Sunday, January 13, 2008

Designer Spotlight - Leslie Miller

This week's deigner spotlight in on the very creative Leslie Miller from Oregon.

Leslie has been stamping and papercrafting for ten years. She is a Stampin' Up demonstrator, a Dirty Dozen Team alumni, has been published in Stampers Sampler and is a guest designer for Scor Pal. She works full time in a medical laboratory and in her spare time Leslie enjoys tending her large ornamental garden, reading and going to movies. She and her family live in Oregon.

Not only is Leslie an accomplished stamper, but if you checked out her blog, Running with Scissors, you will also see that her talents extend to an extraordinary garden and her ability to photograph it like a pro. Her attention to detail is inspirational - she researched what the color of the birds eggs should be in this lovely card.

Which do you prefer - gardening or stamping?
That's a tough question! I'd have to say it's 50/50. Being in the garden is such a full experience, almost spiritual. The outdoors have a way of adjusting my perspective on life and my place in the world. The garden, at times, seems to almost overfill my senses. It's a seasonal and weekend activity, though, whereas stamping can be enjoyed year round, whether I have uninterrupted time or I have to approach it a little here and a little there. Both hobbies allow me the pleasure of working with design and color and that is pure delight for me.

It’s obvious that nature is the inspiration for some of your artwork and you have an entire color wheel at your fingertips in your backyard. What advice can you offer stampers who struggle with color combinations?
You're absolutely right, there are many times I'm inspired by a color combo in the garden. The best inspiration comes from plant and flower combinations that occur naturally. Nature seems to know exactly which shade of green to pair with a particular bloom color. A wild iris, for instance, is a perfect combo of purple, yellow and green with a pop of white. You could have disastrous results with a purple, yellow and green color combo if you didn't get it just right.
Short of planting a garden or wandering through nature jotting down notes, a color wheel is a wonderful tool. If you Google search "color wheel" you can find a lot of good information about combining colors. You'll see a picture of a color wheel, too. If you use Stampin' Up! products their color wheel is a "must have" when you're stuck or just need to make a quick decision.
When I use designer papers they'll determine my color combo. Even still, there will be multiple choices as to which color should dominate, etc. It depends on the look you desire or which color feels best to you, the individual. Also, you have to look at the hue of a particular color. It's rather like a big box of color crayons -- is this violet-blue or violet-red? Even a seemingly neutral color, like beige or tan, can have subtle undertones. Does it lean toward pink? Or gold?
Here's an idea I learned at a Stampin' Up! seminar, which I haven't done, myself, but it sounds like fun: Punch one circle or square of every color in your cardstock arsenal. Store them all loosely in a container. When you're ready to play around with a color combo dump them all out on your table and shuffle them around. Keep an eye out for an appealing group of three colors that fall next to each other. You may be surprised! I saw this demonstrated and it really works.
An entire book could be written about the use of color, but since we don't have room for that here I hope these little tidbits of information are helpful to someone.

Tell us how you go about creating something. Do you sketch out your projects first? Late night or early morning stamper? How many hours a day/week do you spend stamping?

A card will begin with either a stamp or an accessory and the rest will flow from there. I may have a certain designer paper I'd like to use and I'll select a stamp that looks good with it. It may be a ribbon or a button that gets me started. As for the layout, sometimes I pull scrap pieces from my scrap drawer and those sizes and shapes, along with the size and shape of the stamp, will be the beginning of a layout. Even if I don't use those particular scraps, they may serve as stand-ins for the real thing. Just for fun I'll occasionally design a sketch on my computer. I'll use Picture It (graphics program) to place different shapes on a card-sized area. I can move them around and resize them as necessary. I use varying shades of gray for the shapes. I don't do this at the moment I'm ready to stamp a card. Rather, it's a completely separate activity I'll play around with when I feel like being creative but don't necessarily feel quite up to stamping.
Late night or early morning stamping? Well, I love to get up in the morning, pour a cup of coffee and go straight to my stamp room. However, I have to go to work five days a week so I usually wind up stamping in the evenings (but not too late) and when I can find time on the weekends. I have a hard time with creativity when I have chores on my mind, so even on the weekends I'll want to do the housework and run the errands before I get to my stamp room. It's a blissful day, for sure, when the planets align in such a way that I'm able to stamp in the mornings!
I've never thought about how many hours a day or week I spend stamping but my best guess would be about 4 - 8 hours per week when you factor in my 15 minute breaks at work that I usually spend on some form of stamping activity. I rarely ever find enough uninterrupted time to do a project start to finish in one sitting. Sad, but true

Your blend of colors is wonderful, Are there any colors or color combinations that are difficult for you?
Oh, gosh! I love all colors but the ones I find most difficult to work with are bright or primary colors. They're jarring to my senses and I have to be in a certain mood to work with them. That's not to say I don't like bright colors, but I have to combine them with other families to tone them down somehow. I'll use a hot pink with chocolate brown or olive green to warm it up, for instance. Or if I toss some black in with those primary colors it will help make them more tolerable, even likable.

“Running with Scissors” is your blog name, Fess up – do you? How did that name come about?
Figuratively speaking, I do run with scissors and that's pretty much how my blog name came about. I wanted something besides "stamps", "paper" or "ink" in my title so I thought, hmmmmm...what else do we use when we stamp? Oh! How about scissors? Well, what should I say about scissors? That's when I wryly thought about running with scissors because it seems like I'm always in such a hurry. So there it is. I don't like to hurry. It's completely against my nature, but we do what we have to or we don't do it at all. I can't imagine not stamping simply because I think I don't have time for it. I make time!

Tell us one thing about yourself that we don’t know that would surprise us.
Let's former creative interest was in sewing. I sewed my own clothes. I sewed curtains and throw pillows and other home decor items to match. I quit sewing clothes when I found out how much fun it was to sew craft items. Eventually my focus was primarily on dolls of all kinds. I designed my own patterns--wrote out the directions, drew the pattern pieces, photographed the projects and packaged them up for sale. I daydreamed about sewing and designing craft projects. When I started stamping in earnest I lost interest in sewing. I tried to do both and I felt sad about my stamping usurping something I'd been so passionate about before. It wasn't that I had to make a choice due to time constraints. I simply no longer had a desire to sew, not even on cards. I finally quit fighting it and put the sewing machine away in the closet to make room for more stamping supplies.

Please be sure to visit Leslie’s Flourishes Gallery and her blog Running With Scissors for more inspiration.


Velta said...

Leslie ~ CONGRATULATIONS on being in the Designer Spotlight. You SO deserve it. I love your site and visit it whenever you post (I'm subscribed). Your work is amazingly beautiful! Again, Congrats :)

maria @ kitchen sink said...

Congratulations Leslie... Beautiful work!

Leslie Miller said...

Gosh, I just now realized this had been posted here. Thank you so much for featuring me! Flourishes has a wonderful way of making it easy to stamp beautiful projects!

Sharon (notimetostamp) said...

Gosh, this has been up for days -- where have I been!!! So nice to read more about you, Leslie, and the thought process behind your card-making. I have never used a color wheel, never even seen SU's, as much as I hate to admit that. Gee, maybe I should get one -- LOL!!! Interesting about the dots of c/s -- that would be fun to try out!!! And, oh yes, I always so enjoy your beautiful garden pictures!!! Keep up the great work!!! So glad to call you my friend!!!

Rose Ann said...

Yay Leslie!!! You're such a sweetheart, and I love reading all about you! Congratulations on your "Designer Spotlight"!!

stampincuzILuv2 said...

Leslie~ How wonderful to see you as the spotlight designer!! As you know I stalk your blog and want to be you when I grow up:) I loved reading about you. Your work is amazing!! I'm always inspired when I see you work.