MEET THE MAKER: AMELIE MANCINI
French-born painter and printmaker, Amelie Mancini, studied fine arts in France prior to moving to New York City in 2006. Nearly a decade later, she has successfully grown her small business into a powerhouse and staple in the handmade/design communities, boasting mentions or features in Design*Sponge, RealSimple, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy to name a few.
Amelie, who fell in love with baseball when she first moved to the U.S., began designing and printing her own quirky take on the classic baseball card under the name Left Field Cards in 2006. Her card collections featured a number of tongue-in-cheek themes like "Marvelous Moustaches," "Curious Second Careers," and "Edible All-Stars"—Major League Baseball players whose last names doubled as a food or beverage.
In 2013, however, Amelie embraced a new wave of inspiration—one that included more botanicals and desertscapes and less baseball. Under the name Amelie Mancini, she began screen printing onto a variety of textiles, including leather, suede and linen. Over time, her line of zipper pouches, napkins, and (lately) baby quilts eventually became her primary focus. In three short years since its inception, Amelie has successfully grown her business to include a small team of employees, who help her keep up with the day-to-day and increasing demand. She proudly uses only U.S. leather and suede, 100% natural fibers, and non-toxic, water-based inks. Everything is made by hand in her Ridgewood, Queens studio from design concept to final product. She truly embodies thoughtfully handmade.
You can find Amelie's goods at the Renegade Craft Fair (Booth #531) in Brooklyn this Saturday, June 11. In addition to her line of desert-inspired bags and tea towels, she'll be selling the remaining stock of her Left Field Cards for 50% off the original price. Don't miss out!
Read our interview with Amelie Mancini below:
S&A: You moved from France to New York City in 2006. How do the two creative communities compare?
AM: It's been ten years now so it's a little hard to compare the two because I've been out of touch with the Parisian scene for so long, but my impression is that New York City is a much more dynamic place to be for a young artist or designer. I always felt that things were a little more rigid or difficult in France. There is less of a safety net in America but people are willing to take more risks, somehow. My sister, who lives in Paris and is an illustrator and graphic designer, also tells me the handmade/maker movement is just starting to gather interest in France, but that the real stars are to be found in the fashion and photography world. She also says Paris is obsessed with Brooklyn, which is funny because Americans are obsessed with Paris.
S&A: What advice would you give to yourself back in 2006 as a burgeoning small business owner and transplant in a new city?
AM: Don't give up, and find your peers. Things will be hard and confusing but you'll figure it out and meet some great people along the way.
S&A: You've simultaneously designed for Amelie Mancini and Left Field Cards for several years. How do you divide your time between the two endeavors?
AM: I started with Left Field Cards in 2011 and after a couple of years, took a little break to design new things under Amelie Mancini... What was supposed to be a short break never actually ended and now the work I do under my own name has taken over all of my time. I'm ok with that. Running one business at a time is hard enough!
S&A: How have the two lines—and your design process with each—evolved over time?
AM: The themes are different—baseball for one and cacti and other floral motifs for the other—but the techniques are similar. I still use block printing to create my patterns, and I like to work in series.
S&A: You've recently added several items for baby (crib quilts, pennants, garlands) to your AM line, no doubt inspired by your role as a soon-to-be mom (congrats!). Do you plan to make them a permanent fixture in your future collections?
AM: Definitely! It's really fun to design for kids. I'd love to do collaborations with other kids' brands to do clothing or even furniture! That'd be really cool.
S&A: What is your favorite place to gather inspiration?
AM: The Metropolitan Museum of Art is amazing.