A: OH, this is one of my favorite stories!! At the time, I had NO idea of what scrapbooking had become. My idea of scrapbooking was <don't laugh> a 9x12 spiral drawing book with newspaper clippings, my little boy's early art, report cards, stuff like that, shoved in and waiting to be taped or glued down! I StiLL have that book (awaiting said tape and glue) floating here somewhere! Boy was I ever enlightened when I learned how creative the industry had become. Anyway, there was a feature article about me and my art in a popular art/craft magazine. This issue "just happened" to cross the desk of the extremely visionary president of Creative Imaginations, Jack Behlmer. We got in contact with each other and set up an interview/ art review. I had packed up several things to show, but we got as far as looking through two of my painterly handmade books and the deal was done. I was THRiLLeD!!
A: My Wedding collections seem to be very popular. A concept we brainstormed (me, my art director and Jack) late in 2003 has proven to be a very strong seller. We've been adding to it and developing it ever since!
Q: What are some of the unique selling points of your products?
A: Gosh.. I guess it would be the combination of painting and gestural marks along with hand lettered work. When I attend the Trade Shows, I'm actually surprised to learn that not everybody realizes all the lettering and illustrative work I do is by hand.. NoT a font!
Q: How do you monitor trends in the industry?
A: I'm always keeping an eye out for things that interest me, grab my attention. It could be anything from the textures and colors of stone on the old natural springs where I now live, to the way shadows fall. Like being a kid and looking up at the clouds and see all kinds of things in them. I subscribe to a variety of magazines, but mostly they just stack up. I get stumped if I try to "follow" something.. sort of like painting myself into a corner. I also enjoy visiting scrapbooking boards and picking the brains of people like you! --when time allows, of course!
Q: How do you select color schemes for new products?
A: Oh, Boy.. I could go nutz with color!! But to keep me in line, I get input from my fabulous art director who gets input from marketing!
Q: What is the creative process behind the names for each collection?
A: I have never been good at naming my work... although I might be getting a little better. When my business was devoted to painting for the fine art world, my paintings were titled "Untitled 1", "Untitled 2"... most creative, yes? So, I get LOTS of help from my art director.. she's great!!
A: You wouldn't believe how many journals I keep!! I must have at least 10 in the works. I LoVe my journals.. I doodle, I color, I play and sometimes I even come up with something genius ;) When I do, I'll scan it and send to my art director for feedback. My best ideas come when I am "in the moment" and in my journals there are NO rules! Just play! I am constantly referring to the voices in my head which direct me. When they speak, I Listen!!
Q: How do you introduce new product lines and/or new items to the consumer?
A: Well, obviously CI is an innovator at introducing new lines. They put together a fabulous Design Team who work with our products. Other than that, I post on my blog and alert the various communities I am involved with
Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of becoming a product designer for Creative Imaginations?
A: OH, wow! LOTS of things, it would be hard to pin it down to one thing. Creative Imaginations is an awesome company to work with. I just LoVe them. Having all the exposure they provide me has been wonderful! I LoVe going to the Trade Shows and reconnecting with my CI family. At the last show, I had the opportunity to meet even more of the "Behind the Scenes" folks, and let me tell you, they are a hoot!! Not only that but they are fabulous at what they do. I have always acknowledged Jack's keen eye and sense for putting together the most awesome people. Hey, he found me didn't me, didn't he?? <chuckle>
Q: What plans do you have for the year ahead?
A: Some very exciting stuff... a little bit of getting back to my roots, so to speak. But that's all the hint you can get for now!