We got a sneak peek at the work of our June Guest Designer last week with her sweet little freebie download. Today she shares an inside look at her life & designing through a Q&A-style interview.
Read on to learn all about Shirley Polk of Wild Blueberry Ink… and be sure to enter our giveaway contest for a chance to win Shirley’s beautiful new kit “The Ties That Bind” created especially for Log Your Memory!
Name: Shirley Woodard Polk
Location: North Carolina
Please tell us a little about yourself … your family, your background, pets, hobbies, etc… When I left my job 2 years ago I was the Creative Director for the largest newspaper in the state but I found myself missing something. That’s when Aubrey Rose came into our lives and I decided to become a SAHM. The 10+ years I spent in corporate America didn’t come close to preparing me for this new job I had decided to take on.
Now I spend my days watching Bubble Guppies and preparing my very independent 2-year-old for preschool. I have learned to laugh at myself, I have learned patience and I have learned the meaning of unconditional love. I spend my nights balancing my design with a very lonely husband and four even lonelier fur babies. Thankfully for me, all five of them are very understanding.
Are you a digital, paper or hybrid scrapper/designer? What do you like most about this method? I am 100% digital. I have always admired paper and hybrid scrappers, but for me personally I love the undo button and I love being able to keep my stash in a nice compact external hard drive.
How long have you been a designer & how did you first get started? I have been designing for a year and I started after winning a spot in The Little Dreamer Apprentice Program.
Is scrapbook product design your full-time job? If not, what else do you do? My full time job is designing – scrapbook, digital collage sheets, web and graphic (I am a freelancer).
What software & platform do you use in your design work? Do you use any other special tools? I am 100% Mac. I could not live without Illustrator. I also use Photoshop to save all my items for purpose of selling. I do own a pen tablet and work everyday at mastering it… for some reason I find it very challenging!
Has your design style changed over time? What has influenced this? YES! When I started to design I wanted to cram everything into a kit because I felt like it needed stuff. Now I am more careful and choose only the elements that I think will compliment my theme. I also started as a very literal designer. Which means if I named the kit “weather” then I seriously designed weather-related items. Now I do more interpreting and I use my theme as more of a journaling prompt. I only include items in the kit that will hopefully provoke journaling.
What is your biggest challenge as a scrapbook product designer? Kits. I tend to scrap a la carte and hardly ever scrap by kit, therefore when I have to design a kit I find it difficult to know when to stop or sometimes where to begin.
What has been the biggest reward or most fulfilling aspect of being a scrapbook product designer? I love looking through the galleries and seeing special moments recorded using my products. For someone to think my products are worthy enough to showcase their memories is a true compliment. I also find it rewarding to watch my blog readership grows. Each month I gain more and more readers with many of them emailing me to stay that they have been inspired to scrap because of my stories or products.
Where do you get your product ideas? Who & what inspires you? My ideas usually come from my scrapbooking. I will sit down to scrapbook my memories and during the process an idea is formed. I am inspired by everything around me. I have seriously been folding clothes and been inspired by a pattern in my little girl’s dress. I have been reading a bedtime story to her and been inspired by a quote from the book.
How long does it typically take you to design a full kit from concept to delivery? What is your process? If I sit down with an idea in mind, I can usually do a kit in about 5 hours. ( I am pretty slow). I start with the theme and decided what story I want the kit to tell. Then I choose my colors, design my papers and finish with my elements. If I have time I always like to scrap one page with the kit just to make sure it flows well.
What has been your most popular product? My Project 365 has been a big hit this year. Also my digital collage sheets are really popular with hybrid scrappers and crafters.
What is your favorite kit and why? My Hope Kit is my favorite product. I designed it to honor my grandmother who is a breast cancer survivor.
How do you incorporate “real life” scrapbooking into your personal & professional scrapbooking & design work? Usually when I scrapbook a page it’s with the purpose of telling a very specific story. If you look through my gallery, you will notice I rarely scrap the same photo more than once. I want my pages to be a timeline of Aubrey’s life, our marriage, our family – OUR TRUE STORY.
As a result my pages are not always full of rainbows and butterflies. I have accepted, and honestly fallen in love, with that idea. I never want to forget the good times or the bad times. We learn from every experience and I want to look back 10 years from now and say to myself “Yes that was the day I realized. . . . ”
I also want to tell a story for Aubrey to use as a reference in her future life (be it mom, career, adventure). I want her to see that some days are hard but more days are awesome. I want her to know that it’s ok to have a bad day. I want her to know who I really am! My design usually reflects this through the themes or word art I choose. I find myself creating products that I hope will inspire someone to journal what’s in their heart.
What fills your time when you are NOT scrapbooking Right now I am on a mission to decorate my house. Maybe it’s all the DIY blogs I read, but I feel every room in my house must now be redone.
What advice do you have for fellow scrapbookers interested in pursuing the scrapbook product design field? Be prepared for long nights and feeling as if it’s not worth it. This business isn’t going to make you “rich” but if you love designing and meeting people and listening to stories then it will be perfect for you.
Anything else you’d like to add? Thank you so much for asking me to be part of this awesome community!
And now, the kit Shirley created just for us to go along with our June Challenge Theme “Relationships: Friends, Family, Acquaintances” from the 2011 Memory Logbook.
This kit will soon be available for purchase from Shirley’s store, but one lucky Log Your Memory blog reader will win the entire kit for FREE in today’s Guest Designer Giveaway. To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing a favorite family memory. One random winner will be drawn from all comments received here on the blog as of noon (Mountain) Thursday, June 16th. Our winner will be announced Friday on the blog. Good luck!