Meeting the Makers: Robyn of Shibang Designs

Editor’s note: This meeting the makers post has all the things I love best-making it a perfect fit for our February theme of Love it Up. Robyn Santamaria of Shibang Designs is a talented and passionate Canadian maker with her own innovative style. Each of her pieces is a true work of art + skill + smart design, I am honoured to introduce Robyn to share her story with us!

Robyn Santamaria, Shibang Designs, handmade fiber art


Making and creating things has always been natural for me. From a young age I started selling my fimo creations at craft fairs and spending most of my free time drawing, making jewellery and sewing bags from fabric that I found around the house. When I made thedecision to take the Textile Arts Certificate at Capilano College (North Vancouver) right after high school I knew that I had found the perfect medium to express myself.

Robyn Santamaria, Shibang Designs, handmade fiber art

Exploring all of the processes related to fibre was my starting point and I gravitated towards embellishment, wool, dying and began to develop my technique of felt applique that I have built Shibang Designs around. I began designing simple shapes for purses to showcase the bright and textured abstract floral motif and creating a line to sell in some local boutiques in Vancouver. Feeling the need to solidify my skills and training in the textiles field I moved across the country to Halifax where I transferred to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD). It was there that I completed my BFA with a major in textiles, minor in jewellery and gained experience in fashion design and pattern drafting.

Robyn Santamaria, Shibang Designs, handmade fiber art

While a student I had the opportunity to participate in a couple of craft trade shows, both retail and wholesale, which has had an influence in the way that I currently run my business. In the past three years since graduating I have grown my business from part time job to a full time career. Etsy has been a great start to starting up and a wonderful tool to get out there. I am thankful for all of the leads, contacts and people I’ve met through this international online community. I also feel very lucky to be a craftsperson at this time when the internet and online shopping are so mainstream.

To sustain and promote my business I sell in three main ways; online through etsy and my own online shop, in boutiques across Canada and in the USA and by large trade shows that I travel to three times a year in Vancouver, Chicago and Toronto.

Robyn Santamaria, Shibang Designs, handmade fiber art

As much as I love working from home I enjoy meeting other artists in person and connecting with customers directly. What I find the most difficult is managing my time in all of the different roles that you must do when you run your own business – being the designer, maker, photographer, web designer, marketer etc. Some days I am busy doing other aspects of the business that I don’t even spend time sewing. It is a balance having to switching roles all of the time.

In the new year I plan to further develop my new line of art work as well as collaborate with other artists and designers.

Connect with Robyn by visiting her:


Robyn Santamaria, Shibang Designs, handmade fiber art


  1. Tori says:

    Great segment on meeting the makers! I always see Shibang Designs when perusing etsy and now I can say I know a bit of the back story behind Robyn’s lovely creations!

  2. Vanessa Cunningham says:

    I am a big fan of Robyn’s, ever since she was the year ahead of me at Cap she has been a huge inspiration to me. Such a beautiful write up , Congratulations!!

  3. Robyn says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments & support! It has been a wonderful experience to be able to share some of my process and background.

    When I mentioned that I hoped to collaborate I would like to also say that the photo of the beautiful woman above is Christine Adele White from Vancouver who is running for Miss Universe modelling a bridesmaid dress by Vancouver Designer Cassie Dee

  4. Katie Martin says:

    Goodness, that clutch in the last picture is so adorable! I love the style in which you create your art. It is so bright and the stitching seems so carefree and almost haphazard, and yet the final result is so beautiful. Definitely a unique take on design.
    What drew you to this particular style, and do you work exclusively with felts?

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