Amy Butler could live anywhere. Her goods, after all, are sold worldwide, and her fame is growing. But the 43-year-old artist and author, who designs everything from fabric and sewing patterns to home decor and stationery, still calls Central Ohio home. Working out of her Granville studio, Butler has long collaborated with her husband, fellow artist David Butler, with whom she has produced eight books. And her success has been recognized by the Columbus College of Art & Design, which will be presenting Butler with the first CCAD Alumni Fashion Icon Award in May. "I was blown away," Butler said of the honor. "I was very, very surprised and just really flattered to have that connection with the community."
What inspires you?
My design eye and the kinds of things I'm attracted to have a lot to do with how I was raised. We always were going to flea markets, and we sort of had a very artistic and eclectic home. And my mom and my grandmother sewed and made things all the time. (Also) just the things in life that add value to me as an artist-gardening and travel and having creative experiences and surrounding myself with creative friends, David included.
You and David have been married for 18 years, and have run your design studio Art of the Midwest together for 17. What's that collaboration like?
People are going, "How do you do that?" We tell everybody we really like each other, so that's a good place to start.... You have healthy creative boundaries about roles.
You could live anywhere. Why here?
I was raised in Ohio, and there's a certain ease and comfort in being near our families. But also, I think Ohio's a beautiful state. We have a lot of wonderful communities where it's easy to have a really wonderful quality of life and have a beautiful place and be able to reinvest in your aspirations.
Your organic bedding line - Amy Butler for Welspun - will be available this spring. What sparked that interest?
I'm so happy to merge my love of design with my desire to work in ways that sustain the planet. As a designer, I'm totally inspired by nature, and I feel a responsibility to preserve my inspirations.... So choosing recycled materials and sustainable fibers and fabrics in my products is very important.
You give a lot to the community. Who do you give to, and why?
We give regularly to the battered women's shelter here in Licking County. We started a relationship with the shelter about four or five years ago. I had some friends who were involved in domestic abuse. It's just so easy as a woman to put yourself into that situation. We also (give to) the no-kill humane shelter. We're big animal lovers. And then our local food banks always need help.
Amy Butler will receive the CCAD Alumni Fashion Icon Award at the college's senior fashion show and brunch on May 9 at the CCAD Design Studios on Broad. For information, call 614-224-9101 or visit www.ccad.edu.Kristy Eckert is editor of Capital Style.