Sunday, April 29, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Bo Betsy

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Cathie Jo of Bo Betsy

Who are you?
I am a person who likes things one at a time. I'm not a multitasker... don't juggle well. But alas! Life isn't really like that. It's messy and all at once. So, in the mayhem that is just an ordinary day in a happy life - I've found that the one. stitch. at. a. time. of hand embroidery brings me back to right. Each slow, purposeful stitch brings about stillness and order -- how nice!
What do you make?
I make freeform hand embroidered hoop art. I used to do a lot of hankies and patterned work - oh, and custom portraits - but I am so hooked on working freeform right now that i don't want to look back!

Besides making things, what do you do?
I'm a mom, so much of my days are spent with these great kids and what they've got going on.

What inspires you?
Most of all, I'd have to say color combinations. Aren't there just the most amazing colors? There are snapshots in my head of movie scenes and magazine pages and old fabrics and children's books -- combinations of colors together that make me want to climb in and live there. And come to think of it -- I patterned the wall colors in our country bungalow after the odd color combination I loved in a children's book. I do live there! Those same colors I use a lot in my embroidery, too...

Where can your work be found?
My hoops are always a' plenty in my Etsy shop ( And in the last few months, I've branched out a bit to some shops. Most recently, Cakespy Shop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle is loaded up with some sweetly embroidered hoops. Also, The Marketplace at Rain Dance Ranch (here in Newberg wine country) has a fun selection of Bo Betsy hoop art.

What do you love about Portland?
While I lived in Portland for several years between college and getting married, I now live in the outskirts of beautiful nearby Newberg - overlooking gorgeous vineyards. I still love Portland for all it's color and life - and once a year my dear Portland-dwelling friend keeps me updated on all the hip areas of town for our birthday celebration. I love that - it's so fun to see how the city continues to change and become more...

As a family, it's an ultimately great day when we get to spend a Sunday afternoon roller skating to the classic organ music at Oak's Park. (My special joy is watching the fantastic aging roller boogy-ers... I dream of learning to skate easily and beautifully, in the style of the older men I see gliding around the rink.) Top the day off with some myzithra and spumoni at the Old Spaghetti Factory - and we're happy! Long live the Oak's Park Roller Rink!


  1. Such a fun interview~
    I love Cathie Jo's hoops.
    Such gorgeous work!!!

  2. I've long been a fan of all things Bo Betsy, and I'm glad to know a little more about the woman behind the work!

    1. aw, you made my day! and i can say i've long been a fan of crewelwhorled! :)
      thank you! cath


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