Friday, July 10

Profile: Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo (Part One)

I have a confession. Several months back I posted about my love hate relationship with Twitter. What a difference a few months (and a grasp of the concept) can do for your perception.

If you are not a Twitter user, it’s difficult to fully understand the relationships you can forge with likeminded companies and individuals. Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo (ABCD) is a perfect example. Amy and I first became Twitter ‘friends’ in March and were finally able to meet in person at the All the Best and Vicente Wolf launch party—I liked her instantly!

Artist, designer and stylist, Amy is a true Renaissance woman. ABCD first studied fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She completed a six-month chef-training program in NYC and earned a Certificate in Floral Design from Parsons School of Art and Design.

During her 2007 nuptial planning ABCD was inspired to design her wedding stationery. Having experience in event styling she knew exactly the look she was going for. All the vendors for her New York City wedding quickly fell into place. When it came time to order the invitations, ABCD realized she was not happy with the service, style or designs on offer. True to character she took things in her own hands and created their entire wedding suite.

The accolades on their wedding stationery came rolling in. It wasn’t long before guests from her wedding were asking ABCD to design stationery for their special events. Thus ABCD Designs Bespoke Stationery was born.

Amy is a collector of vintage advertising posters, china cups, yarn and images. In her free time she makes collages, knits, loves homemaking and adores spending her time with her husband, Mr. D. Part Two on Monday...

Which talent would you most like to possess?
Math skills -HA! In all seriousness, the only thing I intended when I left to start art school was to become a fashion photographer. What gets better than working with incredible cutting edge fashion, beautiful women, amazing lighting and creating an iconic image for the masses? At that time - the internet was nothing like it is now. It was all about the glossy pages of Elle, you know? At SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) they were just introducing this "fly-by-night" thing called "digital" photography. *Aaaack - had I known digital would actually stick!* But I couldn't get into the process. I LOVED being in the darkroom. I completely backlashed and left the photography program. To this day I regret not following that photography passion. I guess there is still time to learn...

Instead I took weaving courses, painted and printed fabric design ... I often tease that I should have lived in another era, been born in 1875 not 1975! I am so drawn to turn of the century processes from letter press to the architecture. Old New York fashion, hats, gloves and accessories ... the quality of everything produced was made to last. They built it like they meant it - nothing was disposable. I love that.

What do you consider your greatest achievement
Out of necessity I have reinvented my career several times. My first real job in New York was in event planning and management. After 9/11 there were no corporate events and I started taking floral design classes and styling jobs as I could get them.

When I married Scott and the option was there for me to travel abroad with him two weeks out of every six. It made it incredibly hard to keep up with my weekly floral clients and last minute styling jobs. I reinvented again applying the same design theory to paper!

I am a huge believer no matter what design medium you are working with – a painting or sculpture, design of an interior space, an arrangement of flowers or styling a beautiful plate of food – one must always follow the same elements of design. In order to create a beautiful product there must be unity, flow, texture, harmonizing color, balance and a focal point to please the eye. This is the philosophy that I apply to anything I create.

What is your most prized possession?
My collection of original vintage posters. I was completely smitten when I bought my first vintage poster in college. I loved her rosy cheeks, wings and steaming cup of coffee so much that I started to collect more posters to decorate the walls of my apartment. I followed a theme of sorts when building on the collection. All the rosy cheek gals have wings, are doing housework or sometimes they are wearing wings WHILE homemaking. I love the fonts and the color from the late 1800's and early 1900's. So inspiring!

It is a really fun collection to build on. It took me eight years of searching to get my hands on 'Lane Borgosesia.' I first saw the poster in the hallway of Joan Vass's knitwear studio and knew I had to start the hunt for my very own. It's a Leonetto Cappiello poster where there is an all white drawing of woman who is knitting in a pile of colorful wool.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Can't live without? That's a tough question. I think I could live without all of it if that was put to me. But I must confess my theory has always been "Life is short, eat off the good china!" My mother in law is mortified that we eat dinner every night off the "good china" and sip water from the crystal that you're only supposed to use on "special occasions."

Profile by Ronda Carman


Leciawp said...

Great interview of a woman with great style.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

ABCD comes across as a humble person in regards to her talents. Would be hard to not like her from the get-go. Any one with the attitude that "life is too short to not eat off the good china every night", I like!

How are you liking being back in the Texas heat Ronda?

Renée Finberg said...

i can relate....i was definitely born in the wrong era as well.
i wonder how many of us feel that way.
i wonder if it is common with creative types.

her place is super. and i love her art work.


Anne said...

Fantastic profile. Amy is the best!

Jay said...

She has a great eye. And, yes, Twitter is great when you get the concept. Nice profile.

Anne @ The City Sage said...

Gorgeous home for a gorgeous and talented gal! Can't wait for monday's installment!

Lisa Bruckner said...

Dear Rhonda,

What a delightful profile! Amy's bespoke design gallery is amazing. I wish I had an upcoming event to hire her for!

The photos in your profile are beautiful. Who took them?

I hope you are enjoying your American sojourn. Now that I have some breathing room again the next few weeks, I look forward to reading your posts again.


Lisa said...

Beautiful! The photos are amazing and I love how Amy reinvented herself!

ABC Dragoo said...


I can not express what a true delight it is to see the feature that you have put together.

Ever since I started "stalking" design blogs - yours has been a favorite. To see a profile on All The Best featuring me ... well, it's quite surreal!

I am beyond thrilled with it and I look forward to seeing the second installment of this two-post profile on Monday.

Again, I can't thank you enough!
Warmest Regards,
ABC Dragoo

P.S. I see that Lisa Bruckner has asked about the photographer for these shots. Sabine Scheckel is a wonderfully talented photographer (and a sweet friend of mine!) She took the photographs of my stationery for the Bespoke Stationery website as well as the portraits and a few shots of the interior design I did for our home/my studio.

samia said...

I love everything abt this woman.. sign me up for twitter.. if such is the lot you meet.. i absolutely loved her poster collection.. and how much effort she puts into it.. her ability to adapt her creativity to every occasion.. n the best v all.. that she actually eats off her "good china".. :) would love to knw her more

Ronda u did a great job with the interview..

Brillante Interiors said...

What a great interview with a person who knows style an humour!

The Antiques Diva™ said...

I am SOOOOO smitten by these loft pics!!!

Susan said...

Ronda -

Another great profile on another fabulous creative! ABCD is pure joy to be around - you captured her spirit perfectly.


ALL THE BEST said...

Amy is so wonderful! I am so pleased that everyone now knows a little more about her!