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Best Recycling Microbusiness 

Bird vs. Bird

By day, proprietor Bess Petty works as a graphic designer at a sign shop, helping to announce the East Bay's grand openings. In the evenings, she toils away on her sewing machine, listening to NPR as she churns out purses adorned with sketched graphics of kingfishers and goldfinches. The bird purse is the classic, but Petty also works her biologically accurate depictions of various species — plants and forest critters as well as birds — onto coin purses, magnets, and stickers. She sketches the designs in Adobe Illustrator using a Wacom tablet, which is a bit like using a magic pen that can draw onto a computer screen. The inspiration for the microbusiness came in 2005 when Petty, a self-described crafty cheapskate, despaired over the scrap material her employer was hauling out to the trash. She began reclaiming the scraps, printing her bird designs on spare bits of the nylon-reinforced vinyl material used to make banners, then sewing the images onto handmade purses. Later she invented a use for the adhesive-backed vinyl used to print rigid signs: Those scraps became stickers and magnets. Petty's standard design set includes twelve birds, six critters, and six plants, and she occasionally creates custom designs as well.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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