Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sweet Stampen with Holly'sFollyGlass

I recently had the chance to interview Holly at Holly'sFollyGlass. Not only is she a talented glass bead maker, a glass fuser and jewelry designer, she is also a stamp maker at Sweet Stampen and she also teaches classes! Let's see what Holly has to say...

1. When did you start making stamps?
Stamping has led me to so many places. I first stamped in 94. I wanted a little set of flowers around some mirrors in a very tiny bathroom. This was before I ever painted. I went into a store and saw art rubber stamps and bought a set of flowers and immediately asked about using them with latex paint... the store owner thought I was nuts. It took several attempts but I made it work. I cleaned those stamps and put them in a drawer.

A few years later, I bought a Southern Living yearbook and it had rubber stamped velvet blankets inside. I called the company, Hot Potatoes, and placed a huge order and made everyone blankets for Christmas. This led me to a rubber stamp convention where I got a flyer on my car for a stamp store around the corner from my house. I started teaching there and one of my students told me about The Carol Duvall Show... the Hot Potatoes lady, Mary O'Neil was on the show as were all these other stampers. I watched all the episodes and knew the guests inside and out and when one of my commercial production houses (where I worked) went under, I sent a resume to the producer of the show. I ended up producing many of the rubber stampers and worked on Carol's show for seven seasons.

I loved that you could "almost" stamp on anything. And through taking stamp classes, I started using better art materials which made me realize I had been fighting my artistic side forever. I had an art teacher when I was young who basically told all of us that we weren't artists. There was one kid in class that could draw and no of us had his natural ability and she rubbed it in our faces.

It wasn't until years after Carol when I was hired to create most of the projects AND build the step outs for every project on another crafting show that I realized I was an artist. My best friend from childhood was visiting me and they would come home from doing touristy things, and I would be sketching, etching, stamping, sewing, painting, name it, I did it. And it had to be perfect and replicated many times for tv! My friend pointed out to me that I was an artist. I argued. She made me realize I still had our old teacher in my head. Another friend and famous stamper, Jane Beard, taught me that art is a gift for a FEW PEOPLE, but for most, it's a skill. Skills can be learned.

2. What was it that got you into making stamps
While working for Carol, I went to trade show and discovered a Cordon Bleu trained chef (Laure'l Silverberg) and she was rubber stamping on cookies. She had discovered a food grade rubber and created a low sugar food color (that wouldn't ruin in a stamp pad) and was making gorgeous cookie bouquets.

I went to work as a marketing director for her company, Sweet Stampen, after I left Carol. In 2004, I was recovering from foot surgery and learning to walk again. Laure'l and I had written a book and made a video when she just decided she was tired. She sold me the company.

Within a few months, another friend from my Carol years talked me into getting certified to teach PMC. While sitting in the class and using the stamps they gave us, I hated them. The stamps had these huge gaps that didn't play well in a tiny piece of jewelry. I came home and started sketching. I had never had a desire to design my own stamps and I inherited enough raw images to keep the company going for a decade! But I KNEW I had to have better tools to teach PMC.

I got those first plates back from the engraver and made up the stamps and then made some PMC to go with it. I loved them. So I sent them to a few PMC teachers I knew and before I knew it, I landed my first big account with the PMC Corporation.

But my bread and butter is bakeries. I have an international restaurant chain that stamps on their pastries that I design images and keep them stocked with food color and accessories.

And along the way, I licensed Museum of Modern Rubber and Pansy Lane images and their customer's keep me hopping!

3. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about making stamps?

I hate indexing wood. The soy ink stains my hands for days and if you mess up, you end up with lots of kindling for the fireplace!

4. Do you have other craft/art hobbies/interest?
I did oil painting while I was in a wheelchair. I fuse glass but my passion is flame-worked glass. I also make jewelry, but only to show off my beads. I do love bead crochet.

5. What is your favorite thing to do?
Torching or hiking with my pup.

6. If you had to choose between a luxury car or a muscle car, which would you pick?
I'm not into cars... I just like one that runs!

7. Roller skates or roller blades?
Skates (but I would kill myself if I dared try!)

8. Sunrise or sunset?
I love a nice sunrise, especially when I'm all alone to greet the day.

9. If you had a bucket list what would be the #1 thing?
To see the waterfalls in Argentina again.


JanelDudleyBeads said...

Thank you for your time Holly! I really enjoyed learning more about you!

CreekHiker said...

Janel, You are such a sweetheart for doing this!

I should mention, that first photo of the pumpkin is from our cookie paint's actually freehand painted white chocolate.

Jennifer Cameron said...

What a really awesome write up! I loved getting to know more about Holly.

Maybeads said...

Great interview, Janel! Holly - you are a woman of so many talents! I learned a lot about stamping here. And I think it's so cool that you design for bakeries. :)