in love seems to be Debba Haupert's secret to success. Over the past 23
years, she has devoted herself, heart and soul, to a series of distinct
careers, and each has been high-profile, award-winning, and unique.
Early on, Debba developed her marketing and communication skills
working with national advertising and manufacturing firms. Combining
that experience with her love of crafting, Debba launched her own
company, BoBella Marketing, supporting manufacturers and artisans in
the arts and crafts industry. She soon became a recognized
leader, with over 250 television appearances, an award-winning book on
image transfers (a 2004 Booklist Top Ten winner), and a portfolio of
new crafting tools, kits and designs. Her heart again led her into
product development, design, trending and marketing for a candle and
home fragrance manufacturer. Today, Debba has found a way to bring her
many loves together by creating Girlfriendology.com
- the online community for women based on inspiration,
appreciation and celebration of girlfriends. She and her team provide
podcasts, blogs, shopping, reviews and more to inspire women and their
Debba's influence is broad, but for us it began with her book "The New
Book of Image Transfer." This is the bible of image transferring - one
of the essential references for anyone who crafts or creates with
pictures. That's how we opened our conversation with Debba in
January of 2009:
Discovering your book on image transfers can be one of those "defining
moments" for a crafter. Step by step, you take away the
mystery of how to "put a picture on something," and the resulting rush
of creative possibilities can be heady. Why did you decide to write it?
of an artist, I was brought up doing crafts, so it was a blast working
in this industry. At several points in my career I've worked in the
field of technology. So it is probably just a natural combination of
these. The technology came from learning Photoshop around the same time
as the book was conceived. I loved being able to manipulate images and
then apply them to all kinds of surfaces. Eventually the challenge
became to see what surfaces an image could be placed on.
Stones, old windows, frames, hot glue (used with Lazertran Silk) and
even creating clear stickers with Lazertran and double-sided adhesive
sheets kept me in my studios (happily!) for days!"
into vintage images,
of course, but your image choices are refreshingly eclectic. Some of
your most exciting designs use contemporary
photos, modern abstracts, and even children's drawings. How does your
mind bring together an image and an object and see a fun match?
have formal training in graphic design but that is one of the
that appeals to me when I see craft design. The graphics and images
have to be an exact fit for the project. One of my favorite projects in
the book was the silk scarf screen. The 'undies' graphics were girly
and fun. I loved continuing that theme with garter belt snaps to attach
and (although it wasn't used in the photography for the book), I had
made stacks of white buttons with a pearl on the top as finials on
vertical supports of the screen frame. I loved combining those details
in a humorous way. Those are the details that I love and
enjoy, even if I'm the only one who notices them!"
striking thing about your designs is your equal comfort with bold
colors and subdued patterns. From Op Art to sepia pastiche, you seem to
use the full palette of design. What was your art training or
experience that gave you such a repertoire, and how can crafters expand
their horizons in the same way?
"My mother is
a painter and crafter. She does watercolor, oil, acrylic and all kinds
of techniques. I'm sure being surrounded by this as a child has
radically shaped my art appreciation and skills. I was the kid who
wanted to be an artist when I grew up, but instead I became a crafter
and a creative marketer. As much as I'd love to be a fine artist and
paint, like my mother, I'm probably happier being able to
experiment with all types of materials and styles. I love retro
decoupage to girly kitschy to classic black and white images. If
crafters have a style that they love - that's fab. If they're eclectic
- that's awesome too. If
brings you joy making and looking at it - it's perfect! The freedom to create is the
only thing that
VIC: By any
standard, you have written a comprehensive book. Beyond the
39 illustrated projects, you have sections on basic concepts, tools
and materials, a range of different techniques, and even technical
background on cameras, printers, scanners and software. How much did
you write from hands-on experience and how much from research?
"The New Book
of Image Transfer" (which, by the way, was the title the
selected - I didn't want a "new" book that was five years old someday!)
was a huge labor of love. I remember the super late nights and early
mornings in my studio, the chapter deadlines for my editor (the team at
Lark Books was awesome!) and the challenges of finding artwork and
surfaces that I could work with. I loved every minute of it, but it was
a very time consuming project. I did a lot of research, took classes in
Photoshop and scouted around to find visual inspiration. It was a great
learning experience for me."
has been happening in the transfer paper industry in the years since
your book? Are there new products or ideas you would include in your
book, the publisher wanted me to work only with Lazertran. Now I
love Lazertran and it was the
best product on the market, but I really wanted to make the book more
and open to other products. Since the book, Lazertran products have
improved (working with lots of printers, on more surfaces and even in
more techniques) but other products have come on the market as well.
For inspiration, check out www.lazertran.com and other image
transfer sites. There is some amazing work out there and even some
industrial and huge works that can be simplified and reduced in size to
be fun projects. For a next edition, I would definitely include other
transfer materials and lots more techniques. I'd love that opportunity
include some extensive acknowledgments at the back of your book to the
crafters, manufacturers, photographers, artists and designers who
helped you. How did your collaborative publishing experience contribute
to your concept for girlfriendology.com?
"I am blessed
with great girlfriends in the craft industry. Katie Hacker, Lisa Galvin
and I formed a mastermind group and helped each other through all kinds
of challenges - like what manufacturers to work with for what
materials, contacts in the craft industry, ideas on ways to market our
services, etc. Also, girlfriends Jill MacKay, Marie Browning and Cindy
Gorder have been so helpful in just cheering me on and humbling me by
even allowing me to be listed among them - they're more creative and
talented than I could ever dream. I don't believe I could have done it
without them! That spirit is very much at the heart of
became a familiar expert on many crafting TV shows, including the Carol
Duvall Show and QVC. How did this come about and what role did it play
in your career?"
"I left a
marketing career and decided to follow my creativity and passions.
After hearing about the the SDC (the Society for Craft
Designers, later changed to Creative Designers and
now no longer active)
on the Carol Duvall show, I joined. Through that organization I met
amazing creative women (primarily) who designed for publications,
developed products, made samples for print/retail, etc. They encouraged
me to attend CHA - the Craft and Hobby Association trade show.
At my first CHA trade show, I was a little lost and wandered the aisles
and aisles of craft manufacturer booths. I remember the exact spot that
I looked over and Carol Duvall and her entourage were standing nearby.
I was a little star-struck and decided to move on, as not to be a
bothersome fan. In another aisle, I ran into them again and moved on.
When it happened the third time I decided it was meant to be so I
introduced myself to one of her producers and explained that I was a
newbie craft designer. From that contact I was invited on the show 11
times and enjoyed every second. And, from that experience, I also did
QVC and over 250 on-camera demonstrations."
So, at least four careers so far, but who is counting? What should we
be looking for from you in the coming years?
"If I could, I'd have tons of careers. I love trying new things and
learning! In the coming years, who knows?! The Internet is changing so
quickly I just hope to continue to learn and to grow Girlfriendology
and see where that leads. Thanks for allowing me this
to talk about The New
Book of Image Transfer and my creative
girlfriends. I'd love to thank all my girlfriends as well as the
wonderfully kind and creative Carol Duvall, who made such an amazing
impact on my life and is the most generous person in the world!"
Haupert's The New Book
of Image Transfer is available from bookstores, craft
stores, and at Amazon.com
and other online retailers. Learn more about Debba and experience her
new venture at Girlfriendology.com!