Introduction to Art Journal Selections

K. Finally getting on to a design team

Early 2020

I've been crafting for my entire life. When I'm working in the "craft" world and not the "fine art" world, I love to try fun new products and new techniques.

In the early 2000's I started designing Route 66 themed rubber stamps after featuring some of my Route 66 photos in a couple of shows and making faux postcard designs with faux postmarks on them as computer graphics pieces to accompany the photos. Since I loved to make faux postage, I designed some rubber art stamps to help artists easily make their own realistic faux postage designs. Around this time I was a volunteer and board member at the Open Door Art Studio, an organization that helped people with mental illness and mental disabilities heal through making art. I taught some classes on making faux postage and sold some of my faux postage designs at Book Arts Shows that I exhibited in alongside ODAS members.

At one of my former web design jobs, my boss wanted me to learn a particular shopping cart software so I decided to expand my rubber stamp line and make the practice shopping cart I was building into a real shopping cart and fill it with real products. Over the years I added a lot of craft supplies to my catalog to complement the rubber stamps. In the present day, a lot of my original rubber stamp designs are available in my Etsy Shop along with craft supplies by other manufacturers.

It's tremendous fun and stretches me creatively to design projects to go with my own stamp designs and other companies' products. A lot of craft supply manufacturers and retailers use "influencers" to make things and showcase the results and what products they use on their own social media networks and web sites. Some of these influencers are paid in money and some are paid with free product or exposure or some combination of those things.

I like being on my own "design team" but being a one-person company it means my reach is tiny compared to a larger company. When my web design career started to fizzle out, I used my skills to the best of my ability to sell more products online. I started teaching crafts again, this time to make money and not as a volunteer. I was encouraged by an artist friend of mine Jennifer Weigel, to build my teaching business. Her words still echo in my mind to this day when it's time for me to plan, write or promote new class ideas - "you have a good product". I respect her a lot as an artist and a person and her encouragement meant a lot to me and still does.

When you only design for yourself, you have total creative control which is satisfying but in order to sell products to other people it's good to stretch yourself and design some things for others too. Being on a craft product manufacturer design team is a terrific way to grow creatively while at the same time trying some new products and getting some exposure. I started applying to the design teams of companies I liked and already owned a lot of their product. Although I was not formally on any team, Jacquard Products asked me to do a couple of tutorials for them. Canvas Corp Brands, the parent company of 7gypsies and Tattered Angels, accepted me onto their design team for the 2018 season. I probably would have stayed on their design team for quite awhile but they were purchased by another company in 2019 and the design team was abruptly disbanded. That was a disappointing development for me but I'm glad for the time I had with Canvas Corp. I really grew as a crafter and designer and I got to check "being on a design team" off of my bucket list! I still get to design lesson plans for Schnarr's Hardware and work on in-store displays there. When I teach for JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts I make project samples from their supplies and from their plans. These are both fantastic creative outlets for me currently and not too different from being on a design team. I have fewer deadlines though, so have to be more self-motivated and focused which is hard when life gets chaotic.

February 2022

I finally finished the two-page spread of art journal pages shown at the top of this page. While working on another project on the computer in Adobe Photoshop, I got inspired and used some parts of this two page spread along with scans from another art journal page I'm working on to make a "mashup" digital image.

digital image made of parts of art journal pages
Here is a thumbnail image of a digital composite I made from parts of art journal pages in February 2022. The art implements I colored yellow with marker are from some paper I got while I was on the Canvas Corp Creative Crew.

If you would like to see larger versions of the digital composite and art journal two-page spread, here are links:

Larger version of digital composite

Larger art journal two-page spread

Things to be grateful for: