Today's Wonder is a woman after my own heart.Yes, folks, she's an official Color Nut and she's fond of clean, crisp designs! She also hails from Switzerland - which is so exciting to me. (Obviously, I know the place exists, but it always seems more real once I've met someone who actually lives there!)
Ladies, please meet Agata Pfister!
Is she cute or what? Look at that twinkle in her eyes - I suspect she's quite capable of playing the prankster!
Okay, the first thing that attracted my attention to Agata's creations is how well she handles simplicity in design. She's really, really good at it. Take this scrapbook page, for instance:
This is worthy of magazine publication. The kraft presents an excellent neutral backdrop for her photos and the lines are crisp; the patterned paper circle with journaling strips break up the two parallel vertical lines. Both the journaling composition and the glittered letters bring life and movement into the overall design and keep it from becoming static. But best of all, those photos are dominating the page and not vice versa.
Check out this one:
WOW! The white is a great neutral, and she's 'Shopped the photos to pop out the red sweatshirt - which, with the red "red" just leap off the page. And I'm really impressed with that journaling strip. Now that was masterful. Any other color but white would have seriously messed with this composition. But how do you put white on white without it disappearing? You punch holes in it and let the shadows and torn edge do the heavy lifting! She anchors the design while also providing visual movement by using a simple black font for the journaling, black title boxes and a black photo turn. (I'm impressed with anyone who can anchor and move at the same time.)
And here's where she decides to get cookin' with the color!
First of all, she's made her photos sepia and white so there won't be a battle between them and the other colorful elements. She's got a nice balance going with the photo and elements across the top and the title along the bottom (love those embellishments, btw!). One of the things that really makes that title balance is the use of 3-D letters and the vertical line of colored blocks - the latter really ties it altogether and gives a nice visual weight to the entire composition. The yellow journaling strips provide a nice break in the red background and are the right weight - if she'd gone with a full yellow journaling block, it would have overpowered everything else on the page and thrown off the balance.
NOTE: for those who aren't familiar with French, I think she's saying that it takes 15 minutes to get the children ready to go outside in the winter and that she's looking forward to spring. (I took a few semesters of French in high school - and that was literally 30 years ago! - so I could be wrong).
And what about this beauty:
Agata was really cute when she sent me these pictures, apologizing for the "messiness." I actually liked seeing things in a state of disarray - it makes me feel better about my own messy space. Besides which, when I look at these pictures, I don't see a mess - I see the Physical Manifestation of Creative Genius!
As a matter of fact, I am so taken with this concept that I plan on employing it in all future instances of sloth. That's not a sink full of dirty dishes! That's the Physical Manifestation of My Creative Genius! Likewise, the pile of dirty laundry spilling out of my closet and the deplorable state of my desk - these are all Physical Manifestations of My Creative Genius! (My mother is going to be so happy when she learns she produced an Einstein rather than a slob.)
Here's a close-up of Creativity Central:
I love that little house thingie - that's an attractive and interesting storage solution! I also love all those photos sticking on the bookcase. I'm wondering if those are for inspiration or are they the photos to be scrapped next? Either way, it's a Good Thing!
Agata's won several awards, so I'm not the only one who's impressed with her abilities. She has done very well in the Hero Arts weekly blog challenges: She was awarded the Fresh Face prize in the Photo Challenge; the Scrapbook page winner in the Sketch 2 Challenge; and an Honorable Mention in the Cards That Give Challenge. She also was one of six winners for the Snowflake Color Challenge at Embellish Magazine, an online publication.
Alas, Agata is not on any Design Teams, nor has she been published in the print media. However, I think it's safe to say that it's merely a matter of time! (And I do wish you'd submit, Agata, as your designs are so crisp and clean, and subscribers would love to have a break from some of the same-ol, same-ol.)
Without further ado, lift your Diet-Cokes to Agata Pfister, the Swiss Miss of Elegance (sorry, Agata, I have no self-restraint)!
1. Do you pre-sketch a design or do you just leap out of the gate? How long does it usually take you to make a page? A card?
Thinking about a project takes most of the time. Sometimes I scribble something but only for layouts. Making itself is usually about an hour (a card) or several hours (a layout).
2. How many, on average, pages per week do you make? Cards?
Depends on the week. It can vary from 0 to 3 layouts, 1 to 7/8 cards. Last November was quite busy for it!
3. How has your process evolved to make you a leaner, meaner crafting machine? (In other words, what are some lessons you've learned or tips you can share that allow you to make better and faster design choices?
Start with less, you can always add something later - that’s one. And second: do not be afraid of color!
4. What's your stand-by, FAST dinner solution for those times when you really want to get to your scrap space ASAP (or stay ALAP)?
I have a stash of quick recipes in my kitchen and there’s a natural shuffle going on in it. But I’ll just mention one special Swiss recipe: a cheesecake, not a sweet one but the one made with real cheese like Gruyère. Don’t ask about calories, the number would kill you!
Death by cheese... okay, that'll work!
5. If you were stranded on an island that had a billion supplies but NO tools, what ten TOOLS would you HAVE to have? (All the stamps in the world are available, so you don't need to list them as one of your tools. EX: we've got all the embroidery floss in the world, but you're going to have to bring your own needle if you want to use any of it!)
I would bring my scissors, finger knife, round punch, border punch, trimmer, silent setter, brush for water pencils, stapler, corner rounder, and blending tool.
6. If you were still on that island, what kind of noise would you want (if any) in the background? List as many as five different favorite musical artists.
I like to listen to Sting, Louis & Ella, Pat Metheny, some of Miles Davis.
Louis & Ella as in Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald? Did you know he was the only man she would record a duet with?
7. If you could have anything you wanted, (concerning scrapping or stamping) what would it be?
Some cutting system so I could make nice, shaped cards!
8. What about your style/artistry are you least satisfied with?
I tend to repeat my designs, have a hard time being creative, and have trouble thinking outside the box.
9. What cameras have you tried, which one
is your favorite, and why? (You can shorten this to just the one you're
using now if you like.)
I started with a point & shoot Kodak, then there was a Canon EOS 500N, a Nikon Coolpix 10S. And now there’s a Nikon D40x, definitely my fav!
10. What's the word or phrase that comes to your lips when you mess up while creating? ("Unprintable" is definitely an option!)
Meeeeeeeeeeerde!!! (That’s French, if you ask… ;-))
Ah, yes. I'm very familiar with that word! I have been known to utter its English cousin with gusto!)
11. Give us a quick description of your pets.
I have no pets, but I love cats.
12. Give us a quick description of your job.
I'm a Stay At Home Mom; I was a pianist in a former life.
That is so cool! I've always wanted to play piano, but I seem unable to do anything requiring physical coordination. Although I can pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time - which is a completely worthless accomplishment in the field of music. Or any field for that matter....
13. Give us a quick description of your family.
I have a husband of 11-something years, a son who is almost 3 years old, and a daughter who just turned one.
14. Got a fun or little known fact about yourself you’d like to share?
In 2001, I played Mozart’s 25th Concerto for piano with Lausanne’s Chamber Orchestra.
Oh. My. Word. We have a bona fide star in the house (no honky-tonk piano-playin' mama here)!
My favorite technique is Distress Resist.
I love that one, too!!!16. What do you find more satisfying - the process or the product?
The process! As soon as I finish something, I have to start something new!
I'm in agreement with you. I enjoy looking at the finished project, but that's a fleeting pleasure. The process (when it's working!) is a thrill!!!