honor of being’s first intern. She is a good sport, and we thoroughly enjoy her.

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