Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity

Here at the Sizzix Blog we're constantly being creative, getting deep about paper and having a whole lot of fun making, but rarely do we think about what put us on that path. We interviewed our amazing licensed artists about their past and what put them on this road to greatness. We wanted to know what their defining moment was and we were not disappointed. Take a look at what made these talented artists the amazing creative people they are today.

Brenda Walton

Brenda Walton

My love of handmade crafts began as a child, when my sisters and I gathered around the kitchen table to paint and stitch together. Our mom assisted and encouraged us with our projects, while our dad played inspiring jazz on the piano. Using simple materials like construction paper, poster paints, fabric and yarn, we experienced the joy of happily creating without boundaries or rules. Our humble works became gifts for family and friends, or were displayed with pride around our home. Miraculously, some of these relics still survive and continue to evoke sweet memories of those afternoons, which instilled in me a lifelong passion for crafting.

Eileen Hull

Brenda Walton (2) Make by Anna-Karin

"I was stitching wedding and baby samplers for gifts when we first got married. To save money, I would mat and frame these at the Arts & Crafts Center on post. I could not throw away the leftover scraps- and that began my love affair with matboard!"

Jen Long

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity Make by Aida Haron

As a child, I was always into art, I loved creating art, and my parents were very encouraging of it. I was always in drawing and painting and ceramics. While it was something that I was involved in, I never really thought that I could have a career or profession in- it was just something that I did for fun. One day, when I was a senior in high school, I went to this all girl college prep school taught by nuns, and I was in economics class one day and we were watching a video on Alan Greenspan, which had a very hard time of holding my attention. So I opened up my notebook and I started sketching. I drew a portrait of Mr. Greenspan, and Sister Mary Adaline was not very impressed with my participation that day. She came over to look at what I was doing and she was impressed with my drawing. She asked me if I had applied to any art schools. The concept of applying to an art school had never occurred to me. That afternoon I went to the Human Resources Department and I started researching the art schools in my area. I learned about all of the programs and specialties you could get into as well as the degrees you could get. The very next day, I started making my portfolio. I would say that was a very pivotal moment for me, where I chose to change my path and could follow my passion if I put my mind to it.

Jill MacKay

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity

Since a small child I’ve found it very magical to create. I distinctly remember a powerful moment when I was learning cursive writing and watching the line emanating from my pencil. I loved practicing and controlling that line and making it beautiful. I began drawing very early and still have my sketch books from 1st grade. So for me it really started with drawing. When I create, be it drawing, sculpting or designing products I am in the present, my mind is quiet and the worries of the world and time fall away. There is no stress, and I am comfortable and in the now.  It really is my way of being in the world.

Katelyn Lizardi

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity

I realized I could be an artist without starving. My mom was an artist, my grandma was an artist, and I always loved art but I didn't realize that there was an actual career in it until I started to pursue it. I always liked drawing, and I pursued illustration as a major and my focus was always children's books. I explored all kinds of media but always focused on Illustrations. Working at Ellison is really cool because the skills I learned with drawing come into play but I am also able to explore things with paper which goes past just the 2-dimensional form and it opens a whole other world for me.

Laura Kelly

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity

I got started as a maker as a little girl, creating clothing for my dolls and homes with accessories for my Fisher Price Little People.  As a grown up, I was actively "making' for my classroom and students as well as decor for my home and handmade gifts for friends.  I have been paper crafting and scrapbooking since elementary school.

Lindsey Serata

Katelyn Lazardi

I grew up on Disney animations.  My grandma worked for the Walt Disney Studios in the 70’s and 80’s and when I was really little she would often take me there to pick up her retirement checks.  I remember being 3 or 4 years old and sitting in the Disney bank, staring in awe at all the little princess glass figurines in the cases around me.  By the time I was 7 I had started copying Disney characters from books, key chains and refrigerator magnets.  I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be an artist; I just didn’t know what that meant.  I just wanted to draw Mickey and his friends and make my grandma proud.  That’s where I got my start.

Lori Whitlock

Make by Vivian Keh Make by Vivian Keh

I really can’t remember a time when creativity wasn’t at the center of my life. I’ve always been a creative person from the time that I was a small child. I guess I knew for sure in high school that I wanted to pursue an education as a graphic designer. After college and through a series of amazing opportunities, meeting some awesome people, and honing my skills through experience, I was able to finally start my own studio. This is where I have been able to flourish as a designer in the crafting industry. It’s been a road filled with a lot of hard work and determination along with a lot of love and support from my family. I absolutely LOVE what I do and am so grateful and humbled to be a part of this amazing craft world where I get to design products that people enjoy using.

Lynda Kanase

Katelyn Lazardi (1)

Looking back, the path to my Design career at Sizzix had been defined since childhood although it is only by looking back that one can see it clearly. I was fascinated with sewing before I was tall enough to reach the foot pedal of my mother’s sewing machine so I made my stuffed animals by hand. In middle school, I spent one Summer hand-quilting my first {and only} completed quilt. In College, my Design instructor encouraged me to declare a Graphic Design major and after receiving my degree, I soon began designing catalogs and packaging in industries as diverse as Toys, Computers and Kitchen Sinks. After my son was born, I was unsuccessfully trying to decorate a “Magnetic” photo album when I saw a scrapbook direct-marketing representative give a presentation on archival scrapbooking albums. I was hooked! Since then I’ve watched the industry grow and evolve but I’ve always maintained a drive to make things prettier. Fast forward to 2008 when I started at Sizzix as a Graphic Designer. I worked my way up until I was given the opportunity to become a Product Designer. I had been designing dies for years prior to this time so it was a natural progression. It was at this defining moment that I realized that all of my crafting skills and passions could become my Career. My entire life has been about moments of discovery and creating things and now I am excited to share my passion with others.

Sharyn Sowell

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity

I was a jewelry designer in LA and we spent all our summers hiking and fishing the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada. One day, in a rowboat, my two sons had eaten the snacks and run out of patience, so I grabbed the lunch bags and my husband's Swiss army knife in desperation and fell head over heels in love with cut paper. And my love affair with paper and scissors (and now the ability to do it FAST with Sizzix dies and eCutter) has never wavered. Makes me grin just thinking about it! In fact I've been so buzzed with cutting paper the last two weeks that I've been posting a bunch of my recent escapades, and none of them is even deadline-related!

Stephanie Barnard

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity Make by: Adrianne Surian

When I was a teen, I would help my mom create bulletin boards for her kindergarten classroom. My favorite thing to do was to use the Ellison Machine to cut out shapes and letters.  Fast forward to my baby shower and a friend was trying to get me into scrapbooking...I wasn't convinced it was something I wanted to do until I saw the die cuts she gave the time, I didn't know that DIE CUTS had ANYTHING to do with Scrapbooking/crafting! I instantly fell in love with scrapbooking/cardmaking/papercrafting and stopped tole painting, sewing and quilting (yes, I love all crafts!) and focused my energy on paper.....lots and lots of it! My life is now spent designing, teaching and sharing my love of all things paper.

Tim Holtz

Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity Make by Aida Haron

“I didn’t really see myself as a creative kid, but, we didn’t have a lot of money. So I do remember my mom- we would always make our Christmas gifts, or make gifts and we needed to kind of think of what we could do with what’s around us- make something out of nothing. From a really happy creative memory, I remember my art teacher in elementary school. Mrs. Patterman. She was awesome. She allowed us to think however we wanted to. There were no rules or definitions of what that meant to be creative. I would say I was in about 2nd grade and we went down to the school lunch room, and it was in the bottom floor of our school, and we walked into the lunch room and all of the tables were put away- they were all against the wall. In the middle of the cafeteria there was this mountain of saw dust, and as kids we were like, “What is that?” So we got to sit around in a circle around this mountain of saw dust and we were each given a bottle of school glue. She told us we could take that bottle of glue and squirt it all over the mountain. So really? A kid with a brand new bottle of glue? So we were just squirting like crazy covering the whole mountain and then she said, “Alright, now go in with your hands and mix it up.” I was a kid, in the lunch room, getting to take my hands and go in there and just start mixing around this sawdust with glue and it made this sticky mess and she tells us, “Make something! Whatever comes to mind, make something out of this.” And I remember I made a little teddy bear out of this saw dust and glue. My mom still has this little bear.”

Check back as we will be updating this post with more Sizzix Designer's stories! Isn't it inspiring to see where all this wonderful creativity came from? Do you have a moment when you realized you wanted to be creative?

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14 thoughts on “Sizzix Designers Share Their Path To Creativity”

  • Carol Von Ins
    Carol Von Ins Feb 24, 2016 at 06:45 am

    Your stories are so inspiring! I have similar stories myself. 14 years ago we moved, thought I was done stamping, doing everything on computer. I donated all my stamps and art supplies ($12,000) the prices were still on the sides of the wood blocks, to the public schools. Oh I was so wrong! At 78 I'm now back stamping and creating cards with all the wonderful products and ideals from all of you. Thank You for inspiring me to get back into it.

  • Pat Tadajski)
    Pat Tadajski) Feb 24, 2016 at 07:15 am

    Great stories,especially like Tim Holtz and Steph.Barnard

  • Carol

    It was very interesting to be able to relate to the designers. I, too, had talented relatives,in my background, and a wonderful teacher, etc. Being an only child, and poor, helped also. It feeds the imagination.

  • Martha R

    Great stories! Thank you for taking the time to share with we who love your products!

  • Lila Willett

    I am impressed with all your designers, especially I love Tim Holtz. I also started crafting at a very young age. I cut the Brenda Starr paper dolls from the newspaper and designed clothes for her with my crayons. Now at 81, I make cards, crochet, sew, and paint on canvass. I do it all. But my favorite is cards. I am disappointed that I can't get the standard multipurpose platform for small jobs. Have to run the extended all the way through. I teach a card class once a month to some friends. Love Sizzix.Have a Vagabond, Big shot pro, Big shot express and a Big shot.

  • Carol K

    amazing, creative force at work at Sizzix. . . .thanks for sharing their stories.

  • Lisa H

    I love reading all these stories! =)

  • Joan K

    what a fun post! no doubt dredges up memories for all of us! Thanks for sharing

  • Michelle Stewart

    What a great post!! I love reading what inspires some of my favorite Sizzix designers! And thank you for sharing the project I made with Brenda Walton's dies!

  • Jessica

    Ahhh, I love getting to know a little more about the people behind the names! Thanks for sharing!

  • Christie troxell

    How amazing to hear the stories of so many friends and fellow artists, whose designs and dies I use all the time in making my own Sizzix creations! Thanks for the fun and inspiring walk down memory lane!! Sizzix sure has a powerhouse team!!

  • Midge

    Love all of this insight into the creative lives of these amazing designers! Thanks for sharing!

  • Melanie

    How awesome to read these stories. What a creative collective!

  • Madge

    I have to say that I loved reading about each and everyone of your awesome designers. I have to say Laura Kelly and Eileen Hull are friends of mine and I love and admire their drive and creative journeys that they lead. Laura is truly a fun and wonderful person whom has encouraged me to be the best me I can, to love to create and to create what I love!! Eileen, has encouraged me to think outside of the box and to continue to do what I love. Thanks for sharing this awesome post!!! Loves- Madge

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