Forever Designer Interview: Cottage Arts
Welcome to the fifth Forever Designer Interview! Each month we sit down with a different designer, and ask them what it’s like to be a digital artist. This December, we’re speaking with Cottage Arts' Michelle Shefveland.
1. How did you get started as a designer, and for how long have you been doing this?
I've been designing for 13 years, starting CottageArts.net in early 2003. With a degree in Information Systems and passion for quilting, paper scrapping and collage art, digital photography and Photoshop Elements were all it took for me to get hooked on this creative art form. Before that I could not really afford to take tons of photos, and was always a bit trepidatious about cutting up my photos for traditional scrapping! Digital cameras and software opened up a whole new hobby and career for so many and it's been an ever-changing ride ever since. With social media, mobile devices, and apps changing the terrain at lightning speed, the digital scrapbooking world continues to evolve and I am grateful to have had so many amazing opportunities.
2. Do you draw inspiration from specific artists or designers? If so, who?
I find I draw inspiration from nature, photography, and my family, mostly. Also, the quilting industry is where I was first inspired to design and where I continue to be in awe of artists such as Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler.
3. What is your personal design philosophy?
I seek to design products that celebrate my love of family, faith, nature, and photography. In turn, these types of products speak to those looking to celebrate their love of those things. :)
4. Do you have a personal favorite art kit or series of art kits that you’ve created?
My favorite series are Cardinal Christmas and Nature's Sketchbook, along with Danglies. I created Cardinal Christmas after my mom passed away from breast cancer, using a painting by our daughter Rachel as inspiration. Cardinals have a very special meaning to us and loved ones we have lost. Nature's Sketchbook is all about collage, mixed media, and my love of art journaling. And, Danglies are just fun doo-dads that look like real glass hanging from strings. :)
5. Do you have any advice for someone out there who may want to be a designer themselves?
Do what you are passionate about, always keep learning and growing, and be kind. You will eventually find a niche that feels right and works well with your personality and gifts.
6. What do you like to do for fun, or in your spare time?
As new empty nesters we are excited to do more traveling across the United States, especially hiking and photographing in our National Park System. We enjoy volunteering a great deal at our church, and love local theatre and music as our youngest son is quite a passionate performer. Holistic wellness and whole foods cooking are also a big part of our life.