FEATURED MAKER: Carrie Schmitt

Please welcome our newest Featured Maker: Carrie Schmitt! Carrie is an artist and author living in the Pacific Northwest. She began painting in 2009 as a way to cope with health issues. Now she has her own creative business where she makes art, teaches e-courses, practices yoga and more. We are so excited to learn more about her life and work today and we hope you enjoy getting to know Carrie as much as we have!

FEATURED MAKER: Carrie Schmitt #artist #interview

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I am an artist and author who began painting in 2009 after developing a life-threatening allergy to heat. No longer able to spend time in my beloved garden outdoors, I began painting flowers instead of planting them. In 2010, my family and I moved from the humid Midwest to the Pacific Northwest for its temperate climate. Today my art is licensed for home décor and stationery with several companies, including Hallmark, teNeues Publishing, Dianoche Designs and Woodmansterne. I paint daily from my mountain studio just outside Seattle.

What do you make and sell?

I sell original artwork, giclee prints, notecards, and hand-painted yoga mats. I share art techniques and ways to nurture your creative spirit in my book, Painted Blossoms: Creating Expressive Flower Art with Mixed Media, is now available for preorder on Amazon. I also teach an online yoga inspired art e-course called Journey to the Self that blends my passions for yoga and art-making. You can learn more about that here.

I also have 3 video art tutorials that will be released from FW Media this summer that shares three special art projects related to Finding Inspiration, Finding Your Style, and Surrendering to the Flow of Creativity. And, I will be presenting a FREE live online presentation about my art journey with Artists Network on July 21. You can sign up to listen and even ask live questions here.

FEATURED MAKER: Carrie Schmitt #artist #interview

What made you decide to take the leap and start your own creative business?

I started painting as a therapeutic practice to deal with my limitations from my heat allergy—not being able to go outside and do any physical activity was a huge emotional challenge for me. This led to the awakening of my truest passion—creativity! I decided I wanted to make a living doing what makes me feel most alive so I began paying attention to how other fulltime artists were able to make this work in their lives.

How did you get started and when did you launch your business?

When I began painting, I was lucky enough to take Kelly Rae Robert’s online art business course, Flying Lessons: Tips and Tricks to Help Your Creative Biz Soar. This proved to be invaluable as I began to put my art out in the world. I learned how to use social media and connect with an amazing community of artists who have provided support and inspiration over the years. Understanding how to navigate the business side has allowed my art to flourish much more quickly than it would have without this knowledge. Most of my licensing deals have resulted from companies finding me on social media.

FEATURED MAKER: Carrie Schmitt #artist #interview

Do you have any philosophies or ideals you try to represent with your work?

My work is a celebration of color, lightheartedness and joy. I’ve never understood the violence and negativity that is so easily accepted in our world—on tv shows, movies, news and more. I suppose this is my own subtle and peaceful response to this mixed up world. I hope people look at my art and somehow feel uplifted and smile.

Tell us about your process. How do you go about creating your art from start to finish?

My process is intuitive and aligned with the belief that every mark made on the canvas was meant to be, aka there are no mistakes! I start my randomly applying paint and making various marks on the canvas. I continue to build layers of paint on top of each other to create depth, interest, and texture. Eventually, imagery (usually in the form of flowers) begin to reveal themselves to me. It’s almost as if the painting just appears as long as I am open to it. Sometimes this takes a long time and sometimes it happens quickly. You can learn more about my different techniques in my book, Painted Blossoms. I’m also going to be teaching my process and various art projects at the Art Makers Retreat in Denver in September.

FEATURED MAKER: Carrie Schmitt #artist #interview

Where do you look for inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere, which makes every moment of every day a treasure hunt. When something takes my breath away or tugs at me on a soulful level, I pay attention. These objects that appeal to our senses are like mirrors for our soul. So by paying attention, I am able to find out more about my own style and express my unique creativity with the world.

What does your workspace/studio look like?

I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a room of her own. My studio is in my home and looks like an indoor garden bursting with color and light. This space houses my joy and inspiration that is a reflection of my soul. Plants are a very important part of my space as well, as they are living companions that keep me company while I create.

FEATURED MAKER: Carrie Schmitt #artist #interview

Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome in your business? Or something you tried but didn’t work the way you planned?

One of the greatest challenges for me has been having the time and money to pursue my passion. Patience and persistence has paid off even though I have had some serious and frequent moments of self doubt. Your faith just has to be stronger than those moments. It does take time to build a business so I try not to be too hard on myself. It seems as though things just work out as long as I work hard and put my energy toward this dream.

What does a day in the life of Carrie Schmitt look like?

I start my day getting my kids to school and then doing yoga or swimming. Physical activity, especially yoga, has become key to enhancing my creativity in the most magical and fulfilling ways. Yoga is about clearing energy channels and this has allowed this previously stuck loose energy to manifest in my art. Practicing yoga has been a powerful journey! I wasn’t expecting it to affect my art in the ways that it has but am incredibly grateful that it has become an intrinsic part of my process.

After yoga and/or swimming, I like to do administrative work – answering emails, posting on social media, writing articles for magazines, or whatever else comes my way. Then, it is time to paint! I turn on some music, light a scented candle, and begin throwing paint on the canvas. Time seems to stand still and before I know it, it is time to pick up my kids from school. The rest of the day is devoted to taking care of them, and I never have enough time to get all my art biz stuff done. Sometimes I work late at night or wake up early and often work weekends. I love the flexibility of my schedule because I am able to be present for my kids. It can be a huge challenge to find time for myself, but I just try my best every day.

Visit Carrie’s website and follow her on Facebook!

Thank you so much Carrie for sharing your story with us! Do you want to be our next Featured Maker? Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor #diycraftchallenge #watercolor #adventuresinmaking

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor

Watercolor is a favorite medium of ours and what better way to celebrate Spring than playing with colorful paint. Whether or not you consider yourself an ‘artist’, watercolor is a wonderful way to experiment and create no matter your skill level. So get our your favorite paints and make something inspired by the beauty of watercolor.

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, April 1, 2015 and ends on April 29th, 2015. We will post our favorite projects + announce the award winners on April 30th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more watercolor project ideas.

DIY: Robot Valentine’s Day Cards with Tam Hess

DIY: Robot Valentine Cards with Tam Hess
Please welcome guest blogger Tam Hess! Today she is sharing a fun tutorial on how to make a robot valentine using one of her own digital stamps. You can read more about Tam and the cute things she makes in her Featured Maker interview.

Working with digital stamps is so much fun! I made this easy Robot Valentine card with a free digital stamp designed by me. There are tons of cute free and low cost digital stamps online. Downloading digital stamps and keeping them on your computer saves time and space. As soon as I discovered this idea I fell in love and started designing my own. I’m particularly biased and love this robot digital stamp… well, because I created him!

Step One: Gather your supplies

The first step for designing your robot valentine card is to gather your supplies. Find fun papers, ribbon, embossing folders, punches, pens, pencils and paints. Anything you would like to use for your card. I especially love watercolors so I will get all my watercolor supplies out for some fun.

Step Two: Download and print your digital stamp

Download the robot digital stamp for free from my website. Then print it out on either 72lbs watercolor paper for watercoloring or card stock paper for pencils and pens.

DIY: Robot Valentine Cards with Tam Hess

I like to size/format my digital stamps to be 3.5” x 2.5” and print them out four at a time. If you download Card Making Artists free digital stamps, I always include a digital stamp PDF sized/formatted just right for handmade cards.

Step Three: Color your robot

Use watercolors, pens, pencils or paints to color your robots any way you like. Have fun trying different color combinations.

Step Four: Cut out the image

Start cutting the robot image. I use the gray border line around the robot image as a guide for cutting out the digital stamp. You can use scissors, which I normally use but the cutting board works well too.

DIY: Robot Valentine Cards with Tam Hess

After getting all the robots painted and cut out, I start looking through my stash of papers and embellishments to find the ones that match the robots. Yes, I will gather some supplies before I start my project but usually I have to jump up a million times to find just the right colored paper or embellishments. Once I get all the robots matched to papers and card folders it’s time to decide on a design.

DIY: Robot Valentine Cards with Tam Hess

Step Five: Design your card

Finding the right design for your card can be tricky. I really get stumped on card designs. Usually I will find a “card sketch” online that I refer to. “Card sketches” are like templates to follow for card making. You can find “card sketches” on card challenge sites like Retro Sketches, which is my favorite card making challenge site. When you use a digital stamp like the Valentine Robot stamp, you can keep your design and embellishments to a minimum. If you need something smaller or don’t like the sentiment, I included in your download a PNG (Portable Network Graphic) version of your digital stamp. You can resize your PNG Valentine Robot to any size you like!

DIY: Robot Valentine Cards with Tam Hess

The robot digital stamp is large and is the focal point of the card so there’s no need to go overboard with the embellishing. However, I love the super busy over the top cards with all kinds of embellishments, the cards that look like they wouldn’t fit in an envelope? Awesome!

DIY: Robot Valentine Cards with Tam Hess

I need more card making practice to design one of those super embellished cards. Handmade cards are a fun and easy way to express yourself. People are always excited and impressed to receive something that you’ve made. The lazy part of me especially likes having a bunch of handmade cards ready for quick birthday and thank you greetings. If you’re super organized, keep a few gift cards on hand and then you’re really set! You can visit CardMakingArtists.com for more card making fun, ideas and free digital stamps.

DIY: Robot Valentine Cards with Tam Hess

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

alissa-biopic_200x200Please welcome our very first guest blogger, Alissa Thiele! Alissa is a Portland based artist who’s photography & illustration work is inspired by the Pacific Northwest – the mountains, mushrooms, ocean, and sea otters. Alissa loves creating jewelry with kitschy, vintage gems. Her work can be found at many locally owned stores and in her Etsy shop at www.atealeaf.etsy.com.

Does your home need a little sprucing up? Make this crafty paper garland to hang on your walls, windows, or doorways. This fun DIY is a perfect decoration for your next special event, holiday, or even just year-round. Plus it’s a great craft project to do with your friends and family – what better excuse for a craft night!

Supplies:

Butterfly Template
• An old book you don’t mind cutting up (thicker pages work best)
• Ink (Speedball calligraphy ink works great)
• Baker’s twine
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Stapler
• Paper hole punch

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

1. Choose Your Shape

Take your scissors and cut out the butterfly stencil. If you are feeling extra creative you can make your own shape. Maybe a clover, flower, heart, or circle. It’s best for the shape to be about 2”-3” in length & height.

2. Use An Old Book

Find an old book that you don’t mind cutting up. Remove 3-5 pages from the book. An X-acto knife & ruler make it easy to do, but you can also tear them carefully. Using a pencil, trace your butterfly stencil onto a page. Be sure to trace in an area that has lots of text (or fun illustrations!). Depending on the size of your book, you should be able to fit about 3 butterflies on the page.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

3. Cut Out Your Shape

Next, paperclip the rest of your removed pages below your traced page. Now we can cut lots of butterflies at once! Carefully cut out the butterfly shapes with scissors.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration
DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

4. Form The butterfly

Gather 3 of the butterflies that you just cut out. Put them together & fold them in half vertically. On the fold, staple the center of the butterfly. With your hole punch, make a hole above the staple (this is how you’ll string the butterflies into a garland). Finally, fan out the butterfly wings. So pretty!

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

5. Dip Dye Your Butterflies

Now we’re getting to the fun part! First create a work space where you can dye and dry the butterflies. I like to put down some plastic wrap on a table and then add a layer of paper towels so it’s extra ink proof. Then put a half cup of water and a teaspoon of ink into a glass. Take your butterfly sample and submerge it halfway down. Hold for 10 seconds, making sure the ink gets on all sides of the butterfly. Remove it from the ink, blot excess ink on paper towels, and carefully lay it out. Pro Tip: stand the butterfly up on the paper towel so it doesn’t get bent while it dries.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration
DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

If you’re happy with the color repeat STEPS TWO – FIVE to make more butterflies. If not, add more ink or more water as needed. Keep it interesting by alternating between dying the tops and dying the bottoms. Make about 10 completed butterflies.

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

6. String Into Garland

Almost done! After all the butterflies have dried, cut a piece of baker’s twine about 6 feet long. String the butterflies on the twine, tying a knot in between each to prevent them from sliding too much. Now hang up your awesome new garland on your doorway, ceiling, window, or wall!

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

Hashtag this tutorial #adventuresinmkg to share & see others!

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration