Meet the Artist: Jamie Lee Bushong

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It’s officially opening day for the new IKEA in Fishers–although for those who’ve camped out in line since Sunday, it’s more like “opening week” instead–and today hundreds of people will brave the crazy crowds for giveaways, Swedish food and contemporary furnishings.

(Want a sneak peek of the new store? See my photos from last week’s press preview.)

To celebrate, here’s a Q&A with Jamie Lee Bushong, local seamstress behind Thee Indy Designer and the person responsible for the cloth lampshades, banners, pillows and more that you’ll see in the cafeteria and room displays at the new IKEA store. (She even made a skirt to match one of the room display’s curtains.) Another fun fact: Jamie’s my sewing teacher!

​Q&A with Jamie Lee Bushong

What’s your art background?
I’ve been sewing for 28 years, mainly self-taught. I also design, make shoes and love art of all kinds: drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking and sculpting.How were you picked to create IKEA’s textile pieces?
I was referred to IKEA by others in my field, which to me was a great honor knowing they believe in my skills and work ethic.

What was the process of creating them like?
This was a very large order in a very short time period … [Author’s note: Jamie posted to Instagram this photo of her hand in an ice pack, healing after the rush order–which included a couple dozen lamp shades, pictured below, that had to be sewn in the span of about 6 hours. Seriously, who needs Project Runway?] With the lamp shades, I had an order with 4 different shapes and sizes, and they were also all in millimeters, so I had to convert everything to inches since that’s what I am used to working with. I would take these into IKEA to make sure the fit was perfect, and if any adjustments needed made, I did them on location.

​The people I worked with at IKEA were all amazing and very supportive. They encouraged me daily and told me many times how amazing of a job I was doing and how great my skills were. I would do it all over again if asked and hope to work with them again one day.

How did it feel to see your pieces in IKEA when you visited last month?
When I was invited to come to the Friends and Family Day, I was filled with pride but also lots of anxiety. My family was there to support me like they always have been, and they kept saying, “I am so excited to brag about you and your work here at IKEA!”

What IKEA textile piece are you most proud of? Or what did you enjoy making the most?
I think the giant cone-shaped lamps I am most proud of because of the pattern-making I had to do to get the exact shape and fit of the shades to be perfect.

Which was your favorite fabric? 
My favorite fabric was the watercolor-like fabric (pictured, far left of cafeteria photo). It was in beautiful shades of gray that looked like someone painted them onto the fabric.Any recommendations for people wanting to create their own decor with IKEA’s fabric? 
Their fabrics are so easy to work with and very reasonably priced, so creating pillows or even curtains for your home would be some great projects.

You can follow Jamie and “Thee Indy Designer” on Instagram and Facebook. (Her Facebook page’s profile pic is of her own exquisite wedding dress, one that took more than 100 yards of fabric and months to create, and one that reminds me of high-couture wedding dress lines like Christian Siriano’s.)And if you’re a DIY crafter, don’t forget to check out the self-serve fabric cutting station at the Fishers IKEA, with fabrics starting as low as $2.99 a yard.

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