Social Media & International Makers; Stephanie Desbiens-McDonald

Hello, hello! Today’s special guest is Stephanie Desbiens-McDonald who has graciously agreed to share her thoughts with us. Be sure to check out her Instagram page which is linked at the end of this post.

What country do you live in?

Canada

Is being an artist in your country different from being an artist in the US?

I find it’s mostly similar. Most of the products and companies are available/accessible to me (especially since I live in a major city) with a few exceptions that don’t ship here. We share most of the same Holidays, except of course here we have Canada Day (July 1st ) and Americans have Independence Day (July 4th). We also celebrate Thanksgiving in 2 different months. Ours is the 2nd Sunday of October and theirs the 4th Thursday of November.It’s a little tricky with the fall themed stamp releases since we may not get to use/receive them in time.

Canada is very multicultural and it would be fun to see more stamps that celebrate different cultural holidays. There are a few, but more diversity would be nice.
It’s a little tricky with the fall themed stamp releases since we may not get to use/receive them in time.

What are some hard things about being an artist in your country?

Certain stores in the US (like Joann’s as an example) do not have stores here. So when someone says “hey I got this at Joann’s” and it’s a store exclusive, I get sad. With Target, it’s even worse as they were here for 2 years and then left. The Michael’s stores in Canada don’t carry a lot of things their US counterparts do and you cannot order online from their Canadian website (you can in the US). Which brings me to my next challenge; getting products shipped here can be an irritant, even within Canada. If my local craft store doesn’t carry what I’m looking for or if my Canadian online stores doesn’t either, then I turn to other countries. Most often the US, but surprisingly not always. Some US companies have great shipping, phenomenal shipping; others not so much. It’s sometimes more beneficial to buy what I want from a UK company, as the shipping is sometimes cheaper. Which is crazy to think as we are the US’ neighbours to the North yet to send it across the pond (ocean) is cheaper. However a lot of European companies don’t ship here at all.

My other challenge is that as a French-Canadian I would love more French sentiments for my cards. I have family I’d love to send French cards to. Instead they usually receive English ones and here’s why; some companies in Europe have straight forward French sentiments like ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Merry Christmas’, etc, but I’m a punny kind of girl and apparently that’s not a French stamp thing.

I’d love a ‘Watts Up’ or an ‘Owl you doing’ but alas…. Plus many of the French sentiment stamps are more geared to scrapbooking and less for card making which is a little frustrating.

What are some special things about being an artist in your country?

The great community of people I’ve met from crafty classes and just my general online interactions. They are the sweetest, they really are. I especially the love the shop owners. They share/laugh at my excitement when I see stamps or papers that are in any way relatable or geared to Canada, I get so giddy!! We all share and understand the frustrations about product/company availability. I’ve had many bend over backwards to help me out. I also find the Canadian artists resourceful. Since they don’t always have the same products and some live far from any crafts stores nothing goes to waste!

Does social media change the way you feel about your art?

I find it pushes me to create. I look at Instagram and Pinterest a lot and then think “Oh! I never thought of that” and then the wheels turn and turn in my head about all the stamps I could try that technique with, and this other thing with, and maybe if I try this paper with it and so on.

I love the community I’ve found here online. Very supporting and loving. Yes, there’ll always be bad apples but I haven’t found one in my little barrel of friends yet.

Is there anything you wish artists in the US knew about artists in other countries?

It would be nice to see them occasionally use products that are popular in other countries. For instance US artists are BIG on Copics, which I do not own. I have Spectrum Noir markers which seem to be more popular in Europe. I get so exited when I find a crafter who uses the same markers as me, because I can truly follow along when I watch videos or read blogs etc… I do know a few artists here in Canada who use them and I follow (read stalk) them and their work, but again many Canadian artists love their Copics, too.

What is something you wish US artists would do, stop doing, or not do so often on social media?

US only giveaways make me sad. I have crafty friends tag me, then I get there and wa..wa..wa.. US only. If it’s a big old box of stamps I get it, but 1 or two stamps or dies; I can pay the difference in shipping, I’m not that far.

It’s usually still cheaper for me to pay the difference than buying the products in question. I’ve always made my giveaways international, and ironically the 2 people who’ve won mine could not have been farther away from me, but I didn’t care.

They are my supporters and online family and I loved the excitement of sending them the package. I did recently see one US and Canada giveaway and it made me smile.

Wow. Stephanie, thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings with us. I’m definitely resolute now about my decision to make all my future giveaways open worldwide provided the winner contribute a bit toward shipping costs.

Also, fellow Spectrum Noir fan over here! I also use Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils which I believe are from England.

I also agree that there needs to be more cultural variety in stamps, particularly stamps that are ‘punny’ or playful.

If you would like to see more of Stephanie’s work check her out on

Instagram– degoodsbystephanie

This is one of my favorite of Stephanie’s cards. That ink blending is stunning!

You can find her original Instagram post here (links and image shared, as always, with permission).

It is my hope that artists the world over will be able to learn from all of the artists who have so kindly taken the time to be interviewed.

Until next time,

Bars, cars, Mason jars,

Samantha

If you have a topic you’d like me to cover feel free to email me @ coykoicrafting@gmail.com or leave it down in the comments.

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