Today I am so happy to have an interview with artist Kinsey Hamilton to share! This is the first ever interview on Mint – and I am pretty excited about that! Kinsey had lots of interesting things to tell, and was nice enough to take some photos of her workspace too. So please welcome Kinsey!
Can you tell us a little bit about your design background, and where you currently work?
I’ve been planning my future in design since about 4th grade, but I’ve always bounced around wanting to design different things. Fashion, furniture, homes – I’ve wanted to make everything. I began my career working as the designer/photographer/art director for a scrapbooking company called Wordsworth in 1999. I worked for Wordsworth until the owner retired and sold off parts of the company in 2007. I made some connections through Wordsworth and began designing for a company called Provocraft. Provocraft sells the machine I use to cut all of my card designs.
I’m currently working as a senior digitization technician at the Denver Public Library in the Western History and Genealogy department. I’m working on a project to digitize archival materials from seven of Denver’s historic neighborhoods. I get to spend my day looking through old maps, letters and photographs.
I came up with the name for Nimble in the end of May, but the idea of having a store had been around for a while. I suppose I’m pretty entrepreneurial in spirit. I tend to have a new little start-up idea every other week. Nimble really seemed like a nice fit because I planned to incorporate almost anything I could feel like making. I have designs for everything from paper goods to jewelry, hand-made shoes and knitting patterns to original art pieces. (The earring line will be on Etsy soon!)
Have you always enjoyed making papercuts?
I really started thinking about papercuts when I started designing cartridges for Provocraft’s Cricut machine. Nimble has been so great because my designs don’t have to target a specific audience. I’m free to make designs that I like without really having to think about how the average scrapbooker would use them.
Your papercuts are so detailed and precise – can you tell us more about the machine you use?
Provocraft sells a cutting machine called Cricut which I use to cut the most detailed parts of all my card designs. Cricut works by cutting shapes that are sold on cartridges that plug into the machine. I have a special software that allows me to cut any vector shape I design in Illustrator. The Cricut machine I use is available in most scrapbooking stores, but usually someone with a Cricut machine is limited to shapes they buy from Provocraft.
My cards are currently in one shop in Denver, Fancy Tiger (best shop in denver! fancytiger.com) I’d be happy to sell my work in select stores in addition to Etsy. I’ll definitely take it on a store by store basis. If my designs are picked up by enough stores I’ll probably have to change my workflow a bit and have certain designs laser cut. (Update: You can find Kinsey’s work on Supermarket, too!)
What other creative avenues do you explore in your free time?
I have too many creative hobbies! I knit, crochet, sew, cross stitch, and paint in addition to what I do for Nimble. I’ve been working on a number of knitting patterns recently, hoping for a book deal. I also love to cook and garden, both of which are arguably creative. My husband is a musician, and I am currently working on a project with him called Maps and Legends, so I suppose I can add singing and helping to write songs to the list. I’ve really been hoping to start working in ceramics lately, we’ll see if it leads anywhere.
Do you see yourself becoming a full time artist or craftsperson down the road?
I certainly daydream about it! My plan is to try to get enough going with Nimble and with free lance design work that I can quit my day job. Eventually I’d love to be able to just spend my days creating things, making music and gardening with my husband. I’ve always felt that I have too many ideas and too little time. Being creative full time would be really satisfying.
You’ve worked as a graphic designer for years – did you go to school for graphic design or are these skills you’ve picked up along the way?
I studied fine arts all through grade school and high school. I started off college studying communication design at Parsons in New York City, but transferred around a bit and ended up with an Art History degree from a state school in Colorado. Most of what I know about design has been self-taught, and I feel like what I learned studying fine art has had a big influence on my design style. I’m always working on learning more. Right now I am studying to become certified in a number of Adobe programs.
I love the drawing of the bird and flowers you have on your website – do you hope to expand Nimble to include your artwork?
I do! I have several pieces I’m working on to sell as limited edition prints on Nimble. I have a show coming up in early spring, and hope to make some extra pieces to sell on nimble as well. I’ve had a number of really successful solo shows in Denver, and can’t paint fast enough to have regular shows. I feel like prints will be a nice compromise.
What are your favorite sources for inspiration?
Oh, everything is inspiration! I read a number of blogs when I’m feeling stuck, but mostly life just bleeds into all of my creative outputs. I did a series of flat, geometric paintings in monotones, and that led to the geometric cut cards in Nimble. The next batch of Nimble designs I’m working on directly references knitting stitches, as I’ve been doing a lot of knitting recently. The heirloom seed catalogs I’ve been flipping through make me feel like drawing lots of plants and flowers. It’s nice when inspiration in one craft leads to the next and changes in the different medium to inspire something else.
Thanks so much Kinsey! Don’t forget to check out her website, blog, and etsy shop! For more of my photos of Kinsey’s work (the top two photos of the cards are mine), check Mint’s flickr page. AND if you still haven’t had enough you can also read my original Mint post on Kinsey Hamilton.