2 PBteen x Kids Challenge Artists Share ‘Winner Stories’

“An absolute blast!” “Delighted and astounded!” “We were oohing and ahhing.”

These are just a handful of the comments from the Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen merchants during the Minted community winners’ announcement call on May 25. An obvious statement—but we’ll say it anyway—the merchants were beyond excited. “This has been an unbelievable partnership,” said Mary Harrington, Vice President, Merchandising, Pottery Barn Kids. “The amount of work that artists put into the entries was amazing. The work is whimsical, creative, and beautiful—everything we like to stand for.”

Mr. Giraffe” by Makewells, 19th place winner (also Pottery Barn Kids Editors’ Pick)

Hey Mr. Dog” by Makewells, PBteen Editor’s Pick

With more than 7,000 submissions and over 600,000 artist and consumer votes, the Minted X Pottery Barn Kids X PBteen Wall Art Challenge is the largest in Minted’s history. We look forward to seeing the winners’ work in Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen stores in July 2016. View a list of all winners here.

Here, two of the many winners—Megan Wells of Makewells, and Hannah Williams—share the inspirations and stories behind their winning submissions.

Megan Wells of Makewells
Makewells Minted Artist Store

Minted: Word on the street is that there’s an interesting story behind your two winning designs—can you share?
Megan Wells: A few of the pieces I entered in the Minted X Pottery Barn Kids X PBteen Wall Art Challenge were from my 365 Sketchbook Project. In May 2015, I decided to create in my sketchbook every single day for 365 days. The only rule was I had to fill up a page, and post it to Instagram (@makewells). When I started this project, my main objective was to simply complete it and accomplish my goal. I had started twice before and didn’t last a month.

I had no idea that this would turn out to be as revealing of a time creatively as it did. The repetition of forcing (or allowing, depending on the day) myself to create whatever I wanted from a blank page became a sort of training, and it completely opened up my eyes to the importance of personal work. Each day I sat down and was able to ask myself, “What do I want to make today?” Some days I gave myself 30 minutes before starting any other tasks. Other days I squeezed in 10 minutes before falling asleep. Occasionally, I’d get lost and spend an hour or two. Now, as I’m writing this, I have two days left. So finding out that Pottery Barn and Minted chose these pieces makes the completion of my goal all too sweet.

What was your experience like with the Minted X Pottery Barn Kids X PBteen Wall Art Challenge?
My experience was a mad frenzy. We had just welcomed our first foster baby into our home, so I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least. When the challenge was announced, I was thinking, “No! Not now! I’m trying to figure out how to be a mom, and you guys launch this competition now?!” But I managed to get a few pieces I’d already created (and hung in the nursery) submitted in time. I didn’t have time to create anything new, but instead pulled from some work I’d created a few weeks and months before the challenge, which was a first for me. And it was also one of the first challenges where I didn’t have time to overthink my submissions, which I tend to do. I just went with my gut and entered few pieces that I was really proud of and that I thought looked great in our own nursery.

You’ve been with Minted since 2012 and have won 45 awards, and counting. How have you grown as an artist in the last four years?
Since joining Minted, I have grown so much as an artist. When I joined the Minted Community, I was using Photoshop Elements on the tiniest laptop screen. I come from a fine arts background and had no digital experience at all. So I figured if I got a stationery pick, I’d get Illustrator and figure out how to use it then. Well, those first few files requests were excruciating, to say the least. There were hours of YouTube videos and so much Googling. But slowly I picked it up. And slowly I learned to trust the community and ask for help. I started getting to know some of the other artists and designers in the community, and getting braver about asking questions. What I love about Minted, is that every time I’ve needed help, there has been someone in the community with a helpful and gracious answer. Learning to ask for help was huge in my growth.

And now, I can truly say that I have real friends in the community. Little bits of online chatter here and there has led to having some special and trusted friends who understand what this crazy creative life is like. And those friendships can really keep you going when you are stressed out and in need of encouragement. I think that positive aspect of the community has also been a factor in my growth as well.


Hannah Williams
Hannah’s Minted Artist Store

What was your experience like with the Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen challenge?
My experience with this challenge was a lot of fun because I have just recently become more interested in doing children’s art. I am inspired by anything fantasy-like or whimsical. I went in super excited to be doing art this time, since I had been submitting so many stationary designs.

Unicorn Dreams” by Hannah Williams, Pottery Barn Kids Editors’ Pick (launching in foil)

How did you approach and create “Unicorn Dreams”?
I knew right off the bat that I wanted to do a unicorn, but I wanted it to have an ethereal and almost celestial feel. I started with the background and the color palette I knew I wanted to use, and I worked my way towards the front, focusing on colors and textures. It was one of those rare instances where my vision actually came through in the end.

Did anyone inspire your work?
I do most of my work in my two-year-old daughter’s bedroom, sitting on the floor with my laptop while she plays. I scanned her room for inspiration, and spotted her unicorn rocking horse that I bought her from—you guessed it—Pottery Barn.

Stay Awesome” by Hannah Williams, PBteen Editors’ Pick (launching in foil)

You’re a newer Minted artist. What has your experience with the Minted community been like so far?
I’m glad you asked this question because it has been quite a discovery for me. I look back at my first submissions and cringe. But I celebrate the growth that I see in myself from one challenge to the next. It really is inspiring and also motivating for me, being a part of the Minted community. It has made me realize just how important being creative is for me.


About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published May 31, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.

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