Meet Tulsa Maker Bianca Howell of Owl and Drum. Owl and Drum is Tulsa's "one-stop shop" for modern fabrics, quilting and sewing supplies, sewing classes and gifts. When we were on 15th Street, Owl and Drum was across the street and to the east of our shop. I remember walking across the street to say hello and meet my neighbor businesses. We didn't know then, but that was the start of great friendships and business relationships. We love working with Bianca because she has an enviable knack for color and creativity. We carry her napkins, tea towels, modern quilts, and pillows in our shop. I, Ashley Daly, make tons and tons of baby clothes from the beautiful fabrics from Owl and Drum. We also host craft nights where the ladies of O&D share skills with us and customers. I always leave feeling inspired after spending time with Bianca. Read more about this awesome Tulsa maker.
Where are you from? I was born in Los Angeles, where my dad was in the music industry, but was raised here in Tulsa, OK. I have moved away several times–college in NYC; work in Seattle and Portland–and I always find my way back to Tulsa! Four years ago, I decided to move home from the Pacific Northwest to open my own fabric, sewing and gift store, Owl & Drum.
How long have you been sewing and quilting? What is your history with these skills? I have been sewing since I was a child. As a kid, I was mainly into cross-stitch and embroidery. In high school, I liked to make my own clothes. I’d take vintage store finds or charity shop purchases and re-design them to suit my style.
As far as quilting, I caught the quilt bug several years ago when my friends started having babies and I would make them baby quilts. I found a lot of my inspiration when I joined the Modern Quilt Guild. Meeting new people helped encourage new ideas and approaches. Quilting definitely inspired me to open O&D.
Why is this your medium? Textiles are very tactile. With textiles, the textures can vary greatly, plus textiles are easily manipulated to either create art or practical items. Colors, shapes, patterns, and textures. I love the whole palette.
What inspires you? My customers and friends, the environment, art, fashion, design, dance, music, essentially everything that surrounds me–in nature and in society. We are all sponges soaking different things up every day. We are always seeing and hearing new ideas. I’m always impressed by other people’s talents.
What do you enjoy about collaborating with our shop? When designing items to be sold at Retro Den, I definitely take the owners’ aesthetic tastes to heart. I love their style, so it’s a great creative challenge for me. I always like collaborating with other creative people–it feels like a partnership. Projects often work best when there are a few eyes and minds focused on the same goal.
Why is art important in a home? Art gives color and depth to any room in a house. It also shows off people’s artistic tastes and favorite styles.
Why do you love Tulsa right now? The variety of new coffee shops, bars, and restaurants in downtown and other parts of the city is so much better than 10 years ago. Guthrie Green, Philbrook, and Woody Guthrie Center have been great additions, too. I recently went to the new downtown library and was very impressed. More things to see and do for families really adds to Tulsa’s livability . . . and I hope The Gathering Place will be a really big benefit for everyone, too!
What is your favorite decorative item in your home right now? I love the two Mary Blair prints from her “It’s A Small World” collection that hang on our living room wall. I love the vibrancy of the colors and the unique style. I bought them when I visited DisneyWorld a few years back and they are a nice reminder of a fun holiday to Florida. Mary Blair is one of my favorite artists, and I have spent a long time marveling at her attention to detail. She’s a true inspiration–both now and back when I was a Disney-devoted kid. Mary did the concept art for the Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan movies. All classics. She also created the character designs for the “It’s A Small World” attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, which then debuted at Disneyland in 1966. A little known fact is that Mary is an Okie–she was born in McAlester, but moved to southern California as a child–which is the exact opposite of my own personal story!
Do you have a favorite Retro Den piece? Of course! About a year ago, I purchased a vintage chair from Retro Den and had Janie re-upholster it with some fabric from my shop, Owl & Drum. The fabric–a Japanese barkcloth in an Orla Kiely-esque floral print–looks great on the chair. Janie did a great job! The chair sits nicely in our living room.
Bianca, we love you. You are a kind soul, a talented artist, and a wonderful friend. Thank you for working with us!
*And now friends, below, look at all the pretty fabrics that are at Owl and Drum.
Let us help you make your home a beautiful space that reflects you.