Minted artist finds inspiration despite health challenges

Kailyn Glassmacher, who is deaf, is one of 10 people in the world who has a rare muscular dystrophy-like syndrome. She recently won her first Minted design challenge, and we were blown away with her response to our question: What was most inspiring about 2015? Read her story here.

This was both a difficult and inspirational year for me.

I was born profoundly deaf with a rare form of muscular dystrophy-like syndrome. I am in a wheelchair full time and communicate using American Sign Language. My syndrome was only recently identified, and I am only one of 10 people in the world who has this disease—I am the oldest and only girl to have it.

Although it has been difficult, I haven’t let it stop me. I graduated from Gallaudet University with bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Graphic Design. I now work as a freelance graphic designer and continue to search for a full-time job that matches my artistic style.

In 2015, I was hospitalized twice for significant periods of time. I joined the Minted community between hospital stays to share my work and improve my art skills. Joining Minted kept me focused on my art and allowed me to forget about my illness. It helped me to develop a passion for stationery design that I didn’t know I had. I began working on the designs for my older sister’s wedding, which came out looking great! I am so proud of them. The wedding was wonderful, and I was well enough to fulfill my duties as maid of honor.

Although this was a tough year with my health, it was also a surprisingly wonderful and inspiring time in my career as an artist.

American Sign Language Love” Valentine’s Day Greeting Card by Kailyn Glassmacher

We’re honored that Kailyn has joined Minted’s global community of independent artists and designers, and we hope to see more of her designs in our assortment of holiday cardslimited-edition art, and home decor.


What was most inspiring about 2015 for you? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
How does food inspire your creativity?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?

Published December 10, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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The EveryGirl leads Makers Night with Chicago artists

What do you get when you combine artists, bloggers, and a DIY project? Minted Makers Night, a celebration of Minted’s independent artist community, talented writers, and crafty cheer.

On December 2, Minted and The EveryGirl co-hosted the third Makers Night at Interior Define, a modern custom sofa company, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. While noshing on hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, everyone worked on the featured project: a wood serving tray covered with fabric designed by Chicago area Minted artists. Bloggers from The Golden Girl Blog, The Sweet Season, Michaela Noelle, and more participated as well.

Artist Angela Marzuki said the best part of the evening was catching up with other members of the Minted community. “There is so much time spent online critiquing each other’s work, cheering one another on, discussing common goals, and sharing both the successes and failures,” she said. “It really does feel like you already know one another, like getting together with a bunch of really great friends.”

Chicago Minted artist duo Baumbirdy designed the event invitation, “Floral Peace.”

Minted artists and Chicago bloggers connected over their shared interest in beautiful design.

This Minted table runner, “Simple Sprig,” was designed by Chicago artist Erin Deegan.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Lori Wemple

Lori Wemple has had quite a year. When we asked her to name the highlight of 2015, she said, “I can’t name just one!” Among just a few of her high points, the work-from-home illustrator listed spending time with her kids in the summer, a cruise with her husband, and lettering the Minted booth at the National Stationery Show in New York. Here, the North Carolina artist-designer talks about balancing her career with family, everyday inspirations, and how Minted changed her life.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I’ve worked a variety of design jobs, including prepress for a printer, newspaper art director, grocery chain designer, and museum designer, and each one taught me different aspects of design. I feel like all of those things have come together to help me work independently.

What’s a typical day for you?
Each day is a little different. My daughter is home with me most days, and I like to really enjoy our time together. We go to the park, play with friends, or visit the library and then pick up my son from school. Then the three of us do something together before dinner (including swimming and art classes), then homework and reading stories. I often have to catch up on work at night after they are in bed.

How did you first hear about Minted?
I saw an ad for Minted while flipping through a magazine during my maternity leave with my daughter, Elle, in 2011. I loved my full-time job, but I really wanted to find a way to work and be home with my kids with a more flexible schedule. I am ever-grateful for that fortunate moment because it literally changed my life.

What do you enjoy most about the Minted community?
I’ve made so many friends through the community and found people who share the same joy for design, and struggle with the same challenges of balancing work and raising a family. The community is so enthusiastic and supportive, and I am so happy to be a part of it and give back the support that I have received.

What have you learned from being part of the Minted community?
Design is a process, a struggle, a challenge that you put your whole self into, and it feels personal and emotional. It feels this way for all those who create, and accepting those challenges and staying positive are so important. Realizing that we all feel this way, and being there to support each other and cheer each other on makes us better designers and better individuals.

In the Flowers” by Lori Wemple

Your Minted work spans a variety of categories, from Stationery to Home Decor. Which category do you enjoy most?
I truly love them all. I enjoy trying different mediums and being able to experiment and step outside of my comfort zone. Each category has its own challenges and advantages. I’m recently exploring soft toys; it’s so fun to see a two-dimensional piece of art come to life.

Lori Wemple’s son Connor and daughter Elle. All portraits by Candy Howard Photography

What’s your family like?
I have a wonderful husband, Brian, who is devoted to family and passionate about his work. I have such admiration and respect for his passion. I have a 6-year-old son named Connor, who’s so smart and creative. He has an engineering mind but loves to paint as well, and I must admit that I often borrow from his palette choices. My daughter Elle is 4 and the happiest, most enthusiastic soul I’ve ever known. She loves to dance and sing and just lights up any room she’s in.

How did you meet your husband?
We went to separate all-girl and all-guy high schools in Tampa. These two schools had extracurricular events together, and we met our senior year in Masque Club—he was the whiz technical guy, and I was an actor. We were fast friends but didn’t start dating until our freshman year, when we decided to take a spontaneous trip and meet in New York, because we attended different colleges at the time. New York City is a special place for us now, because we had our first kiss in front of Radio City Music Hall, and my husband proposed to me a few years later in the same spot.

Lori and her husband Brian

Click through to read more from Minted artist Lori Wemple

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Q&A: How does food inspire your creativity?

At Minted, we believe inspiration is everywhere—you just have to look for it. With Thanksgiving a few days away, we’ve been thinking not only about challenging situations we’re thankful for but also, well, food.

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, artists Rebecca Bowen, Ariel Rutland, and Ann Gardner share stories of how the simple act of enjoying food inspires them.

Rebecca Bowen
Dallas, Texas

I have a strong affinity for food. I mean, I really love food.

Food has shaped all of my favorite vacations, childhood memories, holidays, family meals, and every party I’ve ever hosted or attended. The Food Channel is always on in my house, and my children and I are glued to it.

I’m never without a snack and a tasty beverage at arm’s reach. I cannot say that I am great at cooking, but I do love dreaming up my own creations. My mother just so happens to be the best cook on earth, meshing together her Italian heritage and my father’s Arabic side—we never had a bad meal.

My favorite pastime, aside from designing, is seeking out new restaurants. The whole experience of eating is exciting to me. It’s about eclectic atmospheres and well designed menus, colorful cocktails, and a wonderful aroma in the air. I especially love places that put a lot of creativity into their menu. Pairing unusual food groups in unique ways. I love spicy cocktails, and bacon hidden in my desserts.

Glamour” notebook by Rebecca Bowen

I tend to approach food as I do designs—there must always be something different or unusual thrown in. It must be true to itself yet somehow be set apart from the rest and it does not need to be clouded up with unnecessary ingredients. And like design, the food must be visually interesting. It must be beautiful enough to take a photo of and share it with the world.

Wine-Thirty” Cocktail Party Online Invitation by Rebecca Bowen

All About That Joy” holiday photo card by Rebecca Bowen


Ariel Rutland
Princeton, New Jersey

During the holiday season, I love to make lemon yogurt cake. It’s an old standby that gets me into the wintry spiritespecially when it’s time to dust the top with snowy powdered sugar, which is the perfect opportunity to turn out a festive sugary design.

For this powdered-sugar design, I took the wreath illustration I created for “Winter Joy Wreath” in Illustrator and printed it large on a standard printer paper. Then I painstakingly cut it out with an Exacto knife, and voila! It became a stencil. I laid the stencil over the cake and dusted the sugar on top then lifted off the stencil to reveal the design.

Winter Joy Wreath” self-launch A2 card by Ariel Rutland

Clockwise from top: “Merrily Christmas mini card” gift tag; “Winter Merry Bright” self-launch A2 card; “Geo New Year” self-launch A2 card; “Hanukkah paper cutout card


Ann Gardner
Irving, Texas

When I was young, the aroma of fresh-baked bread filled the house around the holidays. It was a signal that it was officially the holiday season. The time I spent with my mom in the kitchen brought out a love of creating from scratch. From homemade bread and cinnamon rolls to decorating holiday cookies, making things with my hands inspired me to create—and of course, enjoy the fruits of my labor.

A must-have baked good with my family during the holidays is fruitcake. I know what you’re thinking…fruitcake? But my mom’s is so good, chock-full of fruit and just enough batter to hold everything together. And so fresh and moist. Not your typical store-bought fruitcake. As I was working on holiday designs this year, her fruitcake popped into my head, and I saw that great photo of two kids making faces. It seemed like a perfect combination for a fun holiday design.

Holiday Fruitcakes” Christmas photo card by Ann Gardner

The Night Before” holiday photo cards by Ann Gardner


How does food, drink, or a particular meal inspire your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?

Published November 23, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Q&A: What advice was hard to stomach but you now appreciate?

Why is it that you don’t recognize a “blessing in disguise” until you’ve had some distance from it?

We’ve been thinking about taking a step back to reflect on challenging situations that, while bittersweet in the moment, we’re thankful for in the long run. And that’s the impetus for the second edition of #ArtistAdvice. Here, Minted artists Kelly Ventura and Olivia Raufman answer the question What advice was hard to stomach at first but now you’re thankful for?

Kelly Ventura
Milford, Michigan
Kelly’s Minted Artist Store • kellyventura.com • Instagram @KellyVenturaDesign

Learn to accept hearing no and saying no.

When I was laid off from my full-time job in 2011, it was a blessing in disguise, though it stung to the core. I was seven-plus months pregnant with my second child and wondering what would come next. Once the baby was born, I split my time enjoying those first few months in newborn bliss and slowly building my freelance business.

I submitted my portfolio to several dream companies in hopes of a collaboration and repeatedly heard the word, “No.” Rather than wallow in the rejection, I pushed forward and worked hard to develop my style. I knew that’s what was missing in my submission—my voice, style, a certain unique perspective that those retailers were craving. A year later, after painting and patterning my heart out, I showed at Surtex, landed several of those dream clients that rejected me previously, and now feel more confident about my place in this big sea of artists.

I have also found it immensely helpful to make sure that projects and collaborations line up with my vision as an artist-designer. At one time, I was saying yes to everything that came my way, and I noticed a decline in my happiness and quality of work. Now that I have a more defined style and brand identity, it’s easier for me to say no to the projects that don’t strengthen my brand and say yes to the right ones.

Hushed” limited-edition print by Kelly Ventura

Soma” limited-edition print by Kelly Ventura

Click through to read Minted artist Olivia Raufman’s response to the question

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Meet a Minted Artist: Susie Allen

“Nothing is too pedestrian or too weird to experiment with,” says Susie Allen, the Eastman, Georgia, designer and illustrator who uses a variety of materials and a mashup approach to creating her playful, eclectic stationery and art.

A graphic designer for a small printing company by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Allen shares how watercolors, list-making, and even vegetables inspire her work.

Newspaper Sailboat” is Susie Allen’s first-place winner on Minted. “I really love combining type and illustration, and I’m happy with the way this one integrated the two,” she says.

Portraits of Susie Allen by Stephanie Shadden

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I had a creative mom who supported me from the start. As a kid, I didn’t know what graphic design was, but I often gravitated toward projects that combined visual art and lettering. I made my own illustrated books and elaborate, crayon greeting cards for family members, with my own “logo” on the back with my initials, “LSA Greetings.”

Click through to learn more about Minted artist Susie Allen

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Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?

When it comes to cultivating creative inspiration, it seems like there are two schools of thought: One, freeing the mind to let creativity happen when it happens, and two, scheduling yourself “creative thinking time” in order to make it happen.

Of course, there’s no “right” way to inspire creativity—it’s different for everyone—but there may be a best route for you. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, busy Minted artists Alexandra Nazari and Sarah Curry share how scheduling works for them.

Alexandra Nazari
Los Angeles
Minted Artist Store • alexnazari.xyz • Instagram: @AlexandraNazari

I think it’s a very romantic idea to think that artists don’t need some sort of routine. In practice, however, I’ve found that scheduling blocks of time is the best way for me to develop my work. I try to spend at least a few hours every other day at my studio. If I can’t make it there because I’m tired or unmotivated after a long day at my day job, I try to at least tackle some retouching or printing tasks. It’s sort of like working out—even if you can’t make it to the gym every day, there are still ample little ways to maintain your fitness.

If I’m on deadline and creatively stuck, I like to go for a long drive to clear my head. Also, turning off my cell phone is another great way to stay on task.

California Dreams” by Alexandra Nazari

Upside” by Alexandra Naziri


Sarah Curry
Santa Cruz, California
Minted Artist Store • Instagram: @sarahcurrydesign • Twitter: @pinksuitcase
Portraits of Sarah Curry by Blue Lace Photography 

I work full time as an art director, so I have to block out chunks of time during evenings and weekends to design stationery and work on other creative projects. My routine really depends on my available time and deadlines I have to meet.

On weekday evenings, after spending a good part of the day working on a computer, it really helps me to get outside to refocus and refuel my creative energy. On weekends when I have a little more time, I love experimenting with painting and photography, or grabbing my sketchbook and heading to the beach or a coffee shop. I feel like I get more ideas when I work on art that is tactile and exercises different parts of the brain. My Stamped Seashells fabric was the result of an experiment with seashells, sumi ink and kraft paper. Other experiments haven’t turned out as well but I always learn something in the process.

When time is limited or I’m trying to meet a deadline, it’s not uncommon for me to go straight to the computer to start designing or to work late into the night. These times can make for long days and lost sleep, but in the end I think it’s all worth it to do something I love.

Gilded Brush” Foil-Pressed Holiday Card by Sarah Curry

Stamped Seashell” Table Runner by Sarah Curry


How about you—does a scheduled routine inspire or stifle your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Published November 9, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Sometimes fear can be a good thing—in the sense that it can inspire you to take a risk or move in a new direction. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Lehan Veenker, Natalie Groves, and Annie Seaton to answer the question Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Lehan Veenker
Plainfield, Illinois

As strange as it may sound, the thought of not being able to stay at home with my kids scared me. My husband and I always knew that having one of us stay home with our kids was important to us. In order to make that happen, I needed to find a career that would allow me to work at home with kids, and neither of my former professions would allow the time and flexibility to make that a reality.

I have always been fond of art and design and stumbled upon Minted in 2008 when it was just starting. I decided to enter a couple of challenges and didn’t have any winning designs. In my mind, I completely failed to enter anything close to the caliber of designs already present at Minted. I was scared of failing again and missing this amazing opportunity to work at home with our then-future-now-present children, so I took a break to learn. I taught myself about Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, textures, typography—anything design-related that I could get my hands on. This self-teaching hiatus lasted about two years. In September 2010, I decided to give Minted another shot and actually had some winning designs in the wedding challenge that year.

From then on out, I continued to build my collection on Minted, which enabled me to stay at home with my kids. Even before they were born, my children were the catalyst of my graphic design career, and they continue to inspire me every day, as seen in works like my “Heritage Children” art print and my “Enjoy The Little Things” holiday design.

Heritage Children” by Lehan Veenker

Enjoy the Little Things” by Lehan Veenker


Natalie Groves
Exira, Iowa

One day my family and I were checking on our pumpkins, and we came across a giant garden spider! He had intricate yellow designs on his big black body. He was so spooky that we were in awe, and instead of smashing him, we let him be and visited him every time we entered the pumpkin patch (mostly because we didn’t want him to surprise us in a different location). His web became one of the “homes” featured in my latest painting for the A is for Art Challenge.

Our daughter Navine (rhymes with “pine”) loves to investigate new things with her little pointer finger. It’s so fun to teach her about the world, and I love that I can do that through illustration.

Homes” by Natalie Groves

Name Bearers” by Natalie Groves


Annie Seaton with two Two Venice Beach longboarders. (Photo by Sonja Schenk)

Annie Seaton
Sherman Oaks, California

That would be pretty much everything. Let’s start with my decision to get pregnant and have two kids. I was scared to let go of my career and allow myself to become a mother. I always tell my children they are my best creative project. I never anticipated they’d become my best muses.

One of the reasons I named my daughter Violet was after a favorite oil color “Quinachridone Violet.” I felt her name reflected my creative values. Now, some of my bestselling artworks and paintings are of Zac and Violet. I would have never guessed I would paint them, and documented their entire childhood through my lens and paintings.

Secondly, I took a risk and decided to be a full-time artist after raising them. I moved into my own art studio and exhibited in the U.S. and Canada. It was a scary risk to not go back to a traditional job, and years later my artworks are selling in my Minted Artist Store.

Lastly, I did return to work and ran a brand-new photo gallery from the ground up as its director. I was scared, because I didn’t know if I could handle it and be a mom at the same time. I built up its program from zero, curated bi-monthly exhibitions, threw major special events, and grew to a very significant place in the L.A. photo scene. I was scared but I told myself,  “Don’t think Annie—just do it.” And it was one of the best projects I ever did and I’m proud of every exhibition and all the artist friendships I’ve made there.

Zachary And Violet Oxnard I” by Annie Seaton  

Zach and Violet Intertube” by Annie Seaton


How about you—has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME

Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?
How has education inspired your creativity?

Published October 26, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Advice is like a train. You can take it or leave it.

For the launch of our #ArtistAdvice series, we asked Minted artists Tanya Lee of Frooted Design and Eric Beckett of GeekInk to share the best career advice they’ve ever received. Luckily, it shaped their paths for the better.

Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep. For upcoming editions of #ArtistAdvice, we’ll take a deeper dive into advice ranging from artistic techniques, personal branding, and life-changing insights.

Tanya Lee of Frooted Design
Orange County, California

Think of your computer as just another tool. If you always begin there, then what you can or cannot do on the computer limits your full creative potential.

Practically speaking, this means I usually begin a project by writing word lists, sketching, or experimenting with new mediums. Sometimes it means taking a step back and just hanging out with my family, who often proves to be my best inspiration. For example, “Splash-o-saurus” was inspired by spending the summer swimming with my dino-loving 5-year-old son).

(Right) “Splash-0-Saurus” Art Print by Frooted Design

Peace on Earth’s Globe” Business Holiday Card by Frooted Design


Eric Beckett of GeekInk
Los Angeles

In the middle designing an invitation for a Minted wedding Design Challenge, my wife walked in and saw that I was working on a floral-themed wedding invite. In a confused voice, she asked, “Why are you trying to do florals? That’s not your style.”

That one small question made me stop and really think about what I was doing. My florals were horrible, and I realized that the key to me being a successful designer wasn’t in trying to do what other successful designers were doing, but to find what I could do better. It freed me from the stigma that “florals always win,” and I was able to think outside the box and design what I thought looked cool. Sometimes the best advice isn’t advice at all, but simply asking the right questions. The next day, I started working on my Antique Lines design, and to this day, it’s still one of my favorite creations.

Antique Lines” Foil-Pressed Wedding Invitation by GeekInkDesign

Merry Little Lines” Holiday Card by GeekInk Design


What’s the best career advice you’ve received? Share your answer in Comments below and on social media with the hashtag #ArtistAdvice.
This is the first edition of Minted’s #ArtistAdvice series. Get a glimpse into more Minted artists’ lives in our #WhatInspiresMe series:
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Who is your biggest creative influence?

Friends, family, strangers, enemies, teachers, other artists. There are so many people who inspire artists—and sometimes without consciously realizing it. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Minted artists Naomi Ernest, Melissa Egan of pistols, and Alexandra Dzh to tell us who inspires them most.

Naomi Ernest
Ann Arbor, Michigan

My main sources of inspiration begin with my family. Growing up, my parents were both artists-on-the-side. By example, they instilled in me the idea that art is an everyday part of life. These days, my five kids are daily reminders of the importance of the creative process; their blithe, uninhibited approach is evident every time I watch them.

Recently I’ve also been reconnecting to my family history, creating work as homage to my copper mining ancestors and their life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And, of course, a passion for my local environment is always evident—the lakes, landscapes, and resources of my home state of Michigan provide constant connection and inspiration for colors, textures, and themes in my work.

Drift” by Naomi Ernest

December – Turquoise” by Naomi Ernest


Melissa Egan of Pistols
Portland, Oregon

One of my biggest creative influences is my husband, John. He’s a brilliant painter, curator, and craftsman who makes everything from furniture to movie props. He’s taught me so much about the importance of taking your time to make something right, paying attention to details, and staying true to your personal aesthetic instead of only following trends.

Gilded Trees” by pistols

Dipped Feathers” by pistols


Alexandra Dzh
Vienna, Austria

There are a lot of people who inspire me, but one of the biggest creative influences is Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger. In my opinion, the charm of her illustrations lies in her delicate watercolor style, the diversity and strength of her colors, her great perception for detail. Lisbeth’s delightful and lyrical pictures always serve me as powerful source of inspiration.

Flowers Everywhere” by Alexandra Dzh

Bouquet” by Alexandra Dzh


Who is your biggest creative influence? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

Need a quick creative pick-me-up? Read Minted artists’ solutions here.

Published September 28, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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