Featured Crafter Friday

December 28, 2007 - 8:00am

Featured Crafter

Please welcome Erika! I could spend an entire day on Erika's website or her SCS gallery. She does such amazing work and is great at what she does. And don't you just love her dreads?? She looks great in them and even writes about her journey with them! She also has a store which recently opened where she offers kits, finished products, her tutorial program as well as tutorial CDs. She does have two new kits that have just been added and a sale will be running on Coaster Calendar Magnets today through the end of the month! (There's a little plug for her store!) Erika is also on Gina K's Senior Design Team and a Design Team Coordinator. She also is a Design Team Member for Kitchen Sink Stamps.

Here's a little bit about Erika in her own words. I live in northern Vermont, along Lake Champlain. I just turned 31 and have been married since the age of 20 to my sweetheart, David. We have two children, Zach (8 1/2) and Elise (7 1/2). We enjoy the outdoors - Vermont and neighboring upstate NY become a huge playground to us in the warmer months. I'm a vegetarian and spent many years in the food industry (we owned our own catering business for almost 7 years) and have a deep appreciation for chocolate and peanut butter. I love to bake and could also eat soup every day of the year. Chai tea is my drink of choice and I would be quite happy and content when an IV is invented to pump chocolate, peanut butter and chai into my system 24/7.

I would like to include something else very special to Erika, which is Autism Awareness. Here is some information about it and her personal story with it. And if you will remember when I featured Gina K that she did stamps for a cause....this was one of the reasons.

One of my passions outside of papercrafting is Autism Awareness. My son, Zach, is almost 9 years old and autistic. He has taught me to view life in a whole different way. He has come so far in his short life, but that would not have been possible without a lot of prayer and the wonderful intervention he's had along the way. If it weren't for people making autism known in the media, I would have had no clue where to start when it came to what we were dealing with. Autism is one of the most underfunded disorders when it comes to research. 1 in every 150 children (in Vermont, where I live, it is 1 in every 133) are being diagnosed with autism in our current day. Most parents don't know where to start when it comes to finding intervention for their children and because autism has taken so long to become public, many children and adults with autism are often misunderstood. Early intervention is KEY. By making the public more aware, the better off our children will be in this world that they are trying so hard to bridge a gap with.

My obsession with papercrafts has led to giving me a platform to share our story of autism, to cause awareness of this disorder and to help raise funds for research and to help families that deal with autism on a daily basis. GinaK Designs created a stamp set last April in honor of my son for Autism Awareness Month and to date, this set has raised over $5000 for autism research. Link HERE.

Being in the scrapbooking world also helped me to make contact with MockUTV.com and we've had a wonderful awareness campaign going on to help raise funds. Right now, they are donating a portion of proceeds from their hilarious mockumentary on scrapbooking to my son's favorite autism charity.

Zach has inherited my love for drawing and painting and has just started creating paintings on canvas and we'll soon be setting up a website for him to help other kids just like him.

It's amazing where papercrafting has taken me and the connections and relationships that have formed through it.

I also asked Erika a few questions I thought would be fun to hear answers to.

How did you get started with crafts?
I've always been a crafty sort of person. I loved crafting as a child, so it was only natural that this bled into my adulthood. I like to think that I still retain the heart of a child when it comes to my art, but have just added an adult spin to it.

I loved painting and drawing when I was little. I loved to tape things together, play with play-dough, glue my hands together or make "glue gloves," cross-stitch, leatherwork, etc. My mom is a very creative person and was always working on something at her sewing machine or in the kitchen and I got my love of creating from her.

I started in stamping 6 1/2 years ago when I became a Stampin' Up Demonstrator. I had decided to become a demo even before I went to a workshop. It was the catalog and all the samples that won me over. It's pretty ironic, considering that I had always said I never wanted to stamp because it just seemed so limiting, but now I eat, sleep and breathe it. It just took seeing it presented in the way of a true art form for me to see the possibilities. It's been all uphill from there!

How much time per day do you spend on your crafts? Is it enough? :)
My business is my REAL job. My full time job. I spend a lot of time creating, tweaking, brainstorming, inking my fingers, etc. I love that I get paid to play. A lot of people ask if I ever lose the joy of stamping and papercrafting because it's something I do as a business, but in all honestly, absolutely not. It's a dream job come true.

I spend about 8 hours a day working on my business and it never seems to be enough because I adore what I do. If only I didn't have to sleep!

What is your favorite craft item to use or project to make?
One of my favorite craft items to use is glitter. I love Dazzling Diamonds glitter (by Stampin' UP). It matches everything and can double as make-up *wink.* My second favorite is clear embossing powder. That matches everything, as well. I find myself using those two things the most when I'm creating.

My favorite items to make are scrapbook pages and altered books. I don't get to do these as often as I like because they tend to be bigger and more time consuming projects. Card making is just so easy and quick to do that I find myself working on cards more than anything else. I really like that I can incorporate stamps into both my scrapbook pages and altered books, so it's like having the best of all worlds.

I started out as a scrapbooker 12 years ago, so that is where my passion for papercrafting took root and everything else seems to stem off of that. I've started doing custom scrapbooks for people that want their memories preserved so I'm doing a bit more in the scrapbooking department, but I'd love to be able to catch up on some of my own pictures sometime soon. This is where not having to sleep would come in handy. :)

Where do you get your inspiration (for your stamp creating or card making)?
My inspiration is found in many places. I find color inspiration in nature, in magazines, on websites. I find design concept inspiration in magazine ads, while I'm surfing the web, in catalogs, in books, watching home decorating shows, etc. I find a lot of creative inspiration while looking at travel magazines, travel brochures, cultural magazines and in global music. Two of my favorite magazines are National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic Adventure. The photographs are amazing and the colors are always so bright and vivid. The textures and art that I find inside these magazines are inspiring to me (and now I have a huge list of places that I want to visit before I die, thanks to these magazines). I never look through magazines, craft books, etc, while I'm creating. I find it overwhelms me. I like to get my inspiration from those places, but when I'm creating, I don't look at them. Most of the time that I'm creating, I'm listening to music. It's usually alternative artists and all kinds of styles of music from all over the world. There are times when I shut off the music because I simply need quiet and to hear my thoughts in order to create.

Do you have any advice for fellow crafters out there? Words of wisdom, perhaps? :)
Don't limit yourself to rules. Always seek to push the limits, to break the rules. You never know what you're going to discover about your creative side unless you experiment and be adventurous. Some of the techniques that I've created have come about because I "screwed up" another technique. I have found art forms that I've come to love simply because I was adventurous enough to try them. "You never know unless you try."

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." ~Scott Adams

I have included a few pictures of her work for you to admire! Thankfully, Erika picked some projects to feature. I would have spent a whole day trying to decide which ones to include!

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I hope you have enjoyed meeting Erika and Featured Crafter Friday. If you would like to be featured, please send me an email! I would be more than happy to include you! See you next Friday for another wonderful crafter!

I LOVED getting to know

Posted by Charmaine (not verified) on December 28, 2007 - 11:12am

I LOVED getting to know Erika more! I just love her work!

Erika Martins Interview

Posted by Kimmiek (not verified) on December 28, 2007 - 11:56am

I love Erika! Always have. She is so out of the box, and not just her hair.*wink* She's full of self confidence and open to so much in both her life and crafting. She rocks!
She is multi talented, never full of herself. Humble even, about what she does.

She has fairness, quality art ideas along with love peace and kindness deep within her veins.
Erika you rock.
Awesome interview.

Thanks for this interview

Posted by Juli Smith (not verified) on December 28, 2007 - 12:55pm

Thanks for this interview with Erika. I am a fan of her StampinMama blog. Some of my favorites projects of heres are posted with the interview! I find inspiration on many levels due to Erika's sharing both professionally and personally.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to All!

Great crafter Choice!

Posted by Jana W (not verified) on December 28, 2007 - 1:15pm

What a wonderful interview with Erika and what fantastic projects to feature! I'm a regular reader of Erika's blog...and I love ALL her stuff!

Gold Star for Crafts on a Whim!

Posted by Tammy (not verified) on December 28, 2007 - 1:55pm

You get a Gold Star today for choosing an absolute winner as your Featured Artist! I have had the privilege of getting to know Erika better in the last few months on the Kitchen Sink Stamps design team, and am convinced that there isn't anyone out there that is nicer or more giving of herself! And then there's this incredible talent on top of her wonderful spirit! Kudos to you for choosing her, and congratulations Erika! You are so deserving!

Great feature

Posted by Russ Jones (not verified) on December 28, 2007 - 6:03pm

Great article! Isn't Erika awesome?! I'm so glad I've had the chance to meet her and work with her. She is quite an inpiration!

Great Feature Stamper!

Posted by tesschap (not verified) on December 30, 2007 - 12:45pm

I really enjoyed reading your post. I love Erika's work.