Meet Bethany, our friend and neighbor, and the talented artist of Beenanza Design right here on Pine St. in Burlington VT, steps away from Citizen Cider HQ. We teamed up with Bethany to create our upcoming release Pineapple Pants an innovative new cider truly made by the people. This cider was born out of our love of Wits Up and we challenged ourselves to expand on it. Pineapple Pants is an ale inspired cider infused with pineapple and orange. Bethany’s bold, colorful prints align perfectly with this boundary pushing cider.
We sat down with Bethany and got to know a little more about her.
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Burlington?
The first few years of my life were in small-town central New York, at age 7 my family (my Mom, Dad, 6 siblings +me) moved to Cincinnati, OH. At age 15 I met my partner in life, went to school in Buffalo, NY for Communication Design (where I also dabbled in ceramics & fibers) Then Chad and I continued our tour of the coldest places we could live in the continental US moving then to Minneapolis, Minnesota – then Chicago – then Burlington. <3 This is where we decided to start our fam.
Tell me about your artistic journey?
From being totally mesmerized at 5 years old by the loud green & white wallpaper in our front hallway – to the art director pushing hard for MORE PATTERNS. Growing up I didn’t get a lot of art focus at school, but my Mom & Dad tried hard to introduce me to whatever they could. I remember a Christmas gift one year was a bunch of lessons at a local pottery school & I just loved it. Really really. At 12 – hanging out with artistic 50+ year/old women was my jam. Fast forward I didn’t get into the best art school, and the more I develop as an artist I love to share this piece of my story. The time in school is truly what you make of it, who you surround yourself with & the work you are willing to put into it – not just what art school you went to. So, After college I moved to Minneapolis & realized I had NO community. So I started networking like a rockstar – got a job as a Jr. Designer & started developing my corporate design skills. Moved to Chicago, did some freelance gigs, turned down a job working at Leo Burnett because the job opening was with a team selling cigs…hmm. Feeling a little discouraged & a lotta bit pregnant, we headed to Vermont. In the moving van on the way here I received a call for an interview – long story short, I built my corporate career here in Burlington from 2008-2017. In 2017, one month after returning from a transformative trip to Jaipur, India to learn block-printing, I was laid off. AND, Beenanza was born. <3
Where did the name Beenanza come from?
An old coworker & good friend used to call me this as a nickname & I remember saying to her, “One day I am going to start a business & THAT will be the name.”
What is special about being an artist in Burlington?
The community. Everyone is so supportive – not just the public, but other artists too, everyone is here to lift eachother up.
In addition to being an amazing artist, you are also a mom! What kind of influence does your creativity have on your role as a mom and on your kids?
I get SO MUCH inspiration from my kids – I love having conversations with them about the shapes of clouds, faces in things, music, poems, all the things! I found that when they can see me creating and building a business that fills me up, the more they want to be a part of it.
Your block printing is unique and very impressive, what do you love about that medium?
Aww, thank you. I could go ON-ON, but boiled down it is this: I create graphic patterns & block-print them to embrace the uniqueness inherent in the process. Even when repeating a pattern with the same block – each mark is unique to all the others. Whether it is the amount of pressure or slightly misaligned registration (my favorite!) the addition of a block-printed pattern helps add an element of humanity.
The blocks are carved in India, amazing, whereabouts? What led you to them?
They are carved by the artisans of Studio Bagru – located in Bagru, Rajasthan in Northern India. After putting my hopes & dreams into the universe – I met a woman from the Czech Republic who I call my “block-printing angel”. Her partner is Indian so she spent a lot of time in Jaipur & Bagru working with & learning from the group of artisans in Bagru. She shared with me all she had learned, introduced me to my now friend, Jeremy Fritzhand (owner & founder of Studio Bagru) & the rest is history.
Pineapple Pants is beautiful, and comes from your Pants block, where did the pants come from? What other inspirations took you to the design of Pineapple Pants?
It has had a bit of a snowball effect! I ordered a pair of red pants several months ago that I was so excited about I sat down & created a pattern that really ended up representing something I needed more than I knew, a strong visual expression of positive self talk. The art then became a limited edition block-print, then a “BIG GIRL PANTS” screen-print, and 2 large taped-pant patterns for Art Hop – adored with unique designs (which sparked Pineapple Pants), collaborated with Shana of Firstborn Jewelry for custom “Big Girl Pant” earrings & even “Big Girl Pant” macaroons created by Maryam of Matryoshkas Bakery, and beautifully designed linen shirts by Kat Whitledge (a local clothing designer), adorned with pants! When I started chatting with Citizen Cider about this opportunity I knew my first move was to create a washi tape pineapple to ensure a simple blocky fruit – which eventually became gorgeous wood blocks (thanks to my friends at Studio Bagru). I also wanted a warming cuban-inspired colorway to match with the tropical flavors. Perfect for January in Vermont when we all need a little reminder of what sunshine looks & tastes like.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating?
Drinking coffee and cider, yoga, walking, cooking, hanging out with my family & cheering too loudly at my kids sporting events
What is your favorite cider?
Omg, so many…
U.P., Citra Star, Brose, AmeriCran, Wit’s Up, and whatever the peach hoppy one was – that was delish!
Stay tuned for more on Bethany, Pineapple Pants, and a very exciting way for you to be apart of all of it!
PINEAPPLE PANTS AVAILABLE JANUARY 1, 2022