i'd like to introduce you to one of my daughters' most favorite artists, Beccijo Neff of the Enchanted Cupboard. i recently purchased one of her playsets and several silks and have been trying to pry them out of little hands and off of little heads ever since. poke through the Enchanted Cupboard...there is a dizzying array of choices, but i promise, all are wonderful...oh, and let me tell you about the packaging...simply amazing. Enchanted is a wonderful descriptive for the entire experience with Beccijo, but it is only the beginning! let's also toss in words like *joyful*, *inspiring*, and *captivating*...
I am creative, loving and excited about life! I am a woman who has the courage to be HAPPY! I am a very lucky wife and mother who is deeply loved by a great man and wonderful children. I have had the most wonderful experience being married for over 12 years. I, at one time didn't believe in marriage, but I am so glad that I took a chance and listened to my heart! I am the kind of person who gives 100% and that includes to my marriage. My reward has been a wonderful and magical relationship that is fulfilling in every aspect. If granted a wish, I would only ask for more!!
In 2008 I started getting serious about my hobby and started a shop on Etsy.com . I started out making a few wooden fairy dolls and over time have added to the collection. I now have wonderful dolls, playsets, playboxes, and wedding cake toppers. I have been featured all over the web including Nickelodeon's Parents Connect, The Knot.com, and AOL's AisleDash.
~When did you begin making Wooden Toys?
I've tried my hands at lots of different creative venues but the little wooden dolls and playsets really became a passion for me near the end of 2008.
~Why did you choose your style of toymaking?
I've always loved little tiny things. As a child I always picked the books that had mice that had little homes filled with reused things for their household. My mother instilled a love of fairies in me and I was for ever making little houses in the forest near my childhood home.
~Do you have a favorite toy of your own creation?
The first one I made, Lavender, part of The Fairy Ring series. She is modeled after my own sweet little girl.
~Do you also collect toys?
I have a collection of many items made by the members of the NaturalKids Team. I am collecting Bendy Dolls from Princess Nimble Thimble and Story Book dolls from The Fairies Nest.
bendy doll by PrincessNimbleThimble
~At what point did you realize your gift was more than a hobby?
First when people started paying for my toys. Then when my own sister paid for one for a birthday present ( I gave her a discount!).
~Describe your workspace.
I completely rearranged my house and took over the largest room once I realized this is going to be a business. I love to have things organized and create systems that let me keep up with my homeschooling of 4 kids while working. My studio is in the center of the house and has made it easy for me to keep track of everything and everyone.
~What is your favorite part of the process.
The part of figuring out how to make what is in my head work in a playset or playbox. The process of putting it all together, painting it up, and then seeing the kids light up with delight!
~What is your least favorite?
Sanding, messy and takes up a lot of time but is a necessary evil!
~What inspires you?
My childhood and things I imagined there, watching my own kids grow and seeing what they play.
~What is the best time of day for you to create?
I love working at night after everyone is a sleep. I am my most productive then.
~Tell me about your biggest fan.
My husband has always been my biggest fan. He loves me with a great love one that is rare and deep. He really pulls me through when I expect too much of myself. All the characteristics that were seen as "my flaws" as a child are thing he loves about me. He keeps my feet on the ground but never kills my creativity. He lets me talk to him for hours at night about my plans and designs and always supports me when I change my mind. He is also the model for my pirate!!!
~What is your strangest request?
I have really had only normal requests but I do get strange key words that people find my shop through from Google.
~What is your favorite request?
It is going to make me cry to tell this story! A mother was being deployed and their poor little girl just got her dad back who was also in the service. I worked with them to design a Playbox that was just like their kitchen with lots of things for them to bake and little wooden dolls that look just like them. Now the little girl could always have them with her. It is things like these and knowing that little kids all over the world are playing with my toys that keep me painting on bad days.
~Which similar artist do you most admire?
I really love the work of http://www.etsy.com/shop/
~Which classic artist do you most admire?
Hands down it would be Vincent Van Gogh. I love his work and his tragic story makes his work even more endearing. I love his passion for color and how he was compelled to create even when the world was against him. I am a big Dr. Who fan and a recent episode they visited him and in they end got to take him to the future and he got to see his greatness enjoyed by others, I cried like a baby!!!
~What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began? (Or what piece of advice would you give to someone first starting out in your field?)
Staring at the screen does not make orders appear.
Your work as mother, creator, artist is never done...live in the moment don't try to just get done.
Make a plan for success because if you don't you will not be able to keep up when it happens.
~Tell me an artist you’d like to have subjected to these questions?
~What is your favorite flower?
A Tulip, I love the vast colors they come in there delicate but structured shape.
*a giant "thank you!" to Mrs. Beccijo! all photographs and all interview words in black are owned by Beccijo.