Meet PDT member Camila Bertolini

PDT member Camila Bertolini has made her crafty mark in three continents. With citizenship in Brazil, Australia and the UK, she's developed a strong, clean aesthetic and a desire to learn more and develop her style. We chatted to the savvy mum of two to find out about her small business, her experience as a street artist and her journey in crafting.

1. What inspired you to apply to be part of the Project Design Team?

After four months of living in London, I quickly discovered Creativity magazine and docrafts through my local Hobbycraft. I was impressed with all the co-ordinating product and the craft community support; it gave me motivation to get involved and to find out more about it. I saw the PDT call through the docrafts website and I didn't hesitate. My little daughter had freshly started nursery and it was the perfect timing.

2. You currently live in London, but you’re an Australian citizen born in Brazil; how different are the crafting scenes in these three places?

The craft industry in Brazil is manly focused on handmade birthday décor. Only recently has it started to expand in other areas of papercraft, like cardmaking and scrapbooking.
On another hand, Australia has a very strong craft scene with lots of craft markets and an appreciation for the handmade. However, what is still missing in the papercraft scene is a stronger sense of community as well as workshops and demonstrations. Living in London makes me feel the difference because of how strong the craft scene is. I was blown away by the variety of papercraft products and magazines. I have to confess… my husband was a little apprehensive when I discovered a TV channel dedicated to selling and demonstrating craft products!          

3. What first got you into crafting?

For as long as I can remember, I saw my mum and my grandma doing crafts like knitting and painting. My mum used to take me to buy craft materials, and I was hooked when I discovered I could transform that material into something.

4. You used to be a professional street artist – tell us a little more about that!

It all started in Brazil in 2002. On my final assignment for my graphic design degree, I started a project based on the chaos of the city of Sao Paulo. It had a grungy and gritty look and the idea was to populate the city with posters and prints in deteriorated areas to make it more artistic and pleasant. Unexpectedly it grew rapidly and suddenly I was doing exhibitions, books, magazines and events. My favourite part was producing all the graphic material like posters, stickers and stencils using screen-printing, xylography and a letter-press machine.

5.  You clearly love to craft for your daughters, do they like to join in with you?

Yes, I love to craft for and with them, especially handmade details for their birthday parties. If they are around me when I create I always have a curious audience, mesmerized by all the fun and colourful materials. It seems that in the same way that my mum inspired me, I now have the chance to inspire my children.

6. What music do you listen to when you craft?

I'm a rock, reggae and ska kind of gal, but at the moment I prefer to listen podcasts like ‘She Percolates’ and craft talks such as ‘Crafty Chat’ from the Online Card Classes YouTube channel.

7. How would you describe your crafty style?

I love clean and simple designs with a modern twist. As my craft style evolves, this is the aesthetic that I want to pursue.

Camila's beautiful vellum favour boxes

8. Do you feel that your experience working in the creative industry had an effect on your style?

It probably did. It's just hard to point where. I can definitely feel the effects from things that surround me – what I use as inspiration and reference. Though many crafters that I admire have never worked in the creative industry.

9. What craft product could you not live without?

Papers! I'm addicted to papers. With all those patterns, textures and colours, it's hard to resist. I consider my paper stash more like an archive; I’ve had some papers for more than 20 years.

10. You run the small business Obladi Handmade. What inspired the name?

It’s from the Beatles song ‘Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da’. I chose this name as a tribute to my dad. He’s a huge fan and I have amazing memories of this song from my childhood. Also, every time someone asks me the meaning they will had the song stuck in their head!

11. Tell us five interesting facts about yourself.

  • I'm a Brazilian, but I don’t have the boogie. I'm a horrible dancer!
  • I studied photography in the 90s and used to develop black and white films inside my wardrobe.
  • I have triple citizenship; we have 12 passports between me, my husband and my two daughters.
  • I'm 100% ‘right-brained’, which means I have terrible organization skills… in fact I wouldn’t trade my intuition for that.
  • I met my only alive idol: Terry Hall from The Specials. I kept it cool, but cried as he left.

12. What are your favourite things to make?

3D paper creations are top of my list, especially boxes. I'm obsessed with creating templates and custom boxes for every creation I make. This is closely followed by home décor. I love to give my home décor makes as gifts.

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