Part Two of my three part series on Design Teams continues with interviews with amazing designers. I have long admired the creativity of Ashley Horton and I was really excited when she agreed to be interviewed. She is an artist, a mom, a business owner and a member of five Design Teams! I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!
1) For my readers that aren’t familiar with you, can you tell us how you got involved in the scrapbooking industry?
I began scrapbooking in 2006, when I was invited to a crop by a friend. At the time, my husband and I had our first daughter, and I thought this would be a great way to do something other than a typical baby book for her. I fell in love with the idea of scrapbooking at the crop, but was a bit clueless about it all. The crop I attended used Creative Memories products, which I thought were cute, but not for me. I found out that local craft stores sold scrapbooking supplies and I didn’t look back from there! All of my first layouts HAD to be double page spreads that mirrored one another exactly! As I got involved in more online scrapbook communities and subscribing to scrapbook magazines, I slowly started refining what I liked and didn’t like about my pages and designs. I drew a lot of inspiration from designers in Creating Keepsakes magazine at the time, especially Kim Watson and Megan Hoeppner. It took a while, before I felt comfortable creating my own designs, rather than scraplifting or using a sketch, but I think both of those things helped me in finding my style and how to balance my layout designs. I am very goal oriented, so once I felt I had a chance with Design Teams, I started to apply here and there. I started out working on some great challenge Blogs, and eventually several Kit Teams. Love My Tapes, which sells Washi Tapes, was actually my first ever manufacturer Team that I started with in 2012. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work with several manufacturers, teach classes, and have layouts published in multiple magazines.
2) What design teams are you currently on and how long have you been on them?
My current Teams include:
Crate Paper – I started in February 2016.
Pink Paislee – I started in February 2016.
Hip Kit Club – I have been with Hip Kit Club since February 2014.
A Flair for Buttons – I have been with A Flair for Buttons since June 2014.
The Cut Shoppe – Owner and designer since May 2014.
3) From your personal experience, what are the unique advantages to being on a design team?
Obviously one of the most awesome advantages of being on a Design Team, is the gorgeous product you receive to work with, as collections are released! But I also love working with other Designers and seeing how we all use the same product in so many unique ways. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with so many people around the world, through Social Media. I love that I can talk or chat with so many other ladies that are just as passionate about what I love doing.
4) From your personal experience, what are some of the disadvantages of being on a design team?
I would say for me, one of the disadvantages sometimes comes in the form of having an idea or wanting to create something, but having a specific theme or product you have to use for the Design Team. I always try to stay balanced, by being on a Team, that may not require using specific product. For example, in the past I loved working on Sketch Design Teams, because you still had the challenge of working with some type of product…in this case a sketch…but you could work with any paper and embellishments that inspired you.
5) Take us through your creative process – Is it the same for each design team or different depending on the type of product or project?
I try to approach each assignment with the same process, but that process may vary here or there. Once I receive an assignment, I start by choosing products from the collection that fit the assignment and inspire me for what I am creating. Sometimes I will choose a photo that I know coordinates with the collection I am using, and other times if I don’t have one that fits that collection, making it black & white is always a life saver! I typically get a base going for my layout design. If I am working with a cut file or something like hand stitching, I work on that first. Next I decide what title I want to use and where I want to place it. The photo usually comes after this point and then I finish by adding embellishments until I feel the layout is balanced or I like the look of the design.
6) When it comes to deadlines, do you have your projects done ahead of schedule or do you work best under pressure?
I am a first-born, Type A kid! I am all about having everything finished early! There are always things that come up during the month, and I feel that being responsible with assignments is one of the most important parts of serving on a Design Team. Being close to a deadline…and that could mean a week out for me…makes me nervous! HA!
7) Besides scrapbooking, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
Does eating out at restaurants count??!! Seriously, I do love food and cooking is another hobby I enjoy. I grew up as a VERY picky eater, but as an adult I’ve been a little more adventurous with what I eat. I am a Food Network fanatic, and I love to try new recipes from some of my favorite chefs or recipes I find when searching on Pinterest. I also love to read. I was always the nerdy kid that spent the summer reading, not because I had to for school assignments, but because I wanted to. I like to wait until a book series is finished before starting to read it, because I read so fast, and I am too impatient to wait for the author to get their next book out!
8) Have you ever been rejected from a design team? If so, how did that experience make you a better scrapbooker?
Yes, definitely! Honestly, my initial reaction was being hurt. I felt like I was just as good as those that were chosen for the Team. But over the years, I have learned that many things go into choosing designers for a Team. Eventually I used the rejection, to motivate me to improve my overall layout designs, photography and social media presence. I really enjoy the creative process of scrapbooking and the memory keeping, but I am also one of those people that enjoys the “work” side of it too. I love having assignments through Design Teams that push and challenge my creativity. So I think it’s important to look at rejection, not as the end of what you want to do, but as motivation to improve what you do and continue to work toward your goals.
9) You’re also a Designer and owner of an Etsy store, how do you balance those creative endeavors with your design teams?
I am a stay at home mom, and in May 2014 I decided to open The Cut Shoppe Etsy store as a way to contribute financially, while still being at home with the kids. I was creating cut files to use on my personal layouts and eventually started sharing some of the designs on my Blog. Opening the Etsy store to sell what I was designing, seemed like a great fit. Like I said before, I like to work ahead and I am an organized person, so it’s not hard to work in what I do for The Cut Shoppe, on top of Design Team assignments. I work on cut file designs for the store anywhere from two weeks to a month ahead. I like to have the designs available for the ladies on my Design Team, so they can work in advance. I’ve also had some amazing opportunities to collaborate with many of the Design Teams I am on, and participate in product swaps with them. I also love to use my cut file designs on Design Team layouts, because it’s almost impossible for me to create a layout, without using my Silhouette Cameo in some way.
10) What is your absolute favorite thing about scrapbooking? What is your “why”?
There are a lot of reasons I love scrapbooking, but I would say my favorite reason is the creative outlet. I LOVE playing with paper and putting all of the different scrapbook products together to create my own little work of art. My albums could end up who knows where one day, but I love creating pages for me, whether anyone else appreciates them or not. Scrapbooking isn’t a fad or passing hobby for me, but a part of my life style. I may run out of room for all of my layouts one day, but I think they would be great for wallpapering rooms in the house, if it comes to that point!
Huge thanks to Ashley Horton for taking the time out of her busy schedule to be a part of my Design Team series. You can see more of Ashley’s wonderful creations on her blog, Ashley Horton Designs.
Stay tuned for Part Three of the Design Team series…
Next week you’ll get to hear from another creative designer – CHRISTY STRICKLER!