Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: designer and photographer Whitney Deal, who lives and works in Wilkesboro, NC.

Whitney Deal interned at Martha Stewart Living magazine and studied fashion design at Parsons before moving into photography. Here, the multidisciplinary artist and maker shares a peek at her creative life in rural Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Years of making and experimenting. I started out as a graphic designer, moved into photography, took a few years to learn the craft of garment design, and now my creative life is a mash of all those things. My husband and I ran a successful photography business for several years until we had children. We opted for a less transient lifestyle after that, so now I’m solo, blending my passions of photography, sewing, painting, quilting, and simply making all together, with a touch of freelance design on the side. Most recently, my second daughter had heart surgery as a newborn in 2014 which has led me to pursue an interest in medicine. My life and work is a blend of past experiences and a range of interests, and that’s the way I like it.

Did you study photography formally in school?
I have two undergraduate degrees, one in graphic design, the other fashion design. I started a grad program in photography but skipped out after a year because it wasn’t the right time for me.

Where do you currently reside?
A small town in western North Carolina where I was raised. I’ve had the opportunity to live in different types of places (Savannah, NYC, Raleigh) but now that I have a young family, the slow pace and familiarity—you just can’t beat that.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
Along with all of my creative endeavors, I also stay home with my two young daughters, so most days are structured around them. I maintain an Etsy shop with PDF sewing patterns, so I’m often found sewing up new designs or managing that store. I paint to relax, so when I have a few minutes to myself, you can find me with my watercolors. And of course my photography, which on a typical day means snapping memories of my girls.

Please tell us about your studio space.
I keep my sewing machine out, a table to spread out on, and a pin-up board beside me. And light, lots of light.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
I get pretty excited and energized by productivity and it has taken me a long time to understand that unfortunately I can’t add more hours into a day; so learning to accept that sometimes you just have to surrender to the day and start again tomorrow is a rule I try to live by when balancing life and work.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
It’s always been a sewing machine and my camera.

What is your creative process like?
I typically start with an idea and then it’s GO time. When the juices are flowing, I’m making. I have to remind myself to slow down and reflect.

When did you take up photography?
After college I interned with Martha Stewart Living magazine in the art department. I enjoyed what I did with that department but I was most intrigued with the photo shoots and what the photographer was doing. As soon as I finished up that internship, I bought a camera and took a few photography classes at a local art center.

What are your favorite subject matters?
I’ve always had a thing for still life. Give me a bowl of fruit on a table any day!

Do you primarily shoot digitally or with film?
Now I shoot digitally, mostly because of the expense of film, but every now and again I’ll pull out the film cameras and take it slow.

Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

Click through to read more about Minted artist Whitney Deal and her work

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Chicago Artists Create Collages at Self-Organized Meetup

“I have glitter glue on the front of my jacket, so I’ll carry a little bit of the meetup forever with me,” joked Melissa Egan, a Chicago artist who goes by Pistols on Minted. On a rainy Sunday afternoon on April 10, she and four fellow Chicago area Minted artists got together to create collages at One Strange Bird in Wicker Park.

Pooja Pittie, a new community member and recent first-time winner of the Minted x West Elm Round 4 Art Challenge, organized the event. “For a Minted newbie like me, it was incredible to meet other artists,” she said. “Our interaction in the community is usually online, so it was really nice to meet in person and get a glimpse of everyone’s artistic process as we worked through the collage board.”

Here’s a recap of the event. If you’re interested in organizing a Minted Artist Meetup in your area, please fill out this form.

Let the collaging begin! Clockwise from top: Pooja Pittie, Lindsay Megahed, Johanna Phillips Huuva, and Melissa Egan of Pistols.

Before we dove into creating our own collages, the teacher at One Strange Bird shared these samples of collages made by other artists.

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How to Thrive During Minted’s Holiday Challenge Season

We’ve heard from Minted artists that some of you are a little stressed right now, because we’re in the thick of Minted’s annual holiday design challenge season. To provide insights about staying cool, calm, and creatively collected, the best sources of advice often come from leaders in the community. Here, Minted artists Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus and Lea Delaveris answer this question: What’s your best advice for avoiding burnout and staying motivated, especially during the holiday design challenge season?

Amy Ehmann
Denver, Colorado
Design Lotus Minted Artist Store

Pray before I work. I once read an interview where Megan Gonzalez of Mae Mae & Co. said this is her motto: “People Before Paper. Prayer Before Productivity.” It stuck with me. So I try to pray before each workday that I would do my very best to honor God with my work and time.

Participate in community. I’ve been participating in the Minted holiday challenges since 2008. There were years when I was very heavily involved in community and years where I was not. I’ve found that I do better the years when I am involved and active in the community. I think the process is much more enjoyable and the real-time feedback is invaluable. It’s like having a team of design experts eager to help you grow and improve.

Try something new. It’s easy to get bored if you’re doing the same thing over and over again. I’m a creature of habit, and many of you probably see my work as nothing groundbreaking. For me, “new” may be using a new font, trying a new technique, or learning a new software. I am trying really hard to stick to my brand and style, and that is new for me…

Keep my eye on the prize. I try my very best to block out time for the Minted holiday challenge each year. This is my bread and butter, so I need to give it as much undivided attention as I can, without neglecting my family too much. I am blessed to have a husband who is incredibly supportive and not only helps pick up my slack, but reminds me to keep focused.

Perfect Harmony” foil-pressed wedding invitation by Design Lotus

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Birth Announcements Challenge: Special Prize Winners

New parents come to Minted in search for a birth announcement that is just as unique and special as their newborn baby. We looked to you, our talented Minted community, to deliver the most creative and fresh designs our customers have ever seen! We looked for a wide range of styles, from traditional and classic to modern and contemporary. We were blown away with the submissions we received in this challenge. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

We’re thrilled to share the guest judge for this challenge, Jacqui Saldana from Baby Boy Bakery, selected Susan Brown’s And More design for our Guest Judge Award.


For the most design-forward, innovative birth announcement 
that you would only find at Minted
Gilded Baby by Petra Kern

Runners-up: Pretty Pinwheels by Kristie Kern | meadows by Jennifer Wick
Party Time by Fig and Cotton Paperie


For the best design featuring multiple photos
Refreshing Gallery by Carolyn MacLaren

Runners-up: Nonpareil by Sarah Brown | Heart by peony papeterie
Measures of Love by Hooray Creative


For the best classic design that will appeal to more traditional parents
Petite Elephant by toast & laurel

Runners-up: Classic Name by Stacey Meacham | Classic Monogram by Fig and Cotton Paperie
Delicate by Jessica Williams


For the most differentiated and unique full bleed photo design
Baby Stats by Christina Novak

Runners-up: Intersect by Lauren Chism | softly brushed by Angela Marzuki
hello little love by Frooted Design


For the best design announcing twins or multiples
double delight by Cheer Up Press

Runners-up: Instant Family by 24th and Dune | Simple Sophistication by Jessica Williams
Plus by Olivia Raufman

Click through for more special prize winners

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Winners: Become the Face of Minted Weddings

We asked our wonderful customers and fans to submit their favorite engagement and save-the-date photos for a chance to be featured in Minted’s newest wedding stationery collections. Amazingly, we received a whopping 3,630 submissions (way to make our jobs difficult!) and are so pleased to announce the winning shots. Check them out below, along with notes from our editors on how they selected the winners. Congratulations to all!

Minted Weddings Model Winners“Adorable! We loved this playful-yet-candid moment captured
in this stylish couple’s engagement photo.”

Editor’s Award: Best Photo
The couple: Tennessee Gist & Collin Hauser
Based in: Dallas, TX
Photographer: Ellen Wildhagen


Minted Weddings Model Winners“This shot feels like a magical stolen moment. The city lights, her chic jacket, the bustling background—no wonder this was the top-voted photo!”

The Award: Top Voted
The couple: Pedro Pacheco & Bruna Camargo
Based in: Novi, MI
Photographer: Remy Roman


Minted Weddings Model Winners“These sweet lovebirds are so dapper! Their elegant outfits combined
with those rich, fall colors are perfection.”

Editor’s Award: Black Tie Couple
For the couple with the best engagement photos with a formal feel
The couple: Anh Do & Vu Nguyen
Photographer: Christine Farah


Minted Weddings Model Winners“We loved the contrast between their crisp, stylish outfits and the soft, hazy
Eiffel Tower behind them. So evocative and romantic.”

Editor’s Award: Best Destination
The couple with the most breathtaking destination engagement photos (from beaches to mountains to getaways abroad)
The couple: Keith Barry & Paul Vouriot
Photographer: Brian Wright of French Grey Photography


Minted Weddings Model Winners“Smoke bombs?! Such a genius way to add some color and drama to your engagement photos.”

Editor’s Award: Most Creative Couple
The couple with the most unique engagement photos, like we’ve never seen before
The couple: Sarah Mohammadi & Ryan Platt
Photographer: Brogen Jessup


Minted Weddings Model Winners“This sweet shot feels very natural and in-the-moment, and made us feel all warm and cozy!” 

Editor’s Award: Baby It’s Cold Outside
The couple with beautiful engagement photos set in the fall or winter to complement our latest autumnal and wintry designs
The couple: Molly Horn & Johann Lepasana
Photographer: Jessica Mernin of Jessica Lindy Photography


More from Minted:
• Wedding Invitations
• Save the Date Cards
• Wedding Websites

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Expert Tips for Self-Launching Minted Home Decor

Minted’s Self-launch Home Decor is an industry game-changer. When Minted artists self-launch one fabric design to their Artist Store, they will automatically be able to sell eight products using that fabric: fabric by the yard, pillows, curtains, drum lampshades, chandelier lampshades, placemats, napkins, and table runners.

“Watercolor Dots” Home Decor by Erin Niehenke

If you recently opened your Minted Artist Store and want to learn about the self-launch process, read these FAQs. Download self-launch templates here.

Kirby Lee Smith, a Minted artist who works by day as a home decor and fabric designer for a leading fashion designer—and who formerly created home decor for Target—shares these seven insights about the intricate details and the bigger picture of home decor design.

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Kristen Smith Serves as Minted’s Community Ambassador

Minted artist Kristen Smith was at the top of the list of candidates for the first Minted ambassador, a pilot program we created to help artists connect with each other in their local regions of the world. Minted artists are constantly connecting with each other online, and routinely share with us how much they enjoy meeting and interacting with other community members in person. As the Minted Artist Ambassador, Kristen volunteers to organize a number of events for existing community members and prospectives in and around her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

“Kristen is a passionate advocate for the Minted community, excellent at coming up with fun ideas, has good relationships with the creative community in Atlanta and has an infectious enthusiasm,” says Anthea Tjuanakis Cox, Minted’s Director of Artist Relations. “You can’t help but feel better after chatting with Kristen.”

Here, Kristen shares a few thoughts about the ambassador program.

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Meet the Minted Judge: Haskell Harris of Garden and Gun

As Style Director of Garden & Gun Magazine, Haskell Harris knows a thing or two about good design, which is why we asked her to be a guest judge in Minted’s first religious Christmas photo card challenge. Along with Summer Bellessa and Brooke White from The Girls with Glasses, Haskell will select one of her favorite designs in the “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” Quickfire Challenge to feature on her Instagram, @haskellharris.

In the following interview, Haskell talks about the power of storytelling and the journey of honing personal style. Read about more Minted Design Challenge guest judges here. Read Haskell’s Garden & Gun blog posts here.

Minted: As style director of Garden & Gun, you oversee fashion, entertaining, interior design, architecture, gardens, and Southern artisans—which is a lot! What is your philosophy about directing style for all these topics?

Haskell Harris: From day one at G&G, I wanted the style content to reflect the same soulfulness and great storytelling that the rest of the magazine is known for. Yes, we feature houses and gardens, beautiful clothes, artisans, and entertaining, but unlike a lot of other titles covering similar content, G&G doesn’t just run pretty photos and leave it at that. We show you the people and the craftsmanship behind the things that would otherwise just be things, and the history and pride of places that make those things compelling.

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Font Award Roundup: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prize winners for our Font Awards! This award is for the design that introduces the best font that we purchase and add to the Minted Font List. We’re always looking to the community to help us surface fresh new fonts to add to our Minted Font List. If you have a vision for an amazing design that uses a font not in our font library, feel free to use it in your submission. You can read more about Minted fonts here. A huge congrats to all the winners and runners-up!

Winter Wonderland Non-Photo Holiday Card Challenge
The Most Wonderful Type Award


 The Most Wonderful Time 2015 Holiday Card Challenge
Fa La La La Font Award

Runners-up: Unleash the Joy by Sandra Picco Design | Sweet Merriest by Melanie Severin


Fall & Winter Digital Invitations Challenge
 Top Type Award


All You Need is Love Valentine’s Day Challenge
 Font Award


 Everlasting Love Save the Date Challenge
 Font Award

Runner-up: Hepburn by toast & laurel


Font Awards will be announced as a roundup three times a year. We also update our Minted Font List regularly, and include new fonts in our Community Newsletter.

You can purchase all of these fonts by using the links below:

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Minted Artists Pay It Forward

It takes a community to thrive as an independent artist.

To celebrate Minted’s extraordinary community spirit, we bring you Pay It Forward, our campaign to help Minted artists connect, collaborate, and succeed during the 2016 Holiday Stationery Design Challenge season. Because artists tell us that peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of the Minted community, we’ve compiled these resources to help you give and receive quality feedback, stay inspired, and get the most out of the Minted challenge process. Stay tuned for updates.

Julep Features

Critiquing Advice
7 Ways to Master Art and Design Critiques (insights from Parsons School of Design faculty)
15 Questions to Inspire Quality Art Critiques
10 Tips for Critiquing Minted Art and Designs (insights from the community)

Thrive During the Holiday Challenge Season
5 Ways to Connect With the Minted Artist Community
6 Tips for Success in Minted Challenges
4 Mantras for Being Boss in Work and Life
How to Thrive During Minted’s Holiday Challenge Season

Creative Inspiration
7 Podcasts for Inspiring Your Creativity
Minted’s 20 First-Place Challenge Winners of 2015


Critique Awards

Chance to win a Minted feedback session

To recognize constructive feedback, we award critiquers in every Minted Design challenge.

Give fifteen or more constructive comments in the New Year’s Challenge by the time voting opens and you’ll be automatically entered in a random drawing to win a one-on-one feedback session with a Minted merchant of your choice! Remember, this is not a numbers game — quality feedback is much more valuable than quantity of feedback. Make sure to use the “Mark as Constructive” button to reward great feedback when you see it.This will be based on the Feedback leaderboard for each challenge, and we will combine results from the foil and non-foil version of each challenge.


Community Connections

Join our Facebook group
The Minted Community Facebook Group is open to all Minted artists who have submitted to at least one design challenge. Connect, share resources, and ask questions in this active global group. Learn how to join here.

Call in, meet up, get involved
The Minted team hosts weekly office hours, quarterly calls, meetups, and other community events. View and subscribe to our events calendar here. Are you interested in hosting a Minted meetup in your area? Fill out this form.

Join the Buddy Program
The Minted Buddy Program is an opportunity for you to make a deeper connection with one to two other artists. We pair people based on personality, experience, and category (art, stationery, etc.). Learn more here.


How the Minted Artist Community
Pays It Forward

Jennifer Postorino
Eight-time Minted Critique Award winner

“Taking time to critique designers is important to me, not only for their growth, but for mine as well. It keeps my current skills in check and allows me to continue learning as a designer. I’ve learned so much from so many designers. I honestly can’t believe where I am at today. Not only do I feel like I have gained some real friendships simply by reaching out to people, but my design skills have gotten so much better.”

Christian Bennin
from in “Ever Thought About Your Creative Turnoffs?” on Julep

“I get over creative blocks faster as I get critiques from other designers, and the creative briefs for each project really help me focus my thoughts. The story of my first Minted design challenge illustrates my point perfectly. The first competition I entered was the grad challenge. I was a bit over-eager and posted a quickly created design that hadn’t been thought through very well. Once I submitted my design, I saw how the critique process worked and got really inspired by it. I decided to sit down and really do this. I sketched and designed two versions of a new design and used the community polling feature to narrow down to the option that eventually won me my first award! It was a great eye-opener to me and example of how the process can work.”

Julie Green of Up Up Creative
from “Meet a Minted Artist” on Julep

“I once left a comment on one of Jen Wick’s designs with a few minor-detail suggestions about sizing this up, rotating that, and moving it all over or something like that, and she commented back to me privately that I’d make a good art director. Ever since her comment, I think I approach my work very differently. Having a designer who I like and admire point out this strength just changed me. It has added a whole new layer to my interaction with my own work, and it has helped me better understand what I like and don’t like about stuff out in the world. I think the work I’ve produced in the time since Jen’s comment is more confident, more purposeful, more polished, and more wholly mine.”

Susan Brown

“When I was a newbie and saw Karly Depew‘s save the date design ‘Timeless’ in the Jan 2012 challenge, I went to her page and asked her advice. She sent me an email where she presented my design in three different type styles and explained the importance of typography. So special.”


Published March 24, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.

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