7 Podcasts For Inspiring Your Creativity

What inspires your best creative work—audio stimulation or the sound of silence? Some artists need absolute quiet; others, not so much. Jennifer Wick, a prolific artist with 283 Minted Design Challenge wins to her name, says she is unable to work in silence, so she fills the void with good music and talks. “I remember getting my first walkman in sixth grade and raiding my older sister’s mixed tapes, finding a whole new world of music that put me in such an inspired mood,” the Pennsylvania artist says. “From then on, I’ve always worked with music or the news in the background.”

Especially during Minted’s busy holiday stationery design challenge season each spring, Jennifer’s working ritual includes several podcasts per week, in addition to Pandora, HGTV, and the Food Network. If you’re looking for recommendations for podcasts to help stimulate creativity, you’ve come to the right place. With so, so many great podcasts to choose from, we’re limiting our list to seven, but we’d love to hear your ideas—share them in Comments below.

Podcasts About Art, Design, and Creativity

The Jealous Curator: Art for Your Ear

Danielle Krysa is the blogger behind The Jealous Curator, the author of Creative Block, and the host of Art for Your Ear, the podcast featuring “inside-scoop stories from the artsiest people” she knows. Minted artist Kelly Schmidt likes Art for Your Ear for its tips and tricks about artists’ technical aspects, creative process, and materials. “Danielle talks to artists about challenges they face and how they found success,” Kelly says. “There are common themes about artists who are parents, as well as comments about insecurities as artists, which I’m guessing many of us relate to.”

Kelly suggests listening to the episode featuring fellow Minted artist Jaime Derringer (“Design Milk by Day & Sketchbooks by Night”), and to inspire holiday spirit, Kelly likes “The Best Gift Ever,” in which 12 artists talk about the best gift they’ve ever received. She also loves: Xochi Solis: “Paper Nerds Unite“; Kiana Mosley “Late One Night“; and Maryann Moodie: “Textiles Treasures, and a New Tribe.”

The work of textile artist Maryanne Moodie

Design Matters

Design Matters is the world’s first podcast about design and an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, artists, curators, musicians, and other leaders of contemporary thought. Host Debbie Millman has interviewed more than 250 design luminaries and cultural commentators, including Massimo Vignelli, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Barbara Kruger, and Seth Godin.

Creative Commoners

Creative Commoners explores a particular topic about the creative process, with each host bringing their own flavor and experience to the mix, and plenty of witty and tangential banter to keep things fun. Jennifer Wick recommends “Episode 140: How the Creative Mind Works” (skip to 15:35), in which the speakers talk about their creative processes and the mind exercises they do to help get ideas flowing. “For me, I’ll do whatever it takes to put myself in the holiday mindset,” Jennifer says.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: artist and designer Derek Overfield, who is currently based in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Derek Overfield studied fine arts and graphic design at Fairmont State University alongside his wife and fellow painter (and Minted artist!) Lauren Adams. Working with charcoal and pastel on paper, as well as latex and acrylic paint on canvas, his bold pieces focus on the human figure. Here, Derek discusses life as a working artist, including overcoming artist’s block and challenging himself to create at least one drawing a day.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Making and studying figurative art has always been a big part of my life. As a child I studied very closely the dynamic figures of comic book art, learning what I feel is the unique and expressive language of the body. That study of the figure continued into college where I was introduced to so many amazing examples of the human form in art history. This is also when I began to work from life models and from my own image. I set a goal as a student to complete a large-scale figure drawing every day, which I have stuck to as closely as possible since. I continue to be amazed at the potential of the figure in art.

Did you study art formally in school?
Yes, I have a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Fairmont State, where I studied with acclaimed painter Lynn Boggess and met my future wife (and also a Minted artist), Lauren Adams.

Where do you currently reside?
I live in a small town in West Virginia and have always been proud to call this state my home. It has remarkable beauty and my family’s roots here go back to the 1700s.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I work on at least one drawing a day. On top of that, I usually work on canvases or do the not-so-fun stuff of  building our stretchers, stretching and priming canvas, etc. There’s always other work like photographing pieces, answering customer’s emails, updating my website, and social media.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I feel that art should come from a place of love. It’s difficult to explain, but I feel the artist should be moved by the subject matter first, before they can ever hope to move their audience.

How would you describe your artistic style?
Expressive, simple and bold, classic and modern.

What painting techniques have you been working with lately?
My works on paper could be characterized as a sustained gestural technique. They take elements from both classical drawing and expressive work. My works on canvas have a similar approach, and I’ve developed a technique of painting that feels very much like drawing.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

Please tell us about your studio space.
We have converted part of our 1935 two-story house into a studio space. We’ve renovated two rooms into one studio space, large enough to accommodate both of our needs!

When did you begin painting?
I began painting in college, watercolor landscapes on location.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
On paper, charcoal and/or pastel. On canvas, latex and/or acrylic paint.

What is your creative process like?
I use my works on paper as a way of preparing for and experimenting with themes for my larger canvas works.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

What are your favorite subject matters?
The human figure, usually in reference to a heroic or tragic theme.

Your work primarily focuses on the human form, almost always with the male figure. How did you arrive at this?
I’ve done figurative work of both genders, but the stylistic approach I’m currently employing has a very masculine feel to it. I feel it works best with the male figure at the moment.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
That’s a great question. So many movements have embraced figurative art, so they usually always speak to me. I would say that the most essential would be the late classical period of Greece/Rome and the High Renaissance of Italy, with their humanistic focus on the figure as the epitome of artistic expression. I respond to non-figurative work as well, and really admire the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Their embrace of the artist’s personal touch and view of art-making as an event, very much influences my approach to art.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Couldn’t pass up the chance to witness Michelangelo at work, or anywhere, really. I don’t think I’d have the guts to speak to him though!

Click through to read more about Minted artist Derek Overfield and his work

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Baby Shower Idea: Tropical Jungle

Coming up with a fun and fresh baby-shower theme can be a bit of a challenge, but as soon as I saw Rebecca Turner’s “Jungle Fun” fabric, I knew it’d be perfect. The cheerful, illustrated pattern is just the right mix of playfulness and whimsy, and just begs to be the star of the show at the party. So, shower the mama-to-be with a jungle-themed celebration with darling decorations, freshly cut palm leaves, and plenty of tropical touches. Keep reading for our party-throwing tips…

jungle baby shower for minted by kelli hallrebecca turner jungle fun print table linen for jungle baby showerRebecca Turner’s “Jungle Fun” fabric inspired the whole shower vibe.

jungle baby shower for minted styled by kelli hall

1. Set the tone with a bold print.
This table is deceptively simple to pull together: All you need are simple dishware paired with fresh-cut palms. This lets the tablecloth be the real star, acting as a focal point and infusing the tabletop with playful energy. I especially love how this print feels like a storybook narrative is unfolding across the table. And the beauty of using a strong statement print as the focal point on the table is it becomes a jumping-off point for all other party elements.

wildflower journal j.bartyn for minted

In addition to the table linen, I used details like this custom baby journal (above) to incorporate other patterns with a similar jungle vibe, like the winding vines and green palm prints on the cover.

hibiscus fizz cocktail jungle baby shower by kelli hall for minted

2. Serve tropical-themed nibbles.
The party menu doesn’t have to be complicated; simple tropical-inspired flavors will create the right vibe. Think: coconut-lime chicken salad, tropical fruit skewers, or prosciutto crostini. For drinks, I served up this recipe for hibiscus soda (with a couple of minor tweaks—I went lighter on the hibiscus tea and swapped the raspberries for hibiscus flowers).

jungle baby shower for mintedI love how the linear pattern on the baby shower invitation feels like a stylized palm illustration.

baby tiger stationery by rebecca turner for minted

3. Get creative with gifts.
What’s a baby shower without a few presents for the mom-to-be? One of my favorite ideas: Gifting the guest of honor with coordinating stationery that she can use once the little one arrives (made extra-special by printing the new baby’s name up top!). Another idea: A custom baby book for her to record special events from baby’s first year.

gold jungle animal place card holdersGold elephants and tigers make the perfect place card holders.

jungle print baby shower for mintedThese “Sprinkled Love” place cards complement the linen’s navy-blue snake illustrations.

Click through for more tips on throwing a jungle-themed baby shower


Minted Real Wedding: Dawn & Tommy in Los Angeles

When a wedding industry pro gets married, you know it’s going to be one helluva party. And that’s exactly what happened last August, when San Diego-based wedding photographer Dawn Parker married her police-officer beau Tommy Charles. The couple chose 440 Seaton, an industrial warehouse in Los Angeles’ Arts District, as the site for their nuptials, and added decorations to help “bring the outdoors in,” with loads of lush greenery, wood surfaces, antlers, and globe lights.

440 Seaton Wedding in Los Angeles

Bride and groom: Dawn Parker & Tommy Charles
Occupations: Wedding photographer (bride); police officer (groom)
Based in: San Diego, CA
Wedding date: August 22, 2015
Wedding venue: 440 Seaton, Los Angeles
Number of guests: 190
Minted wedding invitation: “Modern Botanicals” by Natalie Nakai
Wedding gown: Anna Campbell
Wedding Coordinator: Jen Krueger Design
Florist: Flowers by Hilary
Cake: Susie Cakes
Photographer: Lauren Scotti Photographer

How did you and Tommy meet?
Through mutual friends at a game night.

Tell us about the proposal!
Tommy took me to Balboa Park in San Diego and proposed in front of the botanical gardens. All of our family members were hiding and watching from a bridge across the reflecting pool.

What was the wedding-dress shopping process like?
It was amazing. I found my Anna Campbell dress at The Dress Theory in San Diego. It was the first dress I tried on and I fell in love!

Los Angeles Wedding at 440 Seaton

Click through for more from Dawn and Tommy’s celebration


Graduation Art Gifts Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prize winners from our Graduation Art Gift Challenge! With graduation just around the corner, we’re looking forward to celebrating the class of 2016. Graduation is a large, important event in our customers’ lives, and parents and students alike will be looking for that perfect keepsake as a graduation gift for their daughters, sons, or fellow graduates. We looked to you, our talented Minted community, to create pieces that would help customers remember one of life’s greatest milestones. A huge congrats to all the winners!

Out of the Box Award
For the most unique and creative graduation art gift
Done!” by Alisa Hall

Collage Award
For the best photo art gift incorporating 15+ photos
The Years Flew By” by Carrie O’Neal

Class of 2017 Award
For the best photo art gift that incorporates the student’s graduating year
Golden Date” by Erin Deegan

Classmates Award
For the best art gift for a fellow graduate or group of friends
Senior Year Snapshots” by Christina Novak

Words of Wisdom
For the best piece of typography for a graduate
Bright” by Grace Kreinbrink

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4 Mantras for Being Boss in Work and Life

By Kathleen Shannon

Whether you’re a full-time creative entrepreneur paying the bills by doing what you love or hustling to build your dream job on the side, you have to get in the right mindset to really be boss in work and life. Because the truth is this: Blending work and life—doing what you love for a living—isn’t always easy. At times it can be downright scary, hard, and lonely. And getting in the right mindset can be tricky when you feel like a fraud (surely we’re not the only ones who feel like we’re faking it sometimes, right?) or close down shop and crawl under a rock. We use mantras, phrases, or affirmations we repeat to ourselves over and over again, to literally carve out neural pathways in our brains that keep us positive and productive. We’d like to share four of our favorites with you.

Don’t Quit Your Day Dream” limited edition print by Matthew Taylor Wilson

1. “I Chose This”

When we interviewed Lisa Congdon and her wife Clay Walsh on our Being Boss podcast, the full-time artist told us she gets through the roller-coaster ups and downs that come with self-employment by remembering that she chose her path. She reminds herself with every pressing deadline that she chose to live the life of an artist. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in your own daily grind that you forget you’re living the dream—and if you’re not, you get to make different choices.

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Printable: St. Patrick’s Day Treat Labels

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Looking for a last-minute St Patrick’s Day idea? We’ve designed the perfect little treat bag for you! We love decorating with rainbows and gold for St. Paddy’s Day and, since we all could use a little luck now and again, we loved the label’s message, “May luck find you.” Add a handful of chocolate coins or other gold foil-covered candy (like Rolos) and tuck it into your kiddo’s lunchbox or pass them out to coworkers to add a little luck to their day!

St Patrick's Day Label Free Printable by alice & lois for minted
St. Patrick's Day Treat Label (free printable)

Click through to download the free printable…


A Day in the Life of Amy Carroll

Animals are the heart and soul of many of Amy Carroll’s photographs, including “Staredown,” a portrait of a bull that is one of Minted’s most popular limited edition prints. The Michigan photographer has weaved a life centered around family, animals, and creativity. As she shows in this video and in her own words on her Minted Artist Store, you can find Amy traveling abroad or exploring her backyard. “Beauty abounds,” she says. “Take time to see it.”

Portraits of Amy Carroll by Sam Vanderlist

“Staredown” limited edition print by Amy Carroll

8 AM-ish: We start our day roughly between 7:30 or 8 am each day. We co-sleep with our two-year-old son Mayer, so when he’s ready to get up, we get up and all start our day by fixing breakfast together. Our recent favorite is banana pancakes, which Mayer loves to help me make. I’ve been trying to be more cognitive of my time with my family and instead of hopping immediately on my phone or computer, spending quality time with Jeff and Mayer and enjoying a slower and more mindful start to our day.


DIY: Clay Garden Markers

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

The first day of spring (a.k.a. vernal equinox) is right around the corner—March 20!—and to celebrate the new season, we’re hosting a little brunch for some of our girlfriends. We love adding a handmade touch to any get together, so for this gathering, we’re making these simple clay garden markers. Tied around a cloth napkin with a beautiful seed packet, they’re the perfect way to add a little pop to your table setting. Bonus: They also make the perfect spring party favor—your guests will enjoy planting the seeds, marking them with the clay stake, and watching them grow.

DIY Spring Place Setting Garden Marker | alice & lois for minted
DIY Spring Place Setting Garden Marker | alice & lois for minted

Click through for the simple step-by-step instructions…


DIY: Giant Golden Shamrock

By Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up—do you usually decorate for the occasion? I have to say that normally I don’t do much, mostly because the majority of decorations available in stores aren’t quite my taste. This year though, I decided to make my own oversized four-leaf clover—it makes a big impact while still being a bit more subtle than some of the gaudier decorations I’ve seen.

DIY: Giant Golden Clover

Click through for the step-by-step instructions …