Today's Wonder is a Super Wonder because she's a Professional Wonder. She's soooooo good people pay her to make cards! Y'all already know her work and her face is pretty familiar to us H'Art Heads. But just in case you've been hiding under a rock or something... please give it up for Nancy Taylor, paper artisan!
(I don't know if Hero Arts just happens to hire cute people or if people get cuter after they start working there, but is Nancy a cutie or what?! She comes from California, so she had a head start in the cute department, I suspect.)
Nancy has a special place in my heart because it was her use of Hero Arts "Real Flower" stamps that first really grabbed my attention and made me burn to stamp. (Yes, burn, I say! Before this time I merely yearned, but after... well, nothing would do but to feed Spouse Mac and Cheese for a week so I could direct our food budget to a much more noble expenditure.)
Since Nancy's a professional whose work we've all been drooling over for years, it's sort of pointless for me to attempt to break down her style. I usually suspect that I'm looking at a Nancy Taylor Original (or an NTO, for short) when I see watercolors and sweet simplicity. And if you people expect me to pick out my six favorite NTO's, you are all nuts! I tried but it was a fool's errand, so I resorted to a time-honored scientific method....
The coin toss.
And here's the first result - a beautiful Real Flower masterpiece! Really, now - how can such a card not speak to any self-respecting paper artist? This is vintage NTO - focus on the stamp, clean lines, simple design, flawless execution....
I've said it before on this blog, and I'm sure I will say it again: I often look at my own work and feel intimidated by all the Card Extravaganzas out there. But all I have to do is look at Nancy's work, and I am immediately soothed by their simple elegance. Her art inspires me and encourages me - makes me feel like I, too, can turn out something pretty, and it doesn't have to be filled with layers and techniques.
It can just... be.
But back to Nancy! Did you know she holds a patent? Yes, indeedy, she sure does! About ten years ago, she patented the “Press a Frame”, which creates an embossed image on paper without the use of a light box or brass stencil and was carried by Hero Arts for several years. It's similar to the paper embossing machines we have now, except a stylus is used to create the raised embossed paper shapes.
How about this elegant holiday beauty? I love the way she makes a visual triangle with the reddish ink, don't you?
Nancy has frequently contributed to The Rubber Stamper, Take Ten, Stamper’s Sampler, Craft’s Beautiful Magazine, Snapshot Memories, Creating Keepsakes and Expression Art Magazine, not to mention Heaven-only-knows how many idea books. Since Nancy is a life-long native of California and since she's been involved in the stamping community for over 22 years, she's Old School - and not just with the techniques, either. She taught classes at Posh Presents (Dee Gruenig’s very first store in Laguna Niguel). She remembers when stampers had a blank ink pad, a box of colored pencils and not a whole lot else. Can you imagine life without Nesties or embossing folders? Border stamps and decorative scissors? Gems and Stickles...
A world without gems and Stickles?!
Somebody fetch me my smelling salts!
But perhaps it is the absence of these things that provides the best foundation for mastering the craft of rubber stamp art. I love all the extras, (as my bank account will attest) but they sometimes get between me and the paper - the craft - that is stamping, and I've definitely hidden many a weak design or shoddy execution beneath any number of frills. Nancy, however, had to Get It Done without these fabulous distract-ors, and that's one of the reasons she's as good as they come.
Just look at this card. It's charming and elegant and lovely to look at - and there's not so much as a seed pearl on that thing!
Nancy's teaching career didn't end with Posh Presents. She's taught classes for all age groups and developed the Hero Arts Studio Workshop program, and, of course, she's a Hero Arts Artist who contributes card art to the HA catalogs, trade shows, and its popular blog. And, like all true artists, Nancy is constantly growing by studying the work of others.
She told me, "I love wandering through the fantastic cards on Flicker, Split Coast Stampers and 2 Peas. However, I find very little time to submit to other [non -HA] sites. It's on my “bucket list”, though. On March 25, 2010, Lisa Spangler, Jennifer McGuire, and I will be exchanging cards with Heather from A Muse... it's always fun to work with another stamp company’s images."
(So mark your calendars, ladies!)
With no further ado, lift your Diet Cokes to Nancy Taylor, a Testament to Taste and Elegance!
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?
Some stamps just make me think of card ideas when I see them, others take a bit longer. I do sketch some ideas and colors to use for reference.
2. How many, on average, pages per week do you make? Cards?
Hmmm... that’s a very good question. If the design team is working on trade show classes I do as many as possible to use in our booth. Most of the time, I make maybe 5 or 6 cards. I love playing with watercolors and sometimes a stamp design turns into a small painting to add to the front of a card.
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?
Leaner and meaner... that will probably never happen. I have never met a piece of ribbon or paper that I don’t love. I love “just having” lots of supplies to play with and I am the neighborhood “go to person” when someone is giving a party.
If you look at the card on Thursday’s blog of March 4th, 2010, sometimes you just have to let a card “sit overnight” and not try and force a solution. Amazingly the next morning you will probably find the answer. I always try and remember that "nobody is going to die if my card is not perfect."
I totally agree with you about sleeping on it. My problem is that I tend to be impatient and don't want to wait! But every time I DO wait and then revisit the trouble-maker, I'm always smacking my head, saying, "Of course! How could I not see it before?!"
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)?
Whatever frozen dinner my husband wants, if he doesn’t want the kind of soup I am having. In the summer it’s grilled veggies and chicken in a flour tortilla.
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!)
A pair of scissors, (good ones not ones with glue dots stuck to the blades…….please tell me I am not the only one with yucky scissors?) Nail polish remover, to get the yucky stuff off the scissors. A paper Trimmer for sure, Glue Dots, Lots of punches, a camera, my Cuttlebug and some folders. An embossing gun and powders (clear, gold and white). If you count all the punches and the powders that’s way more than 10, and I would have to have a cup of tea. I cannot stamp without a cup of tea.
You are not the only one with yucky stuff on your scissors. I, myself, have Glue Issues, so I have yucky everything. I'm in awe of your ability to isolate your yuck to just the scissors. Is it the tea? I could try drinking more tea. I would drink a whole bleedin' POT of tea if I thought it would cure my glue challenged-ness.
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.
Oh, dear, this is a dead give-away for an aging stamper…. (I would have to add an I Pod to the supplies above.) If I am working with a deadline it would most definitely be Flashdance, Footloose, Billy Joel and Elton John.
Oh, dear, is right - I was in high school when those movies came out... where is my walker? Oh, wait a minute - here it is. Glued to my skirt.
If I were stuck and needed to jumpstart my creativity I would choose Floyd Cramer (anybody remember him: Music Box Dancer?) James Galway, (great flute music, better known to the younger set as “elevator music”) Evelyn Glennie, a percussionist, and Neil Diamond (all the old arrangements).
7. If you could have anything you wanted, (concerning scrapping or stamping) what would it be?
Time - an entire day with nobody around, no phone calls, no computer and no guilt about spending the entire day with my stamps and supplies.
After having a dedicated stamping space, "more time" is the second most popular response to that question. ("World Peace" has yet to show up.)
8. What about your style/artistry are you least satisfied with?
The collage look that Shari and Tim Holtz do so well. I have always admired Tim and his ability to create a beautiful work of art from scraps, stamps and ink.
I bet if you gave that man a used Kleenex he'd turn it into Art.
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.)
One of the hardest decision I have ever made was giving up my old Canon AE1 for my Canon 20D. I love my 20D now, and even though there are newer models, with faster and more unique bells and whistles, I feel like I have hardly scratched the surface of what this one will do for me. I chose it originally because my grandson was playing ice hockey, and I wanted to get good action shots behind the glass. His sister is now an equestrian, so I'm very glad I have a camera that takes action shots. A friend of mine who is a fantastic photographer told me, “Get the best camera you can afford even if it seems more than you will need.” He was right.
10. What's the word or phrase that comes to your lips when you mess up while creating? ("Unprintable" is definitely an option!)
I guess it depends on my level of frustration and who is in the room with me.
11. If you couldn't do this for a career, what would you do?
I would write books for children.
12. I know you've been with Hero Arts for many years. How did you begin that relationship?
My daughter worked for Dee Gruenig at her very first Posh Presents while she was in high school. Once I saw what stamps could do, I was hooked. I taught classes for Dee until Jackie Leventhal flew down from Berkeley to see what Dee did with all the stamps she was purchasing from Hero Arts. I then started doing catalog work for Hero Arts and some of the best times of my life began.
That is so cool - like Lana Turner being discovered in a drug store! I've always dreamed of being discovered... and if I ever get my skirt unglued from my chair, I'm going to see if I can find a drugstore where stamping Big Shots hang out and try to get myself Discovered!
13. Give us a quick description of your pets.
One very small dog, a miniature schnauzer
14. Give us a quick description of your job.
I help retail stores with merchandising ideas, create cards, and find ideas for new images.
15. Give us a quick description of your family.
Husband, 1 adult daughter (and her family) and 2 adult sons (and their families).
16. Got a fun or little known fact about yourself you’d like to share?
I love stamping at home in my pajama bottoms. Even if I am seen on Skype or in a video I probably have my pajamas on..I can’t believe I am telling everybody this.
Ahem... this raises a rather delicate issue.... May I be so bold as to ask about the whereabouts of the pajama... top?
17. What’s your favorite stamping technique?
Watercolor, but (like Sally) I am very partial to my pair of scissors, too. When Sally and I started stamping over 20 years ago the available supplies were whatever we could adapt to stamping - colored pencils, a black ink pad and some colored pens were our staples then. Now, everywhere you look, there are supplies that can be adapted to stamping. Through the Internet this once-cottage industry has built a cottage in every country of the world.
I think that's putting it mildly - I believe the cottage is amassing castle-like proportions. YIPPEE!!!! (shrieked the addict.)
18. What do you find more satisfying - the process or the product?
The process, but I always love using new products.
Check out more of Nancy's art at the Hero Arts Idea Gallery!
It's taken awhile, but we've now come to the end of the Hero Arts Artists Wednesday Wonder interviews! I've listed the other HA Artist's interviews below for anyone who may have missed one. (I revisited them and was sort of amazed at how this interview has developed from the first to the last (they're in order from the first one - Lisa - to the most recent).