Monday, June 27, 2011

FEATURED DESIGNER: Maggi Harding

Time for another S:CY Designer Spotlight Feature! First, I have to tell you all that I've met  Maggi "in real life." She and her Dh and their pets (Chili and Chena) were travelling in their motorhome and stopped in to visit us here in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. I can attest to the fact that I loved meeting Maggi!! Warm and witty, Maggi's artwork reflects the warmth and friendliness of her personality in a way that is true to life and honest.

Please join me in enjoying this opportunity to learn more about an integral part of our Design Team: Maggi Harding.

Maggi was a Guest Designer at S:CY in the not-too-distant past and is now fulfilling a DT position here. How lucky are we? Well..... I'll let you read thru her Spotlight and see some of her favourite projects, and I bet I already know what you'll decide! :) 


S:CY Design Team Member
Maggi Harding
Maggi has some interesting thoughts about her SB'ing style. I asked her how she'd describe it. Her response was intriguing and revealing. "I really struggle with this question because it is a question that is almost always asked on DT applications and such. I have divided my SB'ing into two styles, there’s the artsy work I do and the “pure” scrapbooking that I do. My artsy work tends to be vintage shabby chic and somewhat 3-D. It usually has one or maybe two photos and no journaling. These layouts I do for the artistic adventure to see how I can enhance the photo. My other style centers on pure scrapbooking where I use multiple photos and usually includes journaling. Here the focus is on telling the story of the pictures whereas my artsy scrapbooking focuses simply on the art. I think if you put one of each style side by side you would wonder if the same artist created both layouts."

This layout (below) is very special to me because I took the time to put some feelings on paper and because it is not my style at all but it’s a style that I admire. So I was happy that I was able to capture that style for once. I don’t “do” negative space and this is as much blank space as you’ll ever see on one of my layouts!

"I'm a Southern Gal"  layout created by
Maggi Harding 
Journaling~  I’m a Southern Gal

"I don’t think I realized how much I love red clay dirt under my fingernails until we moved back to North Carolina. I’ve always claimed the world as my home since Dad was in the Army and we lived on 3 different continents while I was growing up. However, I recently realized how much southern blood runs through these world-traveled veins of mine.
I wondered if I would like being back here in the south where the pace is just a bit slower and people are just a little different. However, the decision was based on a need to be close to my parents in their final years so the decision was really a no-brainer. This is where I belong right now, I reasoned with myself, because my parents need me. From the moment we moved into our home, I fell in love with my south all over again. It has been more than 30 years since I called this place home and yet it felt so right from the very beginning. How I loved it when the FedEx man delivered a package to me and called me shug. Now you may think that silly or disrespectful, but it’s not, it’s the south. It’s how we love each other, just because we are friends and neighbors. How I love going to “town” and I still marvel at the gentle smiles from strangers who say good morning to me.
And I love that age-old southern question, who are your people? I’ve been asked that so many times when I mention the name of the small southern town near here where my parents grew up. Do you know so and so? Yes, I know them, I went to school with them or my brother did. We are bound by tobacco fields and pig pickins. Our grandparents dipped snuff, we all know what real barbeque is, and they don’t make it in Texas! Basketball is a religion second only to being a Baptist or Methodist.
When I think of the south, I see rafts of azaleas seeming to float around the ancient live oaks and tall pines that they surround. I see white and pink lacey dogwoods dressing up the understory of the tall trees. The first fall I set about turning our house into a southern oasis by planting 30 some azalea bushes. I was rewarded the following spring with beautiful pink, white and red blooms. When the first azaleas bloomed, it brought a smile to my heart and I knew I had found my forever home after 30 years of wandering. Those bright flowers just wrapped their blooms around my soul and vested it with a calming peace."

Maggi has fine tuned her artistic abilities. I asked her for some design tips and she had a couple to share with us. On the topic of embellishments, she advises that things "generally look best when done in odd numbered groups meaning that 3 or 5 flowers look a lot better than 2 or 4 flowers. This is a classic design element not just in scrapbooking but in other designing as well. Take a look at flower arrangements, groupings of display items, etc. You will usually see an odd numbered grouping."

Another of Maggi's tips involves using "ink, ink and more ink!!"  She says it is a technique that she returnes to again and again. Why? I'll let her explain..."Ink adds the illusion of dimension to paper when used along the edges. I also like using it to add color to my embellishments, for example a green leaf is pretty when cut from green paper, but, think about what a leaf looks like, really – it is more than one color and the way light hits it affects the leaf’s appearance. By adding touches of ink to the plain green paper leaf, you give it visual interest so that the leaf is not just a cut-out of green paper."


Maggi is a scrapbooker who "hardly ever" makes cards.  She reports that if she does make them, "they can easily take more time than a layout because they just don’t seem to come together for me!"


In terms of the time spent on an individual layout,  Maggi says that she can "Generally... get one layout done in a day and that day may be as long as 10 hours but more likely 5 – 6 hours. I spend a lot of time matching papers and photos. When I’ve finally decided on papers, I go through all my embellishments and pick out things that might work and all of this takes me a long time."
 
I asked Maggi to share some advice with us about how she decides if a layout is "done" to her satisfaction. This is different for us all, and here's what Maggi had to say. "When the page is “bulging at the seams” and there is not any room left for ANYTHING, then I am usually done! LOL!! Seriously, I look for balance, and that’s a hard concept to define but my layouts are not done until their appearance is balanced. I look at colors and often think of the odd rules discussed earlier. Yesterday I was analyzing a layout for balance and was satisfied with it. I used three colors and they appear in 3 different ways on the layout evenly scattered over the page. I don’t like for one side of the layout to be heavy with embellishments and the other side blank."


When it comes to the subjects of her scrapping hobby, Maggi loves to scrap pictures of her dogs. As she puts it: "They are my 'children' and I really enjoy taking those special photos of them and turning them into scrapbook pages." This is in evidence when, as you look back through some of the recent LOs Maggi has created for S:CY, the personalities of her critters shine forth in the art she has created to showcase her love for them.


"Go"  layout created by Maggi Harding
Here's what Maggi had to say about the above LO..."This layout represents an art challenge to myself which was to master the wet distressing look that I love so much! After working on this layout for hours and hours, I finally left it for the night and went to bed very unhappy with my efforts. It looked like a torn up mess to me and really, I was annoyed that I had wasted several sheets of paper and all that time!! However, I am persistent and I don’t like to let anything best me so I went back to it the next morning and pulled out the flowers, Dusty Attic chipboard vine, and the paints to add to the layout. Then it came together and I decided I loved it! I even won a monthly challenge at Swirlydoo’s to scrap an action photo. Oh and that’s the other reason I love this layout, the photo is of my new puppy Nika in her first snowfall, and it was a doozy, 12 inches, and that’s totally unheard of for eastern NC! The quote is: 'Where ever you go, go with all your heart.' Confuscius "

Who can take a great pic like the one featured in the LO above without a decent camera? Good question! When I asked Maggi about what she uses, she told me that she is the owner of a Canon XLTii Rebel DSLR and described to me why she loves it: "It takes great photos and is lightweight as far as DSLR’s go. I have issues with my neck and back and anything heavy will aggravate that condition so weight was a big factor when I decided on a digital camera."  Really critical information to know- and some that might not always be mentioned when we talk about cameras. The overall weight of each unit and their ergonomic factor **is** important! 

An ability to meet deadlines is innate for Maggi: she is a tax accountant. As she says-- "My whole life has been one deadline after another. Consequently, I am good at it, because I have always had to meet my clients’ expectations as well as Unce Sam’s filing deadlines." She has been able to transfer these habits and skills to the scrappy world.

In terms of items Maggi is passionate about creating, she likes to design and make mini-albums... one specific type in particular! Says Maggi, "I love making paperbag albums (PBAs) and have given away 7-8 of them. I like to use a lot of quotes and vintage images in my PBAs and then scatter in some photos to personalize the PBA. I only have one that I have kept for myself."

Maggi chatted about why she loves to make PBAs so much,  saying "...because in my mind, there are no rules, so I tend to let my imagination go a little further over the edge than with a traditional scrapbook page. Here are just the front and back covers of a PBA that I did. Please visit my blog and on the sidebar is a slide show of other PBA’s that I’ve done."

PBA by Maggi Harding- Front Cover
PBA by Maggi Harding - Back Cover
I asked Maggi to describe the most special place she has ever visited. She replied that "Alaska owns my heart is so many ways. We lived there for 5 ½ years from 1995 – 2000, and just spent the summer there in 2010. The word that I often hear people use to describe Alaska is VAST, and it’s the word that always comes to my mind. It is so vast, so wild, so beautiful, and so unihabited, these are the things that draw me back there and why it’s my favorite place on this earth. "

Here is another of Maggi's favourite projects:

"Today" book cover created by
 Maggi Harding
When describing it, Maggi talked about how she has a lot of projects she really loves..."and for different reasons. Some I love because of the artistic achievement, some because the journaling is special and some just because it was a fun thing to do. I’ve chosen this altered book cover because... it helps keep my scrapbooking world organized and it's in a collage style which is a style that I really enjoy playing with!"

Maggi, thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us today in the Spotlight Feature, and through your work at S:CY. It's been a treat to learn more about you and your art!

~

11 comments:

  1. Hey thanks for sharing such a wonderful designs and i really enjoyed reading this post...

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  2. Maggi, I love your work, and your work ethic. Bravo on all counts... Thanks for being our featured S:CY Designer today! :o)

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  3. Thank you Ali for such a great write up!! I think I'll go sit in the corner and blush for a moment or two!! :-)

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  4. LOVE your style and who youare as an artist maggi.. and a person!!! {{HUGS}}

    Great getting to know you better and you go blush! You so deserve it!!! Helen

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  5. Love your style Maggi!!!! Great write up!!!!
    {{{HUGS}}}

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  6. Great interview! It is so nice to get to know one another through the web. I just love your story about "I'm a Southern Girl" just beautiful.

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  7. I love how you have two styles - they go hand in hand! What a great spotlight!

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  8. Hi Maggi....I loved reading your interview and I am so glad you are part of the team. You are a brilliant artist and I admire your work.

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  10. You are the Queen of vintage Maggi! Congratulations! Sylvia Tomala

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  11. It's wonderful having your talent on the SCY design team, Maggie. You have achieved both of your art styles with perfection.
    Thanks for sharing such interesting tidbits of your life with us. So glad you have settled in North Carolina and have found the place where your heart belongs.

    HEATHER GETSON

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